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This article first appeared in the PB January 2014 issue of Pro Builder.

First impressions may not mean everything, but presentation through exterior design and materials ranked as the top priority for new-home buyers in Professional Builder’s annual Home Exteriors Survey. Great design/curb appeal was cited by 60.1 percent of home builders and architects as the most important concern for their customers. Low maintenance was the second key issue according to 58.3 percent of respondents. That category leapt ahead of energy efficiency/ongoing cost savings (42.3 percent), which in last year’s survey was reported by more than half of builders as the number two concern for their buyers.

Methodology and Respondent Information
This survey was distributed between November 25 and December 11, 2013, to a random sample of Professional Builder’s print and digital readers. No incentive was offered. By closing date, a total of 168 eligible readers responded. Respondent breakdown by discipline: 31.1 percent diversified builder/remodelers; 29.2 percent custom home builders; 13.6 percent architects engaged in home building; 11.2 percent production builders for move-up buyers; 2.5 percent multifamily; 2.5 percent production builders for first-time buyers; 1.9 percent manufactured or modular builders; 1.2 percent luxury production; and 6.8 percent other. Fifty-five percent of respondents sold one to five homes in 2013, and 15.7 percent sold more than 50 homes.
Weather-tight construction was a buyer priority for 38.7 percent of participants and windows, followed by exterior materials and changes in elevation/design, delivered the most success for builders when selling exterior upgrades.
More findings from the 2014 Home Exteriors Survey are presented in the charts that follow: