Exterior reno’s – maximising the first impression of your property

renovationsThe exterior of your property is the first thing your buyer, your tenant or your valuer sees, so it’s critical to get it looking spot on. Will you create a property exterior that is so-so and risk potential buyers and renters to just drive on past? Or will you make it stand out from the crowd so that the valuer, prospective buyer or renter sees instant value in what you have created?

Think about it – there’s no point in having a beautiful new bathroom and a top of the range kitchen inside the house if a potential purchaser or renter is not even going to make it through the front door. Or if the valuer makes their lasting impression before seeing what else the property has to offer.

If it’s a property you’ve owned for a while, then before deciding what you’ll do to the exterior, try to remember what you thought the first time you saw the property. In other words, step back and see the property with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

If it’s a new property to you, you have the advantage of seeing it the same way as your valuer, tenant or buyer.

Rather than thinking about what you’re going to do and then gathering pricing to do it, I suggest working the other way around.

Start by working out what percentage of your overall budget you can afford to spend on the exterior (more rather than less, simply because it is such a crucial part of the property in terms of value adding).

Now you have a dollar figure to work to, you can begin to figure out what you can afford to actually do.

Sometimes, you’ll need a complete top-to-toe renovation. Other times – and generally on lower value properties – you need to make do with some clever tweaks to impress your valuer or potential buyer or tenant.

Here are 4 Top Tips to get your juices flowing:

Create a focal point: Make sure the focal point is the front entry. Whether you enhance the entry using contrasting colours or materials or add a new portico, porch and landscaping, a simple and modern effect can usually be created without too much effort or cost. There are plenty of resources out there to get ideas from. Jump on Google Images and search ‘entry porch’ or ‘portico’ or ‘front doors’ or whatever it is you?re looking for ideas about.

Make the property feel inviting: You want to create an inviting feeling about the property. Avoid a fence that is too high or spikey plants (such as Yukka’s) or large trees that block the house too much. The Japanese do ‘inviting’ very well in their architecture; they create intrigue which draws a person further and further in. If you can’t see the front door from the road, then you at least see something that intrigues you to move towards the house. And when you get there, you see something else that inspires you to move forward – and so on. Avoid any sort of big block or barrier as this will deem the house uninviting and therefore unattractive and unappealing.

Give the property visual ‘substance’: Create a visual weight at the base of the house to anchor and stabilise it. There are several ways to do this, but an easy one is to use landscaping. Another way is to use a darker material or colour at the base of the house (if that is the style of the house). This is particularly important when the house is elevated from the road.

Create a flow around the property: If there is a fence, make sure it is ‘tied in’ to the house in some way (using similar colours or materials in some way). Connect your colours and finishes to each other (and to the interior if possible). Use similar plants right around the property so you have a continuation of colours and shapes.

Improve the ‘crispness’ of the exterior: The types of properties you’ll be buying (Nanny and Poppys house) are often faded and lack definition. Compare this to new, modern homes. What’s the difference? Crisp, sharp lines and neutral dense colours. Use this knowledge when deciding what you will do outside – create sharp garden edges, use neutral fresh colours. Strip the gardens of anything fussy and give it a lean look with a few key structured plants. Water-blasting dirty driveways, paths and decks will instantly help achieve a crisp, clean effect too. Make sure the letterbox is in tip-top shape. A letterbox is like a book cover; it’s only a small element but it speaks volumes about what’s inside. If the house is not visible from the road, the letterbox is the first introduction someone has – make sure it’s a good one even if the property is low value.

For one-on-one advice for your own external renovation, check out www.hotspaceconsultants.com

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