Every time someone enters or leaves a building, they travel through at least one of the common areas. Multiply that times the number of units in a building and you can get a rough idea of how much faster these areas may wear out than any individual unit. When you consider that buildings are in competition with each other for prospective buyers, it becomes evident that these shared spaces will not only need to be aesthetically pleasing, but will need to be updated and renewed regularly. But what happens when a building is short on cash for these expenses?
The case for renovation is a strong one. In a competitive market, sales can be won and lost based on emotional whim, and buying or renting a new home is about as subjective as it can get. “I’ve had brokers tell me that sales are won and lost even before the client sees the apartment,” says Susan Lauren of New York City-based Lauren & Chase Design Group. “If you were looking to put down a large sum of money, perhaps your life savings, and on the way to the apartment you are disappointed with the lobby, the elevator, or the stairs…if they look shabby to you, who cares how fabulous the apartment is? Renovations of this kind can affect unit sales by 10 to 15 percent in most cases.”
“There is a lot of new construction going on all around the city so for older buildings, it’s more difficult to compete with these newer buildings because they are clean and beautiful and up-to-the-minute,” continues Lauren.
Renovations may include developing new amenities in order to stay current, says Lauren. “All buildings need to be up-to-date, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a contemporary or traditional building. Expected amenities have come to include things like bike rooms, roof decks, fitness centers, party rooms, and even tracking systems for when packages come to the building.”
The other big note about updating amenities is that it speaks well of the management of the building if the common spaces are clean and new, or modern and generally well-cared for.