The Importance of Curb Appeal

First impressions are everything, especially in the housing industry

By GREGG TAYLERSON

When going to an important job interview, it is always best to “dress for success”. The initial impression one makes on a prospective client or employer is a chance that you only get to make once. The same goes when you are buying or selling a home. For the homebuyer, this first impression is known as curb appeal.

But what is “curb appeal” and why is it so important? Like “peacocking”, curb appeal is that impression a home when seen for the first time. Curb appeal can be the “make or break” point for a prospective buyer, and as a seller, you want to maximize this first impression.

Landscaping

A well-groomed and manicured yard is essential for first impressions whereas a yard that is unattended for can turn away a prospective buyer. Choosing the right landscape is essential. Trees, plants, hardscape, and lighting are perfect ways to enhance a home’s curb appeal.

Prominent shade trees not only add value aesthetically, but they are a great way to help reduce energy costs. Strategically planted, trees can provide shade to a home. This can lower the internal temperature of a home, helping the HVAC system run more efficiently. This helps lower energy costs in the short term, extending the life of the unit and providing future replacement savings for buyers.

Proper landscaping can also add color and texture to any homes curb appeal. Choose plants that not only go hand in hand with the style of the house but are also eco-friendly. Select varieties of plants like succulents that are drought tolerant, and come in a myriad of styles and colors.

When talking about landscape, hardscape is oftentimes overlooked. The right hardscape is a great way to add texture to the front yard. Natural stone slabs or patterned brick pavers are a nice way to say “Welcome.” When discussing hardscape, the driveway is almost always overlooked. As one of the largest and most visible areas of the house and should be properly “groomed” as well. Bring life to any driveway with pavers, slabs of stone mixed with grass, stained concrete or scoring patterns.

Colors

To help give a home an excellent exterior, one needs to keep up with the latest color trends. Understanding what is current helps any home seem up to date and trendy. Being bold and vibrant is a great way to keep new homes on the radar of prospective buyers, especially when used with the proper balance of neutrals. Take advantage of how dark and light colors, or bold and neutral colors, play off each other.

To elevate the first impression, choose bold front door color. Aside from completely painting over a material, there has been increased emphasis on the authenticity of the material. Try using stains that don’t just cover up the natural beauty; clear, light, or natural stains can enhance the grain of the wood.

Textures

Paint and stain color aren’t the only way to make the exterior of a home stand out. Try blending a few of these different textures to create a memorable exterior to any style of home. For instance, if you a looking for a bold modern look, mix vertical with horizontal patterns of siding. And when it comes to siding, don’t limit your choice to wood. There are many innovative products such as fiber-cement siding, corrugated metal, or cortin steel to introduce texture to the exterior.

Aside from wood, another natural material regaining popularity is brick due to its natural beauty and warmth. Brick is also a readily abundant and natural material. The fact that it is a sustainable material makes it appealing to the conscious buyer.

An often-overlooked area to add color and texture to any exterior is the roof. The proper use of roofing materials is a great way to add color, as well as, modernize a home. While asphalt, concrete, and clay offer classic solutions to this dilemma, corrugated metal roofing and standing seam are great ways to add color and patterns and promote curb appeal.

Roof colors are also trending more in the bold realm and can be another great place to save on energy costs. White or “cool roofs” can be five to 60 percent cooler than the typical black asphalt roof.

Creating that lasting first impression is important. We often know within the first few seconds if we want to walk inside a home based on its curb appeal. Like a proper handshake, a great exterior is often what we remember first, and can be achieved through the right use color and texture, and landscape.

Gregg Taylerson is owner/creator of Napkin-Sketching: A Design Studio. He may be reached at info@napkinsketching.com

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