Hot Curb Appeal: 5 Property Management Tips for Spring


With Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for an early spring last week, property owners and managers may want to get a jump on an apartment community’s most important marketing tool: curb appeal. Each spring prospective residents emerge from winter hibernation and begin seeking new places to live. And a property with great curb appeal stands out from the crowd in more ways than one.

Simply, a property that has great curb appeal begs for a look inside.

And while much emphasis is placed on a property’s digital presence through colorful descriptions of amenities and studio-quality photographs, if a property doesn’t convey that same image at a glance from the street there won’t be many takers. Apartment hunters may cruise on by to the property down the street.

In honor of Phil’s “prediction” of a shorter winter, it’s time for properties to start thinking about how to spring forward with a great impression. Here are five property management tips to enhance the visual appeal for your apartment property.

Catch the Eye with Colorful Landscaping

The most obvious way for a property to stand out is through effective landscaping. This goes well beyond cleaning beds and adding a shot of fertilizer to the grounds. Property Management Insider’s resident landscape guru Chris Lee says to plant and design landscaping with color coordination in mind.

Flower arrangements that accent one or more colors typically catch the attention of passersby. Bright yellows, oranges, and reds are more appealing than a solid bed of darker brown and purple flowers, for example. Get creative with color. And don’t forget to pick up the trash.

Outdoor Lighting Enhances Nighttime Curb Appeal

Properties need to have curb appeal at night, and effective outdoor lighting makes a stunning impression, not to mention create a sense of safety and security. Enlisting a professional lighting specialist is the first step to maximize the potential effect of building structure and texture.

Most will tell you that a common mistake in outdoor illumination is under lighting an area, usually the result of using too few fixtures. Lighting should be balanced to avoid dark areas and those that are overly lit. Also, lighting shouldn’t be limited to landscape and around entrances: Lighting cut-ins create depth and visual interest.

Do Apartment Face Lifts Fast with Exterior Painting

Tidying up the exterior of buildings with a fresh coat of paint or just some touch up won’t break the budget, and give clubhouses, leasing offices, and entry ways a clean, manicured look. Also, because wood rots over time, some attention may be needed to balconies, especially those that face the street.

And don’t forget to recondition or repaint perimeter fencing. A strong, sturdy fence not only looks great but also is a valuable safety feature.

Restripe Parking Lots

Repaving is a big capital expense that may get deferred from year to year but a smooth, well-maintained parking lot and entry way are just as appealing as even the most sophisticated architecture. Often, just resealing asphalt surfaces not only protects the life of the driveway or entryway but also affords a fresh look.

Consider restriping parking areas that are visible from the street, especially those in front of the leasing office. For a more elegant look, complete coverage or blending interlocking driveway paver stones with concrete aprons make for great front entrances.

Create Unique Curb Appeal with Creativity

Consider using space next to the property’s sign for more than just a flowerbed. A decorative, functional bench, small water feature, or statuary invites prospective residents into the property.

This technique can be used even beyond the front driveway at properties that have large entrances. Filling the middle of a circular drive with a sheltered seating area or reflecting pond adds eye-catching appeal

Curb appeal goes a long way toward inviting prospective residents to learn more about an apartment community and establishing a good first impression. There is no better time to work on your property’s curb appeal than the change of seasons. And even if Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction this year is off the mark, getting a jump on your property’s curb appeal may separate yours from the next.



Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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