Ready, Set, Renovate When Updating Common Areas, Teamwork and Long-term Planning are Key

 Lobbies, corridors and common areas are the public face an HOA or condo  community shows to the world. Shabby, threadbare, or painfully dated common  areas can hurt overall property values and send the wrong message about how a  community is maintained and cared for.  

 Of course, a newly-refurbished grand entrance and beautiful common areas that  give owners bragging rights are universally popular, but when it comes to  paying for that refurbished lobby, or stepping over painting or plastering  crews' equipment, the consensus can sometimes break down. Some owners may want  low-maintenance floor tiles in place of carpet that needs frequent shampooing,  for example, while others insist that Persian area rugs are the way to go—and if the lobby and common areas aren’t too awful, there are always a handful of frugal owners who insist renovating  can be put off entirely for at least another year or two.  

 So how does a condo community or HOA determine when its common areas are due for  renovation, and how much renovation is in order? As with most such issues,  there are several different answers.  

 Balancing Budget and Buy-In

 Whatever the project, it’s up to the board members to make aesthetic and economic decisions while  maintaining a balance of interests. Juggling these tasks is not easy,  especially when faced with the diverse and often cross-generational interests  of homeowners who may not be sold on the project’s value. Balancing residents' priorities and concerns is sometimes tough. One  faction may want their building to look great no matter what it costs, while  another faction stands firm, rejecting all but the barest minimum project  proposals.  

 Getting skeptical residents to "buy into" a renovation or remodeling plan  involves more than just putting a line or two about the proposed project into a  newsletter or sticking a notice up on a cork board in the entryway. The most  successful projects tend to be those where residents are involved early on in  the process, and feel that their concerns and input are valued and taken  seriously. Experts agree that communication is key to securing broad-based  support amongst owners. Open meetings, and the creation of sub-committees where appropriate can  help residents become more educated on the issues, and become more supportive  of the board’s position on a project.  


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  • We're recently refurbished our Condo foyers and hallways, and have a resident who doesn't like the color of the walls or carpet and has sent numerous complaint letters. We recently hung new artwork and she took it down, sending a letter to management saying it didn't match. Anyone else ever have this problem?