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As a homeowner, you’re naturally concerned about maintaining or increasing your property values, especially if you want to sell your house in the future. No matter how much work you put into improving your house and maintaining a beautifully manicured lawn, factors beyond your control can have a dramatic effect on your property values.

How Abandoned Houses Can Affect Communities
Abandoned houses have become common sights all over the United States in the wake of large numbers of foreclosures prompted by the Great Recession. In some cities, the phenomenon has become an epidemic.

A damaged or abandoned house can become run-down, which can make it an eyesore and a potential danger to residents. Unoccupied houses can also attract criminals who are looking for a place to carry out illegal activities.

The presence of an abandoned house can have a depressive effect on local property values. Lower property values mean that cities and towns collect less revenue from taxes. At the same time, more revenue is needed to police economically depressed areas and to repair or tear down blighted properties. A neighborhood that is struggling economically is unlikely to attract homebuyers or investors. Residents may leave if they can, which can send the community into a downward spiral.

If a neighborhood has several abandoned houses, crime can become commonplace, causing residents to feel unsafe. The appearance of dilapidated houses sitting neglected can make people feel like their neighborhood has been forgotten and like they’ve been left behind.

How Neighborhoods Can Be Turned Around
Some cities have programs to revitalize neighborhoods with abandoned properties. Run-down buildings have been demolished and replaced with new housing, farms, parks and community gardens. Open spaces can provide places for residents to gather and can foster a sense of community in areas where people have felt isolated.

If you are concerned about the presence of an abandoned house in your neighborhood, take action to prevent further decline in the area. If you see unsafe conditions that could lead to injuries, report them to the local government. Report any suspected crime to the police so that they can increase patrols and drive out criminals before they gain a foothold. You and other local residents might be able to work together to convince city leaders to repair or demolish abandoned buildings and to replace them with new housing or open spaces to serve the public.

Protect and Revitalize Your Neighborhood
A home is a place to feel safe, but it is also probably the largest financial investment you will ever make, so you should do what you can to protect it. Abandoned houses can affect the property values of everyone else in the neighborhood. Talk to your neighbors about vacant properties and work together to identify ways to move the community in a positive direction.