Maintaining a condominium’s curb appeal

Appearance of common elements contributes to property value
Monday, July 29, 2013
By Richard Lyons

That old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” translates loosely in condominium speak to, “What you see is what you get” – even though that might necessarily be the case.

The condominium “book” is represented by all the common elements. The lobby, common corridors, party room, recreational facilities and basement levels all impact how a condominium’s book is received. If the cover is tattered and torn, edges exposed and unkempt, then more often than not the book will be glanced over and not given a second thought. People will concentrate on the new books with the polished and pristine covers. In Toronto, there are plenty of new “editions” to grab the attention of potential owners.

Renovate to remain competitive
Through an updated design, older condominiums can be refurbished to look like new again.

The lobby makes the first statement; it defines one building from the others around it. A well-thought-out lobby design that uses quality materials and craftsmanship will speak volumes about a condo corporation. These days, wall coverings with busy designs are being replaced with classic lines. New lighting design, soft colours accented by bolder hues in tiles or carpet, and access for people with mobility issues will all help a lobby welcome visitors and potential buyers.

Corridors must work with a lobby and, as the walk-ups to the front entrance of residents’ homes, they should provide necessary curb appeal. The wall colour in corridors should be soothing. If it’s currently not, a change to a neutral or earth tone, which can complement a vibrant carpet design or invite a dramatic lighting design upgrade, will make for a more inviting space.

Deciding to take on a refurbishment project will make the common elements more aesthetically pleasing. It will also increase the real estate value of a condo corporation and, consequently, individual units. The condition of common elements can dramatically impact the value of owners’ units, for better or worse.

Whether deciding to paint, replace carpet, refurbish a lobby, upgrade lighting or increase accessibility, each module of a condominium refurbishment project will bring new investors, new owners and new visibility in an ever-growing condominium market. A refurbishment project is simply a business strategy developed to maintain the value of a condo corporation as compared to others around it.

Richard Lyons is a principal owner of CPL Condominium Design Interiors and Connoisseur Painting Ltd. Based in Oakville, Ont., the refurbishment and painting firms serve the Greater Toronto Area and Golden Horseshoe condominium marketplace. Richard can be reached at [email protected].

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