• Neda Nehouray, CMCA, AMS, PCAM

Beautification on a Budget


We walk in and out of our homes daily, and we often get accustomed to seeing our surroundings without a critical eye. If a friend were to come and visit your community, what would they say about the community? Would they say that the community feels modern and fresh, cozy and classic, or outdated? Regardless of your position, here are some great tips to help beautify your community without breaking the bank!

First, let's start with the community types: single family homes, condominiums and townhouse style.


If you live in a single-family home community, this paragraph is for you! Do you have a monument in front of your community? I cannot begin to specify how many times I've driven into a community with a dilapidated or aging sign. This is the first impression of your community. Replacing or updating a monument or sign is not very costly but really makes an important impression on visitors entering the community. If you have a guard house, make sure to also keep this small structure freshly painted. Visitors and homeowners have to stop at the guard house every single day, so they are more inclined to look at the structure more closely while waiting to enter the community. Seeing signs of deterioration on this structure is another area that impacts people when they first want to enter the community. Lastly, single family homes can have very little landscaping or very expansive landscaping. If on a budget, I would encourage the community to focus on the most centrally located landscape location and invest in beautiful upgrades. If this is a path that most visitors and homeowners take, make sure that this location is prioritized.


In condominium complexes, many communities often have an intercom system at the front entrance. Once people are admitted into the building, there is usually a lobby area that people walk through to reach an elevator. Again, first impressions are so critical! Even if hallway flooring is overdue for replacement, I would suggest that communities consider ways to keep their entrances and lobbies modern and fresh. For starters, low rise condominium complexes may have an option to lightly power wash the exterior of the building periodically. This helps get the dirt off the building and rejuvenates the paint color. Please make sure to talk to your pressure washer / painter, as overdoing the pressure washing may chip and break off deteriorating stucco. Do you have bulletin boards in front of your community, in your lobby or your elevators? Believe it or not, visitors stop and read! Make sure notices that are posted are neat, courteous, current and relevant. Is the bulletin board falling apart? Again, it's something that is often overlooked, but I cringe when I see cork bulletin boards that look like they've had about enough tacks pushed into them. A new bulletin board may cost just a few hundred dollars but really makes a difference when compared to an aged bulletin board. As for the lobby, is there furniture in the lobby that is stained, outdated and/or falling apart? Getting new furniture would be wonderful, but you can look for thrift stores or consignment stores that will negotiate. There are so many wonderful deals that can be found and great pieces of second hand furniture that are modern, clean and affordable. Adding some artwork to the lobby makes a big difference as well. You don't have to look for a work from Picasso. Rather, you can locate a modern piece of framed art at a local Target! As for your hallways, do you have a lot of knicks and scratches in your hallway wall paint? Yes, painting the hallways would be wonderful, but until you can achieve that, give the Magic Eraser sponges a try! You will need some volunteers, but wet the sponge and lightly scrub at a knick and watch the scuffs lighten and/or disappear! This is an effective and efficient trick to freshen up the paint and community while prolonging the need to paint.


Finally, let's consider townhouses. If you've noticed, I've really focused on the front entrance when discussing the other community styles. When it comes to townhouse communities, I'm going to offer a similar perspective. I really believe that first impressions are important. Townhouse communities also often have a main entrance with an intercom system. Many communities have a wrought iron gate at the entrance, and this is where people will wait while they call on the intercom system. I would recommend that the gate be well maintained and free of knicks or scratches. If painting all perimeter fencing is not an option, focus on high traffic areas that are visible. Again, bulletin boards are also usually positioned near main entries. Please read the paragraph above regarding the timely replacement of bulletin boards. Does your community have an amenity that is used more heavily? Many townhouse communities have a central pool. Maintaining clean and neat pool furniture is a great way to enhance the community aesthetics. If you have furniture that is outdated, you can consider restrapping your furniture versus replacing all pieces. Another option is to add some nice commercial grade umbrellas to beautify the pool area.


I hope this article provided some useful tips for you to take back to your community and make some great changes with minimal cost! Let us know if you made any of these changes and the feedback you receive! We would love to hear from you!

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