Curb appeal

After months at home, buyers are looking for sanctuary and enhanced outdoor space

First impressions are everything. And when it comes to buying a home, a place that will ultimately become your sanctuary, those first impressions are especially critical.

“If you don’t ‘see’ a house, it’s not as valuable,” says Lucas Haun, a leading realtor in the Knoxville region. “It needs to be one of the houses that stands out on your street.”

You know the home with curb appeal that Haun is talking about. It’s the one with the well-maintained landscaping and lawn, unique paint colors, one-of-a-kind light fixtures, a stand-out front door and pressure-washed driveway. And it’s because of this pristine attention to detail that the house gets noticed.

The outside of a home speaks volumes to what’s inside and tells a very real story of the life a home has lived. “Curb appeal,” Haun says, “is the single most important thing somebody can focus on before putting their house on the market.”

So, we’ve done the work for you and sat down with Cityview’s Best of the Best winners, Lucas Haun of Keller Williams Realty and Dale Madden of Earthadelic Landscape and Construction, to fill you in on some of the region’s trendiest curb appeal ideas to consider for your home this summer.

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Intentional Landscaping

Beautiful landscaping compliments the beauty of a home and sets the stage for what’s inside. “There’s a trend back toward the modern style that compliments a home’s architecture,” Madden says. The emphasis is on landscape architecture for the home, as opposed to large landscaping beds and gardens. “It’s more about what the home needs, not drawing the eye to the yard.” Simplicity in landscaping ends up being more connected and repetitive, rather than disconnected from the home with all different colors.

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Neat and Linear Designs

Clean lines with shrubs and ground cover present a simple landscaping design that doesn’t overwhelm the beauty of a home. Madden suggests focusing on elements of contrasting textures and foliage colors, not necessarily a lot of flowers and blooms. This draws the eye to the foliage and texture of the plants and doesn’t overtake the home itself. Linear bed lines are becoming more popular, as well. “The bigger picture is having beautiful landscaping that is fresh and neatly trimmed that will be forever with a house,” Haun says.

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Minimizing Maintenance

Buyers are looking for ways to maintain the intentional landscaping in the most efficient way possible. Madden says he’s seeing more homeowners using decorative aggregates in lieu of mulch. If you can do it one time and have an edge restraint with perfectly straight lines that are strict and not trailing, that’s the ideal. And if you can landscape with drought resistant plants and dwarf species of shrubs then this will help minimize maintenance and watering needs. Add night lighting, and the home will be a showstopper, no matter the hour.

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Stained Garage Doors

High-end garage doors with the look of natural materials really call out the home. Many homeowners are updating their garage doors from simple painted ones to stained, wooden doors, or carriage style doors. “They are not the cheapest options, but there are cheaper options that look like that,” Haun says, “and if the garage is on the front or side, that is important for curb appeal.” Pair that with a pressure-washed driveway and it will surely make an impact.

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Front Door Fixes

Couple your stained garage door with an update to your entranceway. “This is an easy thing that makes a good first impression,” Haun says. Standard six panel builder front doors can be swapped for a more interesting door that speaks directly to your unique home. “It sets the tone for the rest of the property and goes hand in hand with you garage doors, if your garage doors are visible.” Stained wooden doors with glass can be fairly inexpensive and are more popular in the region, but if a modern flair is more your style, opt for a metal door with glass.

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Updating Gutters

Subtle details make all the difference to spruce up the beauty of a home. While gutters might not be the first thing you think about when making updates to your home’s curb appeal, Haun says switching up your gutter game can be a game changer. Whether they are bronze or copper, depending on the home, people now pay attention to it, whereas years ago homeowners stuck to the basics. “All of those little details add up,”Haun says.

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Reimagining the Walkway

Call out the path into your home by making eye-catching changes to material. There was a point where stamped concrete was all the rage, and it still is in many places, but if you want to set your home apart from the rest, reimagine your walkway. “Stone or brick always are more attractive now than the standard concrete,” Haun says. Paver walkways are the preference now and will call attention to the other outside elements you’ve already updated.

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Mixing Mediums

Keep the classics but couple them with something a little more unique. “Stone accents tend to be the leading trend right now,” Haun says. Brick and stone together can be a unique combination. Other options are to add stained wooden beams or cedar shake accents or siding. These can create the unique changes to the home that give it a fresh look and draw passers-by eyes.

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Airy Colors

Give your home a facelift with a fresh coat of paint. “When I first started, everyone wanted tan or khaki interior and sometimes exterior, and now you see lighter colors,” Haun says. Creams, grays and whites are trending now, along with brass, but dark colors are making their way out. Painting brick these lighter colors is also trending, making for some pretty dramatic changes to brick-based homes.

With these trending updates, homeowners will be ready this summer to get those homes on the market. “The key to gaining curb appeal is to architecturally differentiate the property from others nearby it, mainly on the exterior,” Madden says. “People are attracted to and want to invest in property tha at is well-maintained at a level above par for the neighborhood and that possesses an architectural setting distinguishable from other homes.”

Curb appeal is what sells homes, and after months during which families spent more time than ever at home, buyers want to see their sanctuary when house-hunting. And professionals like Madden and Haun are seeing firsthand that shift. “I think COVID has made people think a little more about their outdoor space,” Haun says, adding that aside from the front of homes getting a facelift, homeowners are also putting in pools and updating their outdoor living areas.

Madden has seen the same thing. “Everyone is wanting their home to become ‘the place to be’ and therefore we are seeing a greater demand for enhancing the home environment,” he says. “This often translates into improvement projects, inside and out.” And whether that means giving a fresh coat of paint or reimagining the landscaping, improving its curb appeal will give your home the boost it needs to sell, and give you the chance to thoroughly enjoy it before it does.   

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