But the stairs are gross | a cautionary tale to condo owners…


I was recently giving a client of mine a little bit of a hard time because she was completely dismissing a potential property because the carpet on the stairs in the main part of the building was old and overdue for replacement {kind of gross looking if we’re being honest… definitely less than fresh}. I teased her for being too picky, but she was onto something even if she didn’t realize it.

How a building maintains it’s common spaces says something about how it approaches maintenance and upkeep in general. One challenge in living in a condo building is that you don’t get to decide things on your own. You have to decide everything about the building as a group, and that includes maintenance and general upkeep.

Personally, I’m a fan of pro-active upkeep and maintaining a space before things go into disrepair. This approach will keep building elements in better condition, for longer, often maximizing their useful life and minimizing repair costs over the building’s lifetime.

However, everything is a spectrum, and some owners want to delay maintenance until something is completely falling apart and needs replacing, which often makes costs far greater than if that same building element had been more routinely maintained from it’s installation. Penny-wise and pound foolish for sure, and it could create real challenges for owners as they go to sell.  However, others are overly pro-active, potentially wasting money on projects and maintenance that aren’t needed.

One issue that comes up from delaying maintenance, aside from potentially costing all of the owners more money when something is finally addressed, is that it sets a less than desirable tone for any potential buyers when an owner is selling their unit. Are the walls in the main stairwell nicked and the paint scuffed? Is the carpet old and does the stairwell smell anything but fresh? If there are back exterior stairs, are they rusty and bleeding rust stains onto the building? Are there dents in the front entry door or unit doors? Those are the first interactions anyone has with the building, and it affects their perception of everything else that they see.

No matter how well you take care of your own individual unit, if the building isn’t well maintained, it will affect how buyers perceive your space, and it will affect the value of your property. No owner wants anything less than maximum value when they go to sell, so it’s important to take care of the rest of the building as well.

On that same outing with my client, the very next building had a sturdy, well kept front door, the stairway was clean, the carpet had been recently replaced, and nothing smelled bad. Before we even entered the building we were already optimistic about the space… it makes a difference.

So if you live in a condo building, it might be time to take inventory of what shared spaces might need a little love and care, before they potentially affect your ability to sell your home.


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