As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and for co-op and condo homebuyers, that first impression is almost always the view from the street. No matter how deluxe the accommodations inside, if the property’s exterior is less than desirable, a buyer’s mind is often made up before they enter the front door—if they even bother to go that far.
Especially in times of economic stress, housing associations and residents are compelled to maximize the curb appeal of their property in order to compete in a market that still has a long road to recovery ahead. While this need not cost thousands of dollars, it's a little more complex than just planting some geraniums and calling it a day. How your building or association presents itself to passers-by and the world at large—it's curb appeal—has a direct effect on resident morale, pride of ownership, and even property values. Let's take a look at how to spruce up your property without paying through the nose.
Judging a Book by Its Cover
What someone sees on the exterior almost inevitably leads them to make assumptions on the state of the building inside. While a balcony and hardwood floors may have attracted a prospective buyer to an apartment, the facade and front door of the building itself may turn them away. If the awning is faded and tattered, and the outdoor planters are strewn with cigarette butts, they may rightfully question the condition of the apartment they are thinking about purchasing as well as the attitude of the board and property management team as a whole.
“Curb appeal is no different than when you go into a job interview,” says Howard Freilich, president and CEO of Blondie's Treehouse, a landscape design company headquartered in Mamononeck with offices in Manhattan. “When you walk in and you're competing with lots of people for a job, the first impression is a very lasting one. Same thing with curb appeal, there is no redo or second shots. Someone will look out the cab and say, 'I like it or I don't like it.' Because there is so much inventory and competition in the city, you get one look—so make it a good one.”
“Curb appeal absolutely sets the tone for the entire building image,” says Marilyn Sygrove, president of Sygrove Associates Design Group Inc. in Manhattan. “Number one, how well the building is maintained, how current the materials and design are, and it gives you a sense of quality of the building. If you are in the competitive real estate market and your snow is shoveled, the door hardware is shiny and the glass is clean...that is the image that you want to project in a well-run, well-maintained building.”