Top Curb Appeal Costly Mistakes to Avoid

PORTLAND, Ore.—For maximizing home values, the beauty of curb appeal goes far beyond skin deep. It can greatly impact what a home may be worth and how much money it might fetch, especially in uncertain economic times.

Studies show that homes with high curb appeal tend to sell for an average of seven percent more than similar houses with an uninviting exterior, according to a report by the University of Alabama and the University of Texas at Arlington. That premium rises even higher by as much as 14 percent in slower real estate markets.

“In an uncertain market, it’s especially important for homeowners to pay close attention to exterior improvements that have the best potential to make a big impact and will help protect a home’s value,” said Renee Ramey, executive director of the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA). “The stakes are higher than ever for making a good first impression.”

With a little effort and some planning ahead, exterior home improvement experts say it’s easy to avoid the most common and costly curb appeal mistakes, including:

Mistake #1: Overlooking overdue projects

Checking off deferred maintenance projects is a simple way to easily improve curb appeal. Peeling paint, untrimmed bushes, weeds and walkways that need power washed: these low cost fixes may require a bit of elbow grease, but they go a long way towards spiffing up a home’s exterior. Given roofs play a major role in curb appeal—and one that looks fresh and in good shape is essential for resell value—take stock of its condition on a regular basis. Easy-to-clean metal roofs that last for decades often just need a gentle squirt of water to remove dirt and grime to keep them looking their best. In contrast, asphalt, clay and shake roofs often are more susceptible to fungus and moss, so a more extensive (and expensive) professional cleaning may be required.

Mistake #2: Not clearing the clutter

Good organization is key for any well-tended room of the home, and outdoor spaces are no different. Put away hoses, empty planter pots, garden tools and if possible, park vehicles in the garage, not the driveway. Consider a well-designed area for trash and recycling cans that keeps them tidy and concealed from the street. While unique garden artwork may have a special place in your heart, keep in mind that simple and streamlined are better when it comes to achieving maximum appeal.

Mistake #3: Discounting the details

A spotless front door mat, polished (and working) outdoor light fixtures, fresh mulch and attractive plantings go a long way towards curb appeal. A front door with a new coat of paint in a shade that calls attention to it while complementing a home’s exterior paint color schemes can offer a much-needed focal point and help accentuate a great architectural style.

Mistake #4: Mixing a hodgepodge of styles

When it comes to renovations, keep true to the architectural style of your home. For example, slapping an inexpensive, inferior asphalt roof on an authentic mid-century modern home verses opting for a sleek, modern standing seam style metal roof designed to enhance verses detract may hurt resell value. Bottom line: make choices in keeping with the original intent and quality of the architecture whenever possible.

Mistake #5: Going overboard with colors

Bland is boring, but too many contrasting colors can be detrimental to curb appeal. The right colors can help accentuate the best features and personality of a home. Bold colors are often best used as accents vs. overall exterior house colors. Think bold red planter pots that match the shade of the front door to add some pop to a neutral exterior color scheme. And be sure to take advantage of online tools such as MRA’s metal roof visualizer to see how a new roof will look on your home before deciding among the endless variety of color options, designs and style options that are available.

“Major exterior projects like putting on a new metal roof can make an immediate difference not only to curb appeal, but also by offering potential buyers some peace of mind knowing they are investing in a home that will deliver low maintenance, long lasting performance for the long run,” said Mark Gallant, of DECRA Metal Roofing, a leading U.S. manufacturer of stone coated metal roofing and MRA member. “That’s a huge selling point in any housing market.”