Curb appeal plays a large role in determining a property's value and it is the first thing anyone notices about your co-op or condo building. But beyond aesthetics, proper maintenance is necessary to protect residences, grounds and common areas from the elements. Consistent care also will prevent major problems from surfacing in the future. And a solid maintenance plan will help your community's bottom line, as you'll avoid costly problems altogether.
It Starts at the Curb
When looking to make your building more attractive, it's well to remember that, "The building starts at the curb," says Marilyn Sygrove, president of Sygrove Associates, a Manhattan interior design firm. "I think a lot of the design world has focused on interiors--but it really starts at the sidewalk. Also, when there's a boom in new construction and a brand-new building goes up several blocks away, people realize that their building doesn't look quite as good as the competition. It's a whole package."
New awnings can also go a long way toward sprucing up a building's exterior. Most awnings use a canvas or a vinyl material. Sygrove feels that canvas is the more elegant choice. "Most buildings stay with the traditional Park Avenue green canvas," she says, but adds, "We also see black and gray, and ever since Ralph Lauren did blue on 72nd Street, you see buildings that have blue awnings. Lighting is also very important in these awnings--there are safety issues for nighttime of course, but the lighting can also light up the graphic, the street number, and the name of the building. If there are no lanterns or sconces on the exterior of the building, the only lighting provided would be in the awning."
Keeping Things Green
Another sure-fire way to give your building's frontage a boost is by investing in some landscaping. While the term is usually used to describe large swaths of carefully-groomed lawn or sprawling gardens, "landscaping" can apply to the trees and flower planters outside your building. Well-maintained greenery and flowers can add a great deal of curb appeal and aesthetic value to a building. The key to success is knowing what you're planting and how to care for it.
According to Aaron Noorigian, owner of Environmental Landscape Design LLC, in Wall Township, New Jersey, neglected trees and plants can require serious time and labor to bring back to life. It depends on the particular situation, but there are several options available. "Sometimes trees and shrubs need severe pruning to cut them back," says Noorigian. "Other times, we have to remove plants because they're entangled in vines, or cut them right down to the ground."