It may be cliché to say, “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” But the reason clichés become part of the lexicon is because they’re (at least partially) based in truth.
The “first impression” aphorism applies to all aspects of life—from making friends to forging relationships with customers. But for my money, the area where it’s most relevant is in real estate.
For the potential homeowner, a good first impression is paramount. If a property looks run-down, shabby or dated, it’s unlikely that a potential buyer will make an offer.
But if a home on the market is clean, updated and most of all professionally DESIGNED, it can command a premium on the open market.
It’s much the same for condominiums. If you were looking to purchase a condominium in a building that has a lobby that is in shambles, you may decide that negative first impression is enough to exclude that property from your list.
Further, an engaged and professional association is one of the reasons people look at condominiums in the first place. Condos are great for people who don’t want to be bothered with landscaping or other exterior maintenance. But that shabby lobby is a signal that the board or management is not meeting their responsibilities or that there may be financial issues with the building.
This negative perceived value then gets transferred to the units, making tenants angry at the loss in value for their investment. Any renovations the condo owners do to their personal spaces, will always be overshadowed by the poor first impression made by the lobby area and common spaces.
To regain that “wow” factor when entering the building is going to take more than a few coats of paint. Prospective homeowners looking for vacation properties want to feel like they are truly in a vacation setting. As a seller, you must ensure that your décor evokes the correct mood with your prospects the minute they enter the building and disseminated throughout the property.
Our clients at the beachfront Spinnaker Condominiums in Sea Isle City, New Jersey, realized this conundrum and decided to hire McMullin Design Group to work through the process. This almost 50-year building had never been updated. Sure, there was the occasional dab of paint here and a new floor there, but nothing major. Unfortunately, over the years, the board had prioritized durability and utility over style—resulting in a common area that didn’t make the first impression they were looking for.
Working with the board of directors, MDG’s team helped them to realize the potential of their spaces—combining function and aesthetic to add overall value to the property. After the space planning process and the finish selections were complete, MDG created renderings of the spaces for the board, making it easier for them to absorb the visuals of the project so they could subsequently sell the members of the condominium association on the project.
As in many condominium projects, separating the project into multiple phases helped ease the overall financial burden for the project.
We’re proud to reveal the completed first phase here. This phase included updates to the parking garage lobbies.
Here, MDG’s goal was to create a welcoming space, one that conjured the feel of “coming home.” We wanted the vacationers and residents to feel like they were at a luxury beach resort. The floor design creates a path to the elevators and the signage defines the towers.
The homeowners are over the moon with their new space and are looking forward to the next phase of the project (as are we!)
Posted by Bridget McMullin on October 19, 2017