A lot of apartment buyers pay attention to these three points: balconies, storage and parking, fairly obvious when you stop and consider what a big impact these can have on the appeal and livability any apartment might offer.

Parking gets a lot of attention at the early planning stages, and it’s really important if public transport is a bit hit and miss, it’s a topic I’ll come back to in the context of how some parts of Sydney (and other cities like Canberra and the Gold Coast also) are being transformed by light-rail. However, in this post I will stay with apartment balconies and I’ll also look at storage in another post.

Balconies Deserve More Attention

Walk around any area where there’s a concentration of apartment projects, be that in the CBD or other popular areas and you can’t help but notice the huge number of apartment balconies. These are spaces that are very much on display almost public spaces open to the gaze of any casual glance, and yet balconies can have a split personality. They can be neglected or loved.

When buyers consider which apartment they might like to buy there’s often a lot of time devoted to how the balcony area might be used. With off-the-plan purchases I see balcony details studiously examined.

Will the area be sunny, is there a view, is it private, does the balcony have power points, water and gas, is it easy to clean, the list of questions can be long, even when the space is small. Buyers with children and pets also have an extra keen eye for balcony space and in some locations, enclosed balconies, wintergardens are a popular option.

From a marketing point of view there’s often the impression created that a balcony is really important to the buyer and it impacts price expectations. I often see in the eyes of buyers their imagination working over time about how they might use their balcony, it almost takes on a larger than life degree of importance. Still from casual observation that enthusiasm does not always seem to last.

A neglected space or a real asset

What I see happen is that balconies can soon be forgotten, they can sadly end up just being home to a lonely chair or two and a few dead plants. We end up with sad neglected spaces, which on mass can easily make a building look a bit drab.

I’m not being critical, with busy lives and lots to do, spreading the love to your balcony or terrace might not be a priority. I understand and for the odd Sunday lunch, it’s possible to do an instant spruce up.

Still it’s a bit of a shame, because even a really tiny outdoor space has great potential as a refuge, a place to start and end the day, or simply a place to relax at anytime, and with a flurry of activity what might keep the sparkle in any buyer’s eye if they really put balcony space to its best use.

Among the most popular features, and it’s one that lots of developers now like to aim for, is to have a balcony that’s deep and with a roof overhang. With this sort of space, you don’t have to worry that much about wet weather and that usually means you get shade in the summer, and north facing always gets a tick among buyers.

A very popular design is to have glass sliding or bi-folding doors onto the balcony from the living room and now with many layouts also from the the master bedroom.

Buyers clearly want the space to feel like an inviting outdoor living space that can be made even more complete with their personal selection of outdoor furniture and plants. There’s lots of ways to do this, there are specialist retailers and designers who concentrate on balconies and an attractive balcony always helps with the re-sale of an apartment and it can be an inexpensive way to boost value.

Big Potential

Lots of us like the idea of a big backyard and garden, but today’s apartments are being designed with great balcony space this ‘outdoor space’ is a really an important escape that almost every resident would value.

Even the smallest balcony has big potential. I’ve seen some now with ceiling fans for warm summer nights, and I’ve read about options for in-floor heated balconies where it might snow.

With a little planning any twinge of jealousy over a backyard will not linger long because with a little greenery and a comfortable spot to sit I think that almost any balcony can be appealing.