Common Area Upgrades That Don't Break the Budget Brightening Ideas

You know that you need to upgrade your apartment so that the building can both maintain its value and avoid costly repairs and maintenance down the road. But have you considered the common areas in the building as something that can affect your co-op or condo's property value? For owners, common areas might not seem like a huge priority when it comes to making upgrades, but many experts beg to differ.

First Impressions

According to residential interior design experts, a building's common areas should not be neglected since shabby lobbies, hallways, community rooms, or even doorways and vestibules can detract from a building's overall appearance, and possibly take away from the value of each individual unit.

"The look of common areas is important, especially the lobby, which is the first impression one has of the building," says Liz Morehouse, president of Morehouse Design Associates, Inc. in Manhattan, and a specialist in designing public areas of residential apartment buildings. "The lobby shows visitors whether the building is well-maintained or not."

John Buscarello, president of Manhattan-based John A. Buscarello Inc., agrees. "If the common area is dowdy but the apartment is spectacular, those are two things that really don't go together," he says. "And a dowdy common area might really color a buyer's view of the apartment, and whether or not to make an offer on an apartment [for sale]. And even though a homeowner may maintain their own apartment very well, [a poorly maintained common area] could lead to thoughts in the buyer's mind that maybe there are some financial problems in the building."

"Good-looking common areas are important as a prelude to the rest of the building," says Marjorie Hilton, president of Manhattan-based Marjorie Hilton Interiors. "You want people to have a good, solid, significant impression when they walk in."

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