The Importance of a Great Curb Appeal
Whenever I drive past a neighbourhood, I always look for a house that stands apart from the rest. It could be a well-tended garden or an appealing front or garage doors, a decorative fence, the windows, the lighting – it could be any number of things. But come what may, first impressions go a long way in ensuring that a potential buyer comes back. And there are many small and creative ways to improve the curb appeal of a home without having to make a heavy spend.
1. However small the space around a home is, keep it looking well-tended. If the frontage is paved and fenced, putting in a narrow bed and putting down some flowering plant or the other will dramatically improve the looks of the place. On the other hand, put down a lawn. It would make the place look well-cared for and green.
2. Scrub the exteriors that are often laden with mold and mildew and keep them from coming back by painting such areas with mold and mildew-proof paint. This goes a long way in creating the impression that the owners are house-proud and pay attention to small details.
3. There’s a case to be made for making homes more energy efficient before putting it up on the market –
Russell Richman is a professor of building science at Toronto’s Ryerson University. A few years ago, he bought a dilapidated century-old home in Toronto’s east end and made his $300,000 renovation a real-world experiment in sustainable building practices. “We did really easy things, like high insulation levels, really good windows, tight air-leakage ratings, an efficient [radiant in-floor heating] system and LED lighting,” he says, adding that the energy-efficient extras contributed between $40,000 to $60,000 to the final price tag. “We operate the house in a tree-hugger, nuts-and-berries fashion. I have the windows open most of the summer while my neighbours close the windows on June 1st and put on the AC.” The result? A recent test comparing his house to his neighbour’s showed he used a fraction of the air conditioning in the summer and about half the energy to heat the house during the winter. “Five to 10 years and beyond, you will actually start to make money on this type of investment.”
4. Adding tub window to the master bedroom bathroom adds brightness, better ventilation and an illusion of spaciousness while intensifying the value of the home.
5. Replacing old windows with energy efficient bow or bay windows increase the exterior aesthetic value of a home and makes added room inside in terms of window seating and/or storage space.
If a house has really old and energy inefficient windows, it might be worthwhile to replace them rather than improve their energy efficiency. New and energy efficient windows end up paying for themselves, reducing heating and cooling costs. Also, using.
While windows give houses a sense of scale and visual identity, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the same advantages work on the inside. Windows should reflect a room’s use, in keeping with the orientation of the house to the sun and wind. Windows facing east and west allow the very low angle of the blinding spring and fall sunlight in, which could be a disadvantage if you have a computer or TV in such rooms, e.g., the family room or the study. Likewise, the direction of the wind should encourage the incorporation of operable windows in its direction, passive ventilation taking on the grunt work for air conditioning.
Windows must be covered to provide insulation to a room. While large windows may be beneficial in allowing solar gain in winter, they can let in undesirable heat in summer. The only way to control passive solar heating and daylight is through the use of efficient window covers like shutters, blinds, shades, and drapes, and this goes a long way in improving the value of a home through improved comfort, better indoor air quality, reduced moisture problems, and fewer health problems. Installing shading like exterior roller solar shades that maximizes the benefits of the sunlight will give new homeowners respite from having to insulate a home that could cost them over and above the cost of their mortgage while increasing the seller’s profits. You can’t go wrong here, it’s a win–win for both!
Faux wood blinds and composite shutters are other options that could be used to dress windows effectively to provide a tight cover for a home’s windows, and doesn’t cost a lot to install. Being made of vinyl and composites improve their insulation properties in addition to being excellent for directing and redirecting light by adjusting the direction of the vanes.
Motorized window shades controls add great benefits, advocated by the energy departments of the United States and Canada – in addition to adding class and finesse to window dressing operations, they can be programmed to shade a room depending on the sun’s trajectory, reducing the load on HVAC’s and improving energy efficiency.
In any event, a judicious packaging of an existing structure will ensure that you’re not far off the target when a house goes up on sale, resulting in all involved benefiting.