Curb appeal and first impressions |

Curb appeal and first impressions

In real estate, first impressions are of the utmost importance and a person’s initial reaction to a home is oftentimes based on its curb appeal. The attractiveness of a home’s exterior has a significant effect on its value. There are projects, both large and small, that can improve a home’s appearance. When a homeowner is looking to sell, the benefits afforded in giving their home a face-lift become increasingly more apparent as a home with curb appeal has presence and can instill a feeling of pride in ownership.

Accentuating a home’s curb appeal often begins by making changes to the landscape. A well landscaped yard oftentimes is the easiest means of adding color to a home’s exterior. Trimming the lawn, pulling weeds, and cutting back overgrown trees and shrubs can greatly enhance a home’s appearance. Incorporating container gardens, window boxes, trees and flower beds possessing a variety of differing colors can further revitalize a home.

Homeowners are encouraged to carefully consider the placement of new growth so efforts complement the home’s existing landscape. Once planted, the incorporation of a ground cover like mulch or bark can further benefit a home’s appearance while also protecting newly planted and existing vegetation.

Oftentimes, planting flowers and shrubs alongside a driveway or walkway can be a terrific way of capturing attention, and homeowners should consider highlighting these areas. Through the inclusion of flagstone, bricks and pavers, aesthetically pleasing elements can be incorporated into a home’s landscape. It’s important to remember, a vibrant array of vegetation can greatly enhance a home’s presentation and homeowners are encouraged to consult with a local nursery when deciding which plants and flowers to purchase.

When discussing the impact of a home’s curb appeal, it’s important never to underestimate the power of a freshly painted exterior. In preparation, homeowners should take the time to repair defects, fixing or replacing damaged material, trim or shutters. While addressing the exterior surfaces, homeowners should also examine the condition of gutters, downspouts and the roof. Eventually, old gutters and worn roofing materials will begin to suffer from discoloration, leaks or other problems, further detracting from a property’s appearance and functionality. Homeowners should plan to evaluate each of these systems when preparing to revitalize exterior surfaces of their home.

Newly installed windows and garage doors can also make for a strong first impression. Both can promote energy efficiency while serving to enhance a home’s appearance. Windows and garage doors can each become architectural focal points as both have a commanding presence over a home’s physical appearance.

Often overlooked, a home’s house number and mailbox can be a relatively inexpensive means of dressing up a home’s curb appeal. Even minor changes such as these add style and attract interest. The incorporation of prominent house numbers and a mailbox complementary to the home’s exterior color and design, can make a favorable impression.

Hardware and lighting used throughout the exterior of the home should be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, while also serving to enhance the home’s safety and security. Well-polished lock sets and lighting are oftentimes an inexpensive way to build curb appeal. Homeowners are best served in determining a common theme that corresponds to the broader design, while also remaining consistent in their decorative approach.

A home’s potential isn’t complete without an inviting front entry. The front door is truly the focal point of a home, and provides for a heightened sense of curb appeal. To draw attention to this central part, homeowners should integrate the use of bold colors and custom wood accents which serve to draw out a home’s architectural features. And, when a home has a front porch, homeowners should stage the area with furnishings that contrast with the selected colors in effort to draw attention towards the front door.

Further, in keeping with a common design theme, all fixtures around the front door, should be accompanied by contrasting door casings and moldings, oriented in a manner accentuating the front entrance. Each of the individual components should not only share common design elements, but should also function collectively in a cohesive manner. A well-prepared entryway provides a glimpse into the home’s interior which otherwise lies just beyond the entrance. However, a home’s entrance isn’t complete until a welcome mat inviting guests into the home has been placed at the threshold of the front door.

Throughout the renovation process, homeowners should keep symmetry in mind as a home’s curb appeal is truly a balance of art and science. When a passerby sees the home, it should attract their attention, make a statement and elicit an emotional response. Sometimes even the subtlest of changes can make a profound first impression. Garden gates, decorative fence panels, refurbished railings, outdoor furnishings and lawn ornamentation, can sometimes be an effective means of framing and enhancing the exterior of the home. Yet, even these offerings should be complementary to all other efforts applied to enhancing the home’s appearance.

Homeowners who are considering selling their homes shouldn’t forget, even the smallest improvements can potentially attract a prospective home buyer. First impressions have a profound impact on home buyers and a home with excellent curb appeal may potentially capture a prospective buyer’s interest.

Sean and Aimee McDonald, realtors with RE/MAX North Lake Tahoe, can be reached at 775-250-8335 or