We’ve all heard the old adage that “it’s not what’s on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” That’s a beautiful thought when we’re talking about people, but when it comes to real estate? Not so much.
When it comes to your home, we all care about the outside. It’s called “being house proud”! We make sure the lawn is mowed, the garden is weeded, and the trim is painted. But sometimes even that won’t do. There comes a time in every home’s lifespan that all the lipstick in the world won’t work. Your home will need a facelift.
Modernizing the “inside” is what most of us spend our time thinking about when we think about updating. After all, we’ve all watched those shows on creating the perfect kitchen/bathroom/rec room/family room. But to maximize the value of your property, you want to make sure that the outside of your property is just as inviting.
For example, changing exterior cladding is an incredible way to not only update your home, but to add value – especially if you’re planning to move in the future. Not only will your property look better, but in many cases you will also be addressing the home’s energy efficiency!
Is vinyl siding making you feel like your home is stuck in the 70s? Trade it in for cement-fiber siding! You may also know this by its most common brand name, Hardiplank – this incredibly durable siding has been a favourite of home builders and renovators alike for the last 20 years. Unlike vinyl and aluminum, it can be easily painted and re-painted and is more resistant to peeling and chipping than wood. Cement-fiber siding is also resistant to most insect infestations, so if termites or ants are problems in your area, this is an excellent product to spruce up and protect the appearance of your home. Whereas wood siding requires more maintenance (painting, staining), cement-fiber is much more easy to care for. However, it’s also more difficult to install and more expensive - though over the years you may find the overall benefits are worth it. And don’t just think you’ll be limited to one “look” – just like wood, you can get cement-fiber shingle siding if you want a more Cape Cod-style feel, or even in shiplap format! There are so many great options to completely transform the look of your home.
If you live in Ontario or Quebec, you may be living in a brick home, which is more common in those provinces than virtually anywhere else in Canada. Brick is lovely, but if your brick is showing the signs of age, repairing loose bricks and mortar sooner rather than later will save you headaches down the line. Rare is the occasion that you are able to only replace one or two bricks at a time. Often, at least part of an exterior wall will need to be rehabbed if there has been serious erosion or damage. The good news is, you can change a brick exterior if you want an entirely new look! Because stucco and brick are both masonry products, you can in most cases apply stucco directly to brick - a fantastic way to cover up damage to the original brick exterior, and give your home that needed facelift. Updating with a stucco exterior can often be a lot more cost-effective than repairing damaged brick - you can even keep some brick and use stucco as an accent, which is a great way to make your home stand out from the other homes in the neighbourhood.
Your home’s physical exterior has many parts; it’s not just about the walls. New windows can improve energy efficiency while making your home pop! How is the driveway looking? Resurfacing can make a huge difference, especially if cracks in your existing drive are leading to grass and weeds popping up. And let’s not forget your walkway, stairs, and front entrance. Cracked cement or broken boards are dangerous and unattractive. Just replacing an old front rail can make a huge difference - and not cost a lot, either. Working with different finishes, like slate or stone, can really give some zing to the place, and spending money on a stylish front door can make all the difference to the front of your home. Everyone has a different budget, so a completely different approach to a home’s exterior can yield amazing results.
Remember, it’s really not just the interior design of the home that makes it a showpiece – the outside is what 99.9% of people will see. It pays to make your outside just as pretty as the inside!
Sarah Daniels is a top selling realtor in Greater Vancouver, who has been licensed since 2003. She appears regularly as a real estate expert on shows like “The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV”, as well as local radio and television. Sarah has written two books; “Welcome Home: Insider Secrets to Buying or Selling Your Property" and "Buying and Selling A Home For Canadians For Dummies". She also developed and co-hosted the show “Urban Suburban” on HGTV Canada. She works at Macdonald Realty in BC.