First Impressions Matter: Simple Ways to Improve Your High Rise Property Values
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According to Tanya Mendenhall, First Service Residential vice president of management in Dallas, making a great first impression is crucial. “In order to be competitive with the condominium building next door, your building must bring something unique to the table,” she explains. “It’s not just about the interior of a resident’s home or a particular view. The building and drive-up appeal create the first impression and can make a big difference in the perceived value of the property.”
If the idea of updating your building to be more competitive in today’s market has your board seeing dollar signs, relax. Mendenhall points out that you don’t have to drain your condo association’s funds on costly improvements. Here we present a few cost-effective changes that can have a big impact without breaking the bank.
1. Put your best foot forward.The term “curb appeal” is something the real estate world talks about a lot. Most of us think of it with regard to single-family homes. However, curb appeal is equally relevant to your high-rise building. Visitors will immediately form an opinion based on how attractive and inviting the front of your property is. Although you may overlook things because you see them every day, try to look with a more critical eye and ask yourself what potential buyers will notice. Will they see a well-maintained entry, or will they be greeted by dead plants and poorly lit signage? Some front-of-house items to consider:
- Landscaping. Keep your front lawn neatly mowed and raked, and water it regularly. Fertilize grass to keep it looking healthy, reseed bare spots, and remove weeds. Flowers make front entryways feel more inviting, too, so be sure to add some easy-to-maintain blooms – and don’t forget to replace any dead plants or flowers. If your grounds don’t provide enough space for planting, place large pots near your entrance or in the lobby and fill them with flowers or year-round plants.
- Paint. Freshen the paint on the front of your building, especially on doors and trim. You may even want to update your color palette with more modern colors.
- Driveways and sidewalks. Maintain your driveway and parking area by sealing it every few years, filling in cracks and repaving when necessary. Make appropriate repairs to your front walkways as well, including leveling or replacing sunken concrete slabs.
- Lighting, signage, and miscellaneous décor. You should inspect your outdoor lighting frequently to ensure that all your fixtures are in good working order, especially those at your front entrance and around your signage. Signage is usually the first thing visitors see, so make it as attractive as possible – for example, plant flowers, repaint or replace an old sign. If you have any décor in front of your building, such as a fountain, make sure it is functioning properly and looks clean.
2. Set an inviting tone in your lobby.Besides maintaining a regular cleaning routine for your lobby, make spring cleaning an annual event. Get the front windows washed, dust all your fixtures and have the carpets deep cleaned. Remove scuff marks and fingerprints from the walls, or touch them up with paint. Other simple improvements include changing the throw pillows on couches and switching out your wall décor to give your lobby a fresh, new look. You can also place books about your city on coffee or side tables to add a homey, personalized feeling.
3. Provide first-rate service.Nothing says “Welcome!” like a warm greeting and genuinely helpful front desk staff. If you don’t already offer concierge-style services, consider adding them. Current residents and future buyers will appreciate having a staff that can make their dinner reservations, get them tickets to shows or pick up their dry cleaning. You can even go a step further by arranging for local vendors (restaurants, theaters, stores, etc.) to offer exclusive discounts to residents.
4. Keep your amenities in tip-top shape.Whether it’s your fitness facilities, swimming pool or game room, your amenities should always be well maintained. Changing the cushions on your lounge chairs or replacing missing or worn pool sticks, ping pong racquets and other game equipment can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your amenities. Extra touches could include offering complimentary bottled water poolside.
5. Invest in lifestyle programs and social events.Make a point of offering classes, throwing parties and creating opportunities for residents to socialize. Give homeowners a say in the types of programs and events the association sponsors, and establish committees on which residents can volunteer. This will help take some of the burden off of your board of directors and will give residents a sense of ownership. Residents who are involved with others in their community tend to be happier and regard their condo association and their building more highly. As an added bonus, they are also less likely to sell their homes, have issues with their neighbors or violate condo rules.
6. Go green.As energy benchmarking becomes more widespread, prospective buyers are gaining access to information about how the buildings in their area compare. Cities like Austin have even adopted policies requiring buildings to benchmark their energy usage. Whether or not your city requires you to take energy efficiency measures, upgrading old boilers and other systems to reduce your building’s carbon footprint can be a big selling point. Providing charging stations for electric cars, replacing older lighting with efficient LED lighting and even providing a space for a community garden can all help increase property values.
As you can see from these suggestions, making a great first impression doesn’t have to be a costly undertaking. Your condo management company can also help you come up with other cost-effective improvements tailored to your building and the needs of your residents. With the right upgrades, your high-rise can be high on a buyer’s list of potential future homes!
Do you want to find out more about how an experienced condominium management company can help you maintain property values in a competitive market? Contact FirstService Residential, the leading condominium association management company in Texas.