How Your Home Can Make a Great First Impression

By Kathy Ziprik

Who knows what products add value to a home better than a realtor? According to a majority of realtors, the selling process starts before prospective buyers ever get out  of their cars. Curb appeal can instantly make or break the first impression of a house.

In a 2016 study of Realtors®, a whopping 99 percent of respondents indicated that curb appeal is important when attracting a buyer. When looking at a home exterior for curb appeal opportunities, key focal areas are the overall appeal of the home design, landscaping and cleanliness. And, much of the focus is on the top of the home—the roof.

“An impressive elevation and roof line can make a big difference in curb appeal,” says Kurt Geschwender, CRP, CRS, Geschwender Real Estate Co.  in Nebraska. “In many cases  it’s subliminal, but nonetheless the look of the roof helps a great deal in getting a prospect to inquire about a property.

The experts at DaVinci Roofscapes have polled a variety of realtors across the country on their insights into curb appeal related to roofing. The industry leader in composite roofing  colors, DaVinci Roofscapes  manufactures low-maintenance slate and shake tiles for homes across America.

“From my standpoint, a composite roof would be an immediate upsell,” says John E. Lynn, SRES with 5 Star Real Estate Pros at Keller Williams Mountain Partners in North Carolina. “In fact, I would make note of it in the features section of the MLS listing with any other special aspects of the house. It automatically raises the quality of the house in the eyes of the buyer.”

While the look of a home exterior brings potential buyers inside the home, realtor Michael Giliano pushes hard on exterior benefits before people get inside the front door.

“We have a $1.1 million home for sale right now with a DaVinci roof,” says Giliano, with Compass Real Estate in Chicago. “Oftentimes I have to educate home buyers on the benefits of this type of roof. Once they understand that this is maintenance-free compared to a true cedar shake roof, their minds start working. All of a sudden the roof adds greater value to the home.”

In New Jersey, with more than 20 years selling experience, realtor Vincent Stanson relates that homebuyers are very focused on the roof.

“The first thing my buyers look at is the condition and life left  in a roof,” says Stanson, with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Bergen County, New Jersey. “Composite roofing is a great upsell specifically because of the low maintenance and strong warranty aspects.

“For buyers in every market where I work, it’s all about maintenance-free living. People are looking for easy-care siding, trim, soffits, and most importantly the roof. When you have good-looking, maintenance-free roofs like those offered from DaVinci on a house, it’s a no-brainer sale.”

Garage Door Replacement for Curb Appeal and ROI

From the top of the roof down to the grass on the lawn, the curb appeal of a home is determined by many things—including the garage door. The experts at Haas Door share tips for enhancing a home’s curb appeal by adding a new garage door.

“Many homes have the garage door located right on the front of the house exterior, making it a focal point for curb appeal,” says Jeffrey Nofziger, president of Haas Door. “Even if your garage is located on the side of your house, remember that it’s the first thing you see when entering your home. ‘Side of house curb appeal’ can be just as important as the front of the home when considering your garage door.”

Nofziger reminds homeowners that replacing an older garage door is not just good for the look of a home, but for their wallet as well. “The 2018 Cost Versus Value Study coordinated by Remodeling Magazine shows that a garage door replacement has the highest cost recoup value of any home-improvement project. This project actually comes in with a whopping 98.3 percent cost recoup, which is incredible.”

For homeowners trying to decide on the “best fit” of a new garage door, Nofziger offers five easy tips:

Tip #1 – Step back. Before selecting a garage door, stand by the street and look at the home overall. Now, think about the style of the home exterior, the colors on the house and the textures. Determine what kind of garage door would look best—smooth or woodgrain—and what color or texture would best complement the home’s overall exterior.

Tip #2 – Light or no light? Decide if a solid garage door or one with windows that allows light into the garage works best for the home. If choosing windows, look at the style of windows on the front side of the home (including the grids) along with windows in the front door. Then, look for a garage door with similar window styles. For example, if a home has lots of small window panes, then look for garage door windows with grids that replicate the look of smaller panes of glass. Homeowners can also select specialty glass or decorative glass options that allow light into the garage while protecting their privacy.

Tip #3 – Be practical. Select a garage door that can handle weather conditions for the specific geographic area of the home. For instance, a 5000 Series door can stand up to Mother Nature, even in Florida conditions, with its corrosion-resistant aluminum, thick insulation and weather-resistant paint finish.

Tip #4 – Stand out … or stand back? Homeowners need to decide if they want their garage to be a stand-out focal point when looking at the house, or if they want it to blend in with the home’s style. There’s no wrong answer. Oftentimes a stand-out door, like one in an  elegant Craftsman style with a wood-grained finish, can add visual dimension and appeal to  a home exterior. Or, a door in a painted bronze color can stand out beautifully against a stone veneer home facade.

Tip #5 – Think of the future.  A garage door selection is one that should last many years for a home. So, look below the beauty of the surface to choose a low-maintenance door made of aluminum or steel that has a strong warranty and will provide years of beauty with minimal upkeep.

Upgrading your windows, adding a new coat of paint and some sensible landscaping can all boost your home’s curb appeal. Shown is an acrylic block privacy window from Hy-Lite.

Even Small Changes Have Big Impact on Curb Appeal

Oftentimes people “think big” when looking for ways to enhance the curb appeal of their homes. According to experts at Hy-Lite, a leading manufacturer of acrylic block, glass block and decorative glass windows, there are five specific (and small!) ways homeowners can add to the curb appeal of their houses without breaking the bank or investing too much time.

“There’s no reason to ‘reinvent the wheel’ and do a whole exterior makeover to improve the look of a house,” says Roger Murphy, president of Hy-Lite. “Curb appeal can be achieved by making some easy, yet distinct changes. Best of all, small changes can make a big impression when talking about improving the look of a home exterior.”

According to Murphy, there are five specific things that can be done on a budget to improve a home’s street-side appearance.

Tip #1 – Make the outside new again. Replace the old hardware on your entry door. Change out the numbers on your house. Add a new mailbox. Replace light fixtures with upgraded versions. Install solar or low-voltage outdoor lighting. Really take a look at your home’s exterior to see what’s looking tired and worn out, then replace those items.

Tip #2 – Add colorful flowers. You don’t have to be a landscaping expert to add potted colorful flowers to the front steps of a home. Flowering baskets can also be added to the porch or trees. Easiest of all, place decorative plant stands within your landscaping and then place pots or baskets of flowers strategically within the front yard landscaping.

Tip #3 – Replace an old window with a privacy window. Whether a decorative glass or acrylic block unit, a new privacy window adds sparkle to the outside of the home … and an attractive look to the home interior. Eye-catching and unique,  a privacy window can be selected that opens (like a casement or sliding window) or a fixed, non-operable unit.

Tip #4 – Paint the front door. Add a pop of color that contrasts (yet complements) the home exterior. Painting a front door is an easy project that has lasting impact. Add new door hardware for the icing on the cake!

Tip #5 – Attack the bushes. Trim up bushes and remove weeds. Rake out all dead leaves underneath the shrubbery in front of the house. Not interested in tackling this DIY project yourself? Then hire local teenagers or a church youth group to get your bushes back in shape.

“When it comes to curb appeal, it’s all about first impressions,” says Murphy. “Whether you’re looking to improve your home’s appearance for resale or to welcome family and friends, small changes can have a big impact!”        When it comes time to replace existing windows, Murphy suggests homeowners contact Hy-Lite to request the company’s free Privacy Window Design Guide.

The brochure provides design inspiration, room transformations and a complete overview of the company’s operable and fixed acrylic block and decorative glass windows (visit

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