If you own a coop or condo in a vintage New York City building, you may be wondering how the value of your property is holding up in the face of the vast residential construction of the past few years.

Realtors will tell you there will always be people who want to own a beautiful apartment in a classic NYC structure. However, there’s a catch. Your property will likely hold its value only if the common areas of your building – the lobby, elevators, and hallways – are beautiful, too.

As a lobby and hallway interior designer, most of my work involves updating the common areas in classic NYC residential buildings. Granted, it’s not always easy for a condo or coop board to convince owners to make the kind of investment my work requires. In my experience, however, the results are totally worth it.

Check out our before and after gallery HERE.

What Real Estate Professionals Have To Say

I recently spoke to four busy real estate professionals and got their take on the topic. Here’s what they had to say:

Beautiful common areas can elevate perceptive value anywhere from 5-10%.

John Wollberg of Halstead Real Estate explains: “When you walk into an apartment that hasn’t been kept up – that has cracks and water stains on the walls, for example – the buyer asks thinks, “What’s gone on in this apartment? It looks like it hasn’t been kept up.”

The lobby sets the tone for the entire building. When there are gorgeous apartment upstairs but drab and run-down common areas, buyers often think, “If the common areas look like this, the building probably is not well-maintained.”

“Beautiful common areas can elevate perceptive value anywhere from 5-10%.”

You Must Get Buyers Upstairs.

Rande Coleman of Douglas Elliman Real Estate said this on the topic, “First impressions matter. A clean and fresh appearance when a customer enters a building sets the tone. I have had buyers walk in and out of a building because the lobby is run-down. When a lobby is run-down it doesn’t present well to a customer.”

It’s Always Worth It.

Ellen Cohen, who represents Compass agrees. “Outdated, shabby-looking lobbies and hallways can hold people back from buying. As the president of the coop board in her vintage 1911 building, she knows this to be true first-hand. “Before renovations, we heard a lot of negative comments about our shabby hallways and lobby, even though the apartments are beautiful.”

“As a project, it’s always worth doing. But you need a designer who is willing to really listen to the residents. The outcome is always worth the pain and effort to get there.”

First Decisions Happens Instantly.

Randy Lombard of Sotheby’s International Realty told me, “The first part of the decision about a property happens the minute a buyer steps into a building. Sometimes a seller’s apartment is beautiful, but their building’s lobby and hallways are run-down. People want not just their apartment to be beautiful, but the whole building to be as attractive as possible.”

If you find yourself in this situation, you need to make the case to your neighbors and board that a common areas renovation is the way to ensure your apartments hold their value and appreciate over time. Here’s what I recommend:

The 5 Reasons To Renovate Your NYC Apartment Building Lobby Now

  1. “A drab and dreary lobby makes potentials buyers think that our building is not well maintained, even though it has.”
  2. “Some buyers don’t make it upstairs to view our units because our lobby is such a turn-off.”
  3. “We’re competing with newer buildings that have beautiful common areas and offer amenities our building can’t provide.”
  4. “Our building’s “curb appeal” is determined by the condition of our lobby.
  5. Young, affluent buyers want to be proud, not just of their own spaces, but of the common areas, too.

In Conclusion:

As John Wollberg said, “In real estate perception equals value.” So, don’t wait until you’re ready to sell to start thinking about your building’s common areas.

Want to discuss a lobby or hallway renovation in your building? Let’s talk!

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at hello@sygrove.com or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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