For apartment communities, making a great first impression is crucial for attracting new renters and keeping current residents satisfied. The curb appeal of your property plays a major role in that first impression. From well-maintained buildings and grounds to thoughtful landscaping and amenities, prioritizing an appealing exterior can pay dividends.

Mystery shopper frustrations highlight improvement areas
At Smart Apartment Solutions, we’ve analyzed hundreds of mystery shopping reports from smart shoppers across the Midwest. A common theme emerges – properties under construction or renovation often struggle with providing a positive first impression due to lack of clear signage, navigational aids, and organization.

Shoppers reported major frustrations like being unable to find the leasing office amidst confusing construction zones, getting incorrect directions that sent them far out of the way, and experiencing a general sense of disarray at communities undergoing renovation.

One shopper stated “I left the property in frustration because I could not find the leasing trailer, and kept finding the construction trailer instead.” Another commented on how “chaotic the property was, and how uncomfortable that made them feel that it was confusing to find where the office had been moved.”

These negative experiences from smart shoppers highlight how crucial it is to maintain an appealing, cohesive exterior even during transitional construction/renovation periods.

Enhancing the under-construction experience
For properties undergoing work, employing tactics like exterior window wraps with branding and clear directional signage can go a long way. Following the model of many retailers, using eye-catching window wraps to advertise the future opening while construction is underway can build excitement. And prominent, temporary wayfinding signage makes it easy for prospective renters to find the leasing office without frustration.

Building a welcoming permanent environment
Once construction is complete, creating an apartment community with stellar permanent curb appeal starts with the fundamentals – well-maintained buildings, grounds, parking areas, and amenities. Details like fresh paint, clean sidewalks and entryways, repaired potholes, and functional lighting all contribute to an appealing, cohesive aesthetic.

Thoughtful landscaping is also essential. Lush green spaces with planters, shrubbery, and trees create an inviting natural environment. Seasonal plantings and flower bed rotations add pops of color year-round.

Signage is another critical component. Prominent, well-designed entrance signs make a strong first impression. And clear directional signage and building markers allow visitors, as well as new and seasoned renters alike, to easily navigate the property; this is the time to over communicate.

By investing in exterior maintenance and amenities, apartment communities can create an atmosphere of pride, vibrancy and curb appeal that attracts new renters. The investment pays off through higher occupancy rates, shorter vacancies, and enthusiastic word-of-mouth promotion from satisfied residents.

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Check out this Curb Appeal checklist here:

Curb Appeal Checklist