An old time-worn saying ‘that you’re only as good as your first impression’ is paramount in how your co-op or condo building is perceived at street level. The curb appeal factor cannot be discounted when people pass by your building and see that its awnings are a little weathered or outdated, street garbage and debris is piling up on the sidewalk, and maintenance has been woefully neglected.
Especially in times of economic stress, co-op and condo boards and buildings try to maximize the curb appeal of their property in order to compete in a market that has begun to rebound but has a long road to recovery ahead. While these makeovers 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.
The anticipation of putting your own touch on the place, decorating it the way you want because it’s your property is one of the perks of home ownership. However, with the perks come responsibilities. You also need to take care of your new asset too—not just inside, but sometimes outside as well.
Nobody wants to live next to the eccentric lady in 2B who has disregarded the ‘no gnomes’ rule and has kitschy ceramic figurines poking out of every single shrub and flowerbed outside her front door—or the neighborhood political super-activist whose windows, lawn, and every other stationary surface is festooned with campaign signs, decals, or flags.
Living in close quarters with scores—maybe hundreds—of other people is hard enough without the added tension of poor exterior upkeep. So before you add your own string of multicolored lights to your front door or plant a gigantic plastic frog in the tree pit in the courtyard or by your front stoop, it’s important to learn what is and isn’t allowed in terms of décor and cleanliness and what repercussions there are for slacking off on maintenance or disregarding the rules.