Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Crowdsourcing in Your Neighborhood

Crowdsourcing is when a bunch of people contribute to one project or one monetary goal.  Usually we do this online.  But there's no reason you can't take the concept local.  Really local.  In-your-neighborhood local.

Think about all the things you spend money on to maintain a home.  You probably have quite the list, and odds are your neighbors have an eerily similar list.  While crowdsourcing in your neighborhood works best when you have congenial neighbors that get along, it can be a great way to not only save money, but build community.

Let's look at some examples of things you can crowdsource:

1.  Fencing:  Why It's Good to Be on Good Terms

In most cases, both neighbors are required to contribute to the cost of maintaining fencing as it provides mutual benefit to both property owners. These obligations only go to the point of the need for urgent repair.  If you want to update for the state of aesthetics, your neighbor doesn't have to contribute 50%.  In fact, if you update and they don't pay, they still have joint ownership of the fence as it's partially on their property.

If both of you agree, or if you're both committed to putting up a fence on land that has never had one, it's a good idea to get the commitment in writing.  Even if you're on the best of terms now, neighbors have gotten into quite the dispute over many a property boundary issues before.

Whether you want to build or update, being on good terms before hand is more idea and will save you a bunch of paperwork.

2.  Lawn Tractors: Taking Care of Your Community

No one wants to live next door to the person who doesn't mow their lawn.  It's not a fun chore, but it's something you have to do whether you use a lawn mower or lawn tractor.  It's kind of silly that every house has one.  It really is a material good that a bunch of people could share.

Before making your purchase, ask around and see if there's anyone who would like to share both the use of the tractor and the money required to buy it in the first place.  If you'd like to, you could even crowdsource time, rotating with purchasers who will mow which lawn on which date.

3.  Movie Projector:  Building Your Community

Getting a movie projector can be such a fun way to change your media viewing experience.  Instead of keeping it all to yourself, you could open up your new joy to the community by hosting viewing parties for the whole neighborhood.

Before you implement this by yourself, see if there's anyone else in contributing to your efforts.  If so, you can split the cost of the projector.  You can also split the cost of the projection screen if you like, or you could just hook a sheet up to the side of your house to make your outdoor theater even cheaper.

Community can be a very good thing.  Make sure you trust the people you make joint purchases with.  Make sure you understand local laws.  And then go out and build your community, one crowdsource at a time.

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