Curb Appeal—Builders and Architects Shed Light on Buyer Preferences

Exclusive research from Professional Builder reveals homebuyer preferences nationwide for creating that all-important first impression for a home

By Mike Beirne, Senior Editor | August 3, 2018
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The Awendaw plan in Charleston, S.C., by Saussy Burbank, boosts its curb appeal with a generous front porch on two levels that signals a welcoming place and relaxed outdoor living. (Photo: Zan Maddox/Social Design House)

More than a third of builders who raised their curb appeal game during the past year did so by offering window options with more styles and frame colors or by reworking the elevations of their existing house plans. Other builders said they invested by hiring an architect or by using Revit and other 3-D modeling software.

But for every respondent like the Maryland custom home builder who is adding options “because customers are becoming more interested in rear yards, pools, and patios,” there were participants who are feeling squeezed, such as the Canadian production home builder who, to reduce his homes’ selling price, has moved away from using stone and fiber-cement materials, or the Illinois modular/manufactured home builder who offers many choices but sees clients sticking with basic exterior selections because “affordability is becoming harder to obtain.”

Almost 55 percent of participants in Professional Builder’s 2018 Curb Appeal Survey agreed that for selling new construction, it’s more important today compared with two years ago to offer elevations that incorporate multiple exterior materials. Eighty-eight percent of builders and architects currently build or design with multiple exterior cladding materials on individual homes. More findings are in the charts that follow.

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Curb Appeal Upgrades chart

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Mike Beirne is the senior editor of Professional Builder and Custom Builder magazines. A two-time Jesse H. Neal Award winner, Mike has nearly 30 years of journalism experience plus numerous news and feature writing awards, including honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Business Press Editors, and the National Association of Real Estate Editors. He also operated a masonry restoration business for more than two decades.

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