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State association tackles tricky topic of redeveloping abandoned properties to improve communities

One state association pulled together Realtors, lenders, politicians, non-profits, and community members to discuss how abandoned properties can be approached for the betterment of the entire area.

realtor association event

The Richmond Association of Realtors (RAR) and the Partnership for Housing Affordability recently offered two workshops designed to encourage the redevelopment of abandoned properties.

Underwritten with a grant from the National Association of Realtors, the events brought together developers, lenders, government officials, non-profit leaders, and Realtors to discuss strategies for improving communities through the revitalization of vacant buildings.

The numerous hazards of vacant properties

Aside from being eyesores, empty homes, apartments, shops, and manufacturing facilities attract transients, drug dealers, and are dangerous for children. Vacant properties are costly to communities, demanding an inordinate amount of attention from police, fire, and health officials.

Crime around these nuisance properties is higher than in developed areas, making adjacent property values fall.

The potential benefits of property and neighborhood revitalization are obvious. Rehabilitated homes meet the need for affordable housing, redeveloped communities gain a sense of empowerment, and neighborhoods become safer.

Commercial properties can be made available for startups, art studios, non-profit headquarters, and community centers. Expanding cities that are in need of space can find immediate room to grow through property redevelopment.

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Despite positives, the challenge is huge

Despite the obvious benefits, however, the revitalization of vacant properties is challenging. Since the owners of many vacant properties are unreachable, bankrupt, or deceased, a wide range of community leaders must work together to develop a strategy.

This reality prompted the Richmond Association of Realtors to become the catalyst for a conversation that could yield transformative results in needy neighborhoods.

The first of RAR’s two workshops addressed the need for equitable, market-based neighborhood revitalization. The second workshop was a strategy session for dealing with vacant, abandoned, and problem properties.

The sessions gave experts from a range of professional fields the opportunity to understand the issues better, but also to begin developing polices, tools, and strategies for facing the challenge presented by vacant properties.

Richmond event is instructive for all Realtors

The best agents know they have a responsibility to the communities where they work. Assisting in the development of strategies for revitalizing vacant properties is a great way for Realtors to offer their professional skills as a way to give back to the community. It is also an excellent way to open doors for new business and growth.

Everyone is a winner when vacant properties become vibrant again.


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Written By

Stephen St. John is a writer and speaker with a background in business, education, and non-profit ministry. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Management and Master's Degree in Theological and Ministerial Studies. Alongside his wife and seven kids, Stephen has lived and worked in North America, Africa, and Asia.


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