Curb Appeal: Using Your Imagination

We’ve all driven up to a house for sale, only be turned off by the color of the shutters, style of the front door, or lack of landscaping. When my husband and I drove up to the front of an open house in Towson 4 years ago, he took one look and said, “No way.” But the interior photos looked so good on line, and the agent was standing in the doorway, so I made him park and we took a look. There was a LOT of work to do, but we had the vision, so we purchased the home.

The exterior was a dreary brown, the front deck was surrounded by a plywood wall, and the side porch as been used as an atrium room. The front sliders were leaky and ugly. But we used our imagination and called on our photoshop skills to redesign the front of the house.

This is the house as it looked when we purchased it. A high plywood wall surrounded the front deck and the brown exterior was dreary.

This is the house as it looked when we purchased it. A high plywood wall surrounded the front deck and the brown exterior was dreary.

 

Often buyers don’t have the vision, so it is up to the owners to ensure that their home will appeal to the widest possible audience. Especially to a “drive-by”.

The deck wall was easy to remove with friends and a sledgehammer, and later we took that same sledgehammer to the atrium. Casement windows replaced the sliders and a red front door brightened things up. Rather than replace all of the siding, we painted the lower half cream and added a trellis for climbing flowers. We landscaped the front of the house, building up a small berm to hide the space under the deck.

After much renovation, we eventually sold the home to let another couple put on the finishing touches. The top photo is what it looked like when we moved.

Creating curb appeal may be as simple as a good bed of mulch and sprucing up the gardens. Or it could mean replacing windows or a front door that is dated. Maybe you need to fix those front steps, or paint the front door a welcoming color. Colorful potted plants at the front entrance can’t hurt.

Lack of landscaping and foundation planting can turn a potential buyer away

Lack of landscaping and foundation planting can turn a potential buyer away

Through photoshop we added landscaping and changed the windows.

Through photoshop we added landscaping and changed the windows.

When potential buyers were shown the house above, their comments included; there are no foundation plantings, the color of the shutters was displeasing to some, and the windows with no panes looked dated. All of those things seemed doable, without investing a huge amount of money. Inside, the house is a wow, but it was getting hard to get buyers through the door. How could we show the possibilities?

With some creative photo retouching we were able to demonstrate to both the owner and potential buyer what could be done to completely change the look of the exterior.

Gorgeous inside, but hidden behind bushes and brown paint.

Gorgeous inside, but hidden behind bushes and brown paint.

Exterior reimagined.

Exterior reimagined.

This house in Ruxton is truly amazing inside. Built in 1920, it retains much of the original charm, and with walls taken down the inside has been transformed to an open flow layout. Hidden behind mature landscaping and a fence, the first thing glimpsed from the road is a large brown mass of wood siding and double garage doors.

Again, we wondered, what COULD be done to brighten up the façade? A gray stain on the house, new bay window to replace the existing one, new carriage style garage doors, and some casement windows on the second floor took this home from 70s modern-ish to charming cottage style.

So, when looking at homes, keep an open mind and use your imagination. And if you are selling, ask your realtor what you can do to improve your home’s curb appeal.

-By Cathy Evans