Today’s Millennial buyers are searching for homes that reflect their personality and lifestyle
By GREGG TAYLERSON
You never get a chance to make a first impression. This not only applies to people, but to real estate as well. But what is “curb appeal” and why it is so important? Simply put, curb appeal is the first impression a home gives when seen from the street. Like an outstanding resume or a perfect outfit, curb appeal can be the “make or break” point for a buyer. For Millennials, today’s largest group of buyers, things like color, materials, landscape, and even being “green” with product selection have become extremely important. These elements all make up curb appeal, and absolutely must be present and appealing online, which is where today’s “curb appeal” starts.
Colors and Textures
2018 brings about bolder and more vibrant colors palettes with the proper balance of contrast through neutrals, whether through paint or materials. For example, using a bold body color with a neutral trim is a good place to start. The idea is to optimize how each color complements the other in order to make both “pop”. Follow that with a bold front door, and you have a great start towards attracting attention to any home. If you aren’t sure where to start, check with any major paint manufacturers for the latest trends in colors. Finally, select those paints and stains that meet “green” and low VOC programs like LEED, NAHB, and CALGreen.
Add textures to increase curb appeal. “Self-patterning” materials like siding, brick or metal are becoming increasingly popular, and blending these different textures is trending for 2018. Mixing siding patterns is a simple way to create a bold modern look, and when it comes to wood, be natural and emphasize it! Applying clear, light, or natural stains enhances the grain. Speaking of siding, don’t limit yourself to wood. Innovative products such as fiber-cement siding and corrugated metal are also great ways to introduce texture. Finally, a traditional material trending with the Millennial buyer is red brick. Praised for its beauty and warmth, brick is an abundant, natural and sustainable product, which is important to the conscious buyer.
Metal roofing is another great way to add that “wow” factor to a home. Being bold with patterns and colors or enhancing the natural metal such as stainless steel or copper is a growing trend heading into 2018 where advantageous white or “cool roofs” are also popular, as they can be 50-60 percent cooler than black asphalt roofs, which reduces energy costs.
Plants, hardscape, and lighting are all ways to spruce up your home, and one of the first things noticed from the street are the trees. Large shade trees add value from an appearance standpoint and are also important for the environment as trees “breathe” carbon monoxide and “exhale” oxygen. Shade trees also help lower a home’s internal temperature allowing your HVAC to run less, reducing energy costs and extending the life to the unit.
Choose a plant palette that compliments the style of the house and is eco-friendly as well. Drought tolerant plants such as succulents require minimal water and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Use potted plants where possible as they are easier to maintain, allow more efficient use of water, and can be strategically placed to add color where needed. For example, placing plants at the front door is a great way to be more welcoming!
Hardscape is another way to enhance curb appeal. A nice walking path to the front door made of brick pavers or natural stone is an excellent way to create a “warm and fuzzy” feeling. And, often overlooked, is the driveway. Don’t just limit yourself to a plain, paved, grey driveway. Add life and color with pavers, slabs of stone, scoring patterns or stained concrete.
Provide accent lighting to walkways, front porches, stoops and garages to highlight the best attributes of the house. Create a dramatic and elegant environment, while also increasing safety at dusk. For a home with a front porch, lighting is a great way to promote outdoor living. If possible, use solar. This is yet another area to which you can appeal to an energy-conscious buyer.
It’s in the Details
Curb appeal starts with the details, and often our awareness of this is subconscious. Providing a color palette that stands out along with the right balance of textures and landscaping appeals to our senses without our even knowing. Today’s buyer not only wants a home that is unique, but is also a reflection of their personality and lifestyle.
Gregg Taylerson is owner/creator of Napkin-Sketching: A Design Studio. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.