How to create a happy estate
5 Ways to create a positive environment for residents and future buyers23rd Feb 2022
Creating a happy estate community is essential. Happy residents enhance the estate’s reputation creating greater demand for homes which pushes up property values.
Here are five things that can help make your estate a happier one:
1. Don’t underestimate the value of the happy hormone
Location and price will always be the most important factors for buyers but as Lisa Connellan from Knight Frank explains, the community spirit (gees) is an important factor too. ‘If buyers have ticked the location and price box, then amenities and facilities which foster community and inclusivity can often be the deciding factor,’ she says.
Allocate a decent budget for community-led projects, and give the task of researching, implementing, and reviewing their effectiveness to a dedicated individual or team.
2. Start with the basics
Buyers are attracted to estates that offer amenities, good security, privacy, and a comfortable lifestyle. These are core non-negotiables so make sure you don’t neglect them in your pursuit of community inclusivity.
‘Estates fortunate enough to have onsite facilities such as community centres, gyms, pools, restaurants, and sports amenities are in high demand because they offer a more relaxed and carefree lifestyle for the whole family,’ says David Burger and Stephan Thomas from Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Constantiaberg. ‘Mangers should do all they can to keep these facilities in optimal condition.’
Post Covid-19 buyers and residents are also prioritising other comforts too. ‘Many of our residents are now realising they can do business without having to commute daily to and from offices or sit for hours in traffic. For us to offer them the perfect lifestyle and happiness, things like having an exceptional fibre to the home offering is essential,’ says Vagn Nielsen, estate manager at Pezula Prive Estate.
3. Focus on green spaces
Research shows that spending just twenty minutes outdoors a day, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve health and happiness.
‘Buyers want to buy into an estate that is beautiful and well managed,’ says Connellan.
‘If we look at the Western Cape, estates like Silverhurst in Constantia, Constantia Nek Estate in Hout Bay and Val de Vie in Paarl have outdone themselves with gardens, water features, streams, walking paths and in some cases even vegetable gardens. Buyers are very excited by this, so it really is a no brainer,’ she says.
Similarly, estates that are self-sustainable and offer energy and water security are quickly becoming the ones to watch when it comes to creating that happy, feel-good atmosphere.
4. One size doesn’t fit all
Creating inclusivity can be challenging on a larger estate with different residents from different backgrounds and ages, but it isn’t impossible. For example, at Simbithi Eco Estate & Country Club in Kwa Zulu Natal, there are five community centres, each appealing to a different portion of the estate community.
‘We have the Heron Community Centre with a pizzeria, serving fresh, wood-fired pizza, milkshakes and burgers; the Fish Eagle is a quiet pocket overlooking the dam, the Kingfisher has a fully-equipped playground, trampolines and splash pool, the Guinea Fowl has a large sports field and outdoor gym and The Stables boast an Honesty Library,’ explains Malcolm Samuel, general manager at Simbithi.
By segmenting amenities and facilities, management can easily notice gaps in their service offering. ‘We are currently looking into more facilities for our teenage residents and opportunities to meet the needs of those who are frail,’ says Samuel.
5. Communication is key
Creating and maintaining a culture of open and transparent engagement is one of the best ways of understanding the needs of residents and making them feel valued. At Simbithi, each new homeowner and their family are invited to meet with the general manager where they can ask questions.
‘We also host a monthly webinar, which encourages live engagement with our community and have introduced the “90-Second Update”, where our team gives quick updates to our residents,’ says Samuel.