Most architects and real estate experts agree curb appeal is the most important first impression of a home. The outside — from the homeï¿½s landscaping to the exterior, to the windows, front door and outdoor lighting — all impact whether a prospective buyer gets out of the car to take a look or keeps driving.
ï¿½When you look at a house, whether itï¿½s a cabin or a castle, you canï¿½t help but ask, ï¿½Could I see myself living there?ï¿½ï¿½ says Denver, Colo., architect Doug Walter, AIA. ï¿½That is the basis of curb appeal — tapping into peoplesï¿½ inherent sense of good design.ï¿½
So if your home seems to be giving off distress signals to prospective buyers, itï¿½s time to take control and update its curb appeal, an aspect that can truly impact the resale potential. And you wonï¿½t be alone. The renovation wave is upon us, with about 20 million American households undertaking an annual renovation project, according to a 2005 report on home remodeling from Harvard Universityï¿½s Joint Center for Housing Studies. According to published reports in the Wilmington News Journal, homeowners who are part of the renovation trend tend to fall into three distinct groups:
* Those who remodel for economic investment reasons.
* Those who undertake projects strictly as an aesthetic or lifestyle choice.
* Those who attempt to balance money with emotional needs.
No matter what your renovation rationalization, there is quantifiable evidence that reinvestment in your home can pay significant dividends. According to research conducted by Specpan, an Indianapolis-based market research firm, on behalf of Remodeling magazine, a window replacement project can result in an average of 88 to 90 percent of the cost being recouped. Thatï¿½s typically more return on investment than an upscale kitchen remodel or replacing the roof.
According to Walter, improving curb appeal should be every homeownerï¿½s top priority. ï¿½Not only will you enhance your enjoyment of the home, but when it comes time to sell, good curb appeal is like money in the bank. Buyers have choices — inevitably they opt for the more attractive home.ï¿½
Here are some simple, low-cost and quick fixes from Pella Windows & Doors that can significantly impact your homeï¿½s curb appeal. Begin by stepping back and taking an objective look at your home from the outside. Take a black and white photo to view your house with a new perspective and determine what updates are needed. Then, consider the options:
Option one — replace the windows. Whether you choose quality wood, fiberglass, or vinyl, window replacement is not only an excellent investment, it adds tremendous aesthetic value. And, the gains from energy efficiency alone make window replacement a worthwhile update. Look for superior weatherstripping, special coatings and glass combinations, which all contribute to the energy efficiency of the window. The most energy-efficient models feature the ENERGY STAR, and also qualify for tax credits when renovations are completed on your primary home in the United States now through the end of 2007.
Pella offers a full line of wood windows with natural insulating qualities, along with energy-efficient vinyl or fiberglass composite windows. Regardless of what region of the country you live in, there are window products to match the style of your home with color combinations to transform your homeï¿½s exterior to an updated look. Pella window installation experts can install new windows in about a day, depending on the size and structural elements of your home.
Option two — replace the entry door. A new entry door can make a huge difference in the style statement your home makes ï¿½ the color, composition, size and finish all combine for a positive or negative first impression. Make sure your entry door is not only functioning properly for safety and security purposes, but that itï¿½s sending a positive message about what lies ahead in your home. Pella offers steel or fiberglass entry doors that are durable, distinctive and ready for paint or stain. The beauty of fiberglass is that it offers the look of wood without the work, because it doesnï¿½t require new paint or stain each year. The low maintenance qualities plus the insulating value and durability of fiberglass make it an energy-efficient choice over wood.
Option three — add a storm door. A new storm door is a great addition to any front door; plus, it adds extra insulation to the home. According to independent testing, a Pella storm door added to an entryway can reduce energy loss through the entryway by up to 45 percent. Pella can save you time and money with a new storm door installation process that can be done in less than an hour. Hereï¿½s how Pellaï¿½s Express Install works:
* Simplified storm door installation gives customers the pre-assembled parts.
* No cutting is required and pre-drilled installation and assembly holes eliminate any guesswork.
* Only five tools are needed to complete the storm door installation. With the Express Install door the only tools required are:
1. Tape measure
3. Power drill with 3/32 inch drill bit
4. Phillips Screwdriver number 2
* Storm doors with Express Install also feature a keyed multipoint lock which secures the door in two places.
Option four — other exterior updates. Cosmetic changes to the outside of the home can be extremely valuable when itï¿½s time for reselling. A fresh coat of paint, new siding, additional landscaping and even lighting for night all contribute to the beauty of a home. Your home is your best asset and likely one of your largest investments. Make the most of every detail on the homeï¿½s exterior to leave an important lasting impression.