In neighborhoods all across the country, it’s common to see signs touting the local neighborhood watch program. For residents, the idea of neighborhood watch helps them feel safe from intruders, and lets outsiders know that this is a community that takes their safety very seriously. However, it looks the bad guys aren’t the only ones who are being kept out by these neighborhood watch signs – potential home owners may also be running away. Recently, debates have been happening over whether or not the idea of neighborhood watch is helping or hurting local markets, with some believing that signs announcing the presence of neighborhood watch do nothing but make the area seem “crime ridden.” According to one realtor, “I’ve had clients remark that it’s a peaceful positive gesture that the community is keeping an eye out…others perceive it as: ‘Well why did they have to create the neighborhood watch? What was the issue that started that?'”
Aside from keeping new neighbors out, some realtors suggest that these signs are also lowering the property value for current home owners. However, one realtor has a piece of advice for those looking to protect their neighborhoods without raising any red flags. “Communities can organize to have neighborhood watches without such vigorous signage, or consider another type of sign that conveys a more welcoming feel where neighbors watch out for each other. Putting out a small security system sign in the yard that says ‘this home monitored by…’ is often an effective deterrent without conveying a feeling of being on high alert,” says Florida realtor, Cara Ameer.
Although there is no proof that can definitively say one way or another whether or not neighborhood watch signs have a negative impact on home sales and property values, it’s definitely something interesting to think about. With home sales reaching record lows, realtors need to be more conscious than ever about the signals that are being sent to potential buyers.
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