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Community "Appeal"
. . . It Only Starts With Your Curb!

Even the finest leasing consultant cannot overcome a substandard product! All professional leasing consultants know the importance of curb appeal. It's a fundamental part of proper product preparation and refers to the appeal of your property to Residents, prospects, and others as they drive or walk by your apartment community.

Studies show up to 70% of your prospect traffic can be "drive-by." Actually, 100% of your physical prospects are drive by, right? They all eventually walk or drive to your property, so your community curb appeal is critical. In some communities, the so- called "curb" includes several blocks of street-side exposure. On other properties, such as a downtown urban high-rise apartment, the "curb" may be only a few hundred feet of literally curb. Regardless, three words serve us well in maximizing this important marketing tool:

Clean, Green, and Sparkling!

Clean - We're talking spotlessly clean! Your curb must be free of trash, lawn clippings, workers' tools and mess, dog poop, etc.! Don't forget to have your porter or grounds person conduct "butt patrol detail" at least three times a week to ensure the area is totally free of cigarette butts and even the finest pieces of trash and debris. Perhaps budget restrictions prevent your property from looking as new and updated as you would like, but it can still look perfectly clean!

Green - Your curbside landscaping, including the grass, must be well maintained, trimmed, and green. Add flowers and other plants for additional color and impact. Special daily attention must be given to the landscaping in this very visible area. Green not only makes your community stand out and look well attended, it's also pleasing and soothing to the eye.

Sparkling - Go beyond clean and well maintained. Make your property curb appeal especially appealing . . . make it sparkle! The sparkle is the "extra" that makes your community curb appeal a very memorable experience. Dramatic, sharp, colorful landscaping, along with crisp, professional signage, makes your community jump out to the apartment hunters driving through the neighborhood. Your attention to detail sends a subtle message to all who see your property that this is a special place for special people. The sparkle is what separates your community from the rest . . . it's that secret ingredient that makes your curb appeal the best of the best.


A superior curb appeal gives your apartment community a competitive advantage in several ways:

  1. Your community enjoys the benefit of your nearby competitor's advertising. While the competition invests in advertising, you thoughtfully invest in your curb appeal. Your community thrives and enjoys additional traffic from the competitors' advertising.
  2. The superior curb appeal attracts a superior, more qualified prospect. Because of the positive message your sparkling curb appeal communicates, your prospects are more motivated to lease; they are more "closeable."
  3. Your more desirable community - partially due to your superior curb appeal - demands a higher rental rate.
  4. Curb appeal improvements to your community have a long life and multiple benefits, while advertising expenses and benefits are short-lived.
  5. Superior curb appeal will even reduce turnover, since your Residents will be prouder and happier about living at your community!

Don't Forget the Other Appeals!
Curb appeal is important since it creates the initial "first impression" for prospects and defines your property for the entire neighborhood. Yet, there are several other appeals that also need considerable thought and attention.

  • Office/Information Center Appeal
    How is the approach to your office or leasing center? As the prospect drives toward this area and gets out of their car, what do they see and think? Does the leasing center have the same "attention to detail" as your superior curb appeal? Make certain your office leasing center is free of cigarette smoke and food odors. There should be no surprises or unpleasantries for your prospect or Resident.

    Furnish your office with updated residential furnishings to give it a warm and homey feel. Even a sleek, contemporary design can feel comfortable and liveable with the right furniture and accessories.

  • Vacancy/Focus Unit Appeal
    The only word to describe a properly prepared make-ready is perfect. Each unit must be "detailed," much like you would detail your car, making sure every nook and cranny is polished.
  • Model Appeal
    On an "A" community, the model apartment must be breathtaking! On a "B" or "C" community, the models should sparkle with personality and cleanliness. Whatever your Resident profile or your target market, the model must provide a memorable experience for the prospect.
  • Night Appeal
    When was the last time you drove the property at night? What is the appeal from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.? The night appeal is very important to your Residents and their guests. Make sure your property is well lighted in an attractive manner that enhances your daytime curb appeal. Your community's night appeal should be one that makes all Residents comfortable and glad they made the choice to live there.
  • Weekend Appeal
    Some properties change personalities on the weekends! The prospect who leased during the week at a very quiet, desirable community may find themselves moving on the weekend into a noisy, hectic "apartment complex." On most properties, the weekends are going to be more active and busy, since Residents tend to be home. Make sure your community is properly staffed during the weekend . . . when the property especially needs "management." This means the office is open on both Saturday and Sunday -- despite your occupancy. On larger or more "active" communities, it also means someone picking up trash and attending to the curb appeal all weekend.

Make sure your property is most "appealing" by constantly improving, enhancing, and monitoring the curb appeal and all the other important appeals. The payback will be more, better qualified prospects and happy Residents, who are proud of their sparkling community and stay longer. What a winning combination!

Rick Ellis, one of multi-housing's foremost consultants & educational speakers.

Rick Ellis' Biography and Article List
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