When it comes to purchasing a unit in a condominium, co-op, or homeowners’ association, buyers tend to be (rightly) concerned with square footage, baths, beds, kitchen aesthetics – all of the fundamentals people look for in a new home. But before a potential buyer can be sold an apartment, they have to get inside the building. This is where the concept of curb appeal comes in. Regardless of the quality of a product, people tend to evaluate the packaging. The nicer a property looks from the outside, the more optimistic the shopper will be once they’ve crossed that inner threshold.
“Curb appeal absolutely sets the tone for the entire building image,” says Marilyn Sygrove, President of Sygrove Associates Design Group Inc., in New York City. “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.”
As buildings come in all shapes and sizes, curb appeal can take many forms. Such things as window décor, entryway flourishes, and greenery can all play their part. But regardless of what one has to work with, a little care and maintenance can go a long way toward maintaining the value of a property and assuring a return on investment when it’s time to sell.
What constitutes curb appeal can run the gamut, as what one tends to notice about a walk-up in the big city varies from that of a towering residential skyscraper, or a suburban townhome. The commonality in encouraging curb appeal is an awareness of what makes a property unique, and really making that pop.
Says Sygrove: “Curb appeal is the facade of the building at eye level, from the condition of the sidewalk, the awning, any plantings or landscaping and entry doors, plus whatever you can visually see into the building—for instance if there is a large window that looks into the lobby.”