We often focus solely on updating the inside of a home and leave the outside alone. However, the exterior is just as important to consider. Creating "curb appeal" is real estate language for making a good first impression. We drive out of our driveway every day and forget what we thought about our house the first time we saw it.
When you bought your home, you definitely considered its curb appeal, or the potential of it. Giving a home an exterior facelift is an investment worth making. Your return on investment is the promise of increasing your home's value, less maintenance with rot proof materials, cost saving efficiency, overall increased curb appeal, and, in a depressed housing market, you are happy with your "new" home.
Magazine racks are full of ideas for renovating kitchens and baths, basements and living rooms, but seldom do you find before and after pictures of changes made to the exterior of the house. This is the first place to start when considering an exterior facelift. You have to know what look you want to achieve. Take a picture of your house and begin to shape the desired "after" look of your home by consciously taking note of houses that stand out to you. Take pictures of these homes. What is it you like about the exterior of a particular house? Is it the front door, the shape of the front door, the color of the front door?
There are many factors to consider when updating your exterior. For many, just changing the front door would be a fantastic improvement! It doesn't have to be a daunting task. In fact, updating the exterior can be far less complicated than redoing a kitchen. Follow a before and after plan and create a vision for what you hope to achieve with the changes to come. To simplify and streamline the process even further, it would be helpful to work with a company who can provide an architectural rendering of your house. A rendering will show all the changes you envision and some you may not have considered. An Architectural rendering is a wonderful way to help you visualize and know for sure you are getting the look you want and see what the final result will be.
Beyond the front door, consider updating the siding on your home. Fiber cement siding options, such and Certainteed or James Hardie are great choices. They both are "no rot" product options with tremendous material warranties, but also offer various aesthetic possibilities. Create dimension and interest by combining various materials and looks. For example, you can accent gables or dormers on the house with fiber cement shake shingles and install lap siding below. Make sure to use a certified installer of these siding products. And preferably choose to work with a company who provides a lifetime workmanship warranty on their installation.
In respect to varying materials, consider adding a synthetic stone water table around the bottom perimeter of your home. Synthetic stone is far more cost effective than real stone and adds warmth and richness to the exterior. Stone is a wonderful accent around a front door as well. Use earth tone paint colors that complement the colors found in the stone on the exterior trim and siding.
Speaking of paint, do not under estimate the change new paint colors will have on your home. Color, color, color; more than anything else, color is key! Don't choose just any paint. Protect your investment and choose quality lifetime paint! Choose accent colors for shutters and your front door. Paint alone will drastically change a house.
Consider small, but noticeable changes such as new gutters, window pediments, or new shutters. Bronze colored gutters that contrast with the painted trim color, but match the shutter color, is a very current trend. Update the look of your shutters and opt for no maintenance by installing PVC (no rot) board and batten shutters with real S hook and hinges. Or, imitate the look with less expensive vinyl board and batten shutters with S hooks. Adding hardware, like the iron looking S hooks and hinges, or a new front door handle are subtle changes that bring significant visual improvements.
Consider everything you do to improve the exterior of your house as a facelift of sorts. Try to tie in the necessary need of painting, for example, with an update. Take advantage of the opportunity the next time you need to paint the exterior, of updating the color. When it's time to replace your roof, add architectural shingles. An architectural roof adds dramatic updating to older homes and value by increasing the warranty coverage period of your roof. In terms of efficiency savings, get rid of drafty single pane windows and upgrade to double paned insulated glass. New windows, like paint, bring instant gratification. Not only do they improve the look of your home, but the monthly energy bill as well.
Finally, a downturn in the housing market is a perfect time to consider an exterior facelift. Rather than focus on how you can't sell your house, why not give your home the facelift it deserves? Fall in love with YOUR house rather than wishing for another one. Live in a home you love and know the investment will pay off for you, make the best first impression on future buyers, and bring a quicker sale and higher price if and when you do decide to sell.