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Love at First Sight – A Homebuyer’s Guide to Curb Appeal in 7 Steps

Ah curb appeal. It’s the real estate equivalent of judging a book by its cover. As it turns out, a house’s front-exterior can tell you a lot about how well the home has been maintained – both inside and out.

It can also be a sneak peek for the type of house you’re about to step into. For instance, a yard with a high-tech sprinkler system is likely to lead you right into a high-tech home.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, love could be in the air for you and your dream home if the house makes a big first impression. Here are seven things to keep in mind when you pull up to your prospective new home.

  1. Walk This Way

A paver driveway and walkway clearly add to curb appeal by visually directing you right to the front door of your potential dream home. The walkways should be swept and/or washed clean and free of major cracks. At this point, you’ll also want to notice if the home’s street number is displayed somewhere that is easily visible from the street.

Lexington, Escondido, CA

  1. Stay Down to Earth

Because it takes up so much prime real estate (literally), a well-manicured lawn makes a lasting impression. You’ll want to find a lush yard with healthy grass and keep an eye out for a sprinkler system. Some newer homes, such as ones you’ll find in a KB Home community, offer smart lawn sprinklers that turn themselves off when it rains. Grass-alternative lawns, such as landscaping that employs mulch or gravel, can be just as beautiful as the green stuff and relatively low maintenance. The key is to look for a neat and clean appearance.

Shadow Grove Estates, Pearland, TX

  1. Keep Your Head Up

The walkways are clean, the lawn is pristine, and things are looking up – literally. The condition of your potential dream home’s roof is important. Roof shingles should be in good condition, without signs of aging or wear and tear such as curling, buckling and cracks. Missing shingles mean that the roof has been exposed to the elements and may have sustained weather damage. Tile roofs may not show obvious signs of aging so keep that in mind as you access its condition. Gutters, roof overhangs, and downspouts should also be clear of debris and cracks. If you see a sand-like substance in your gutters, that could be grit from your roof shingles, meaning those shingles might need to be replaced soon.

Hardy Preserve, Tucson, AZ

  1. See the Light

A front yard that’s well lit, from coach lighting along the walkway to the porch light beside the front door, not only makes it easier to find your way home at night, it’s also a welcoming touch to guests.

Trails at Mockingbird Canyon, Riverside, CA

  1. Admire a Stylish Front Porch

While not every home offers a front porch, the ones that do will have a lot to reveal about the house inside. The porch should be clean and free of clutter. Potted plants are a nice touch, signaling a warm and comfortable place to enjoy the outdoors or sit with neighbors. The front porch may also be the best outdoor space to reflect the personal indoor style of the home. Things like porch furniture and décor, outdoor rugs, and decorative tile can tell you a lot about the home you’re about to step into.

Caledonia at Summerlin – Collection II, Las Vegas, NV

  1. Sneak a Peek at the Windows

Window treatments and curtains can make a home instantly welcoming. The right type of window blinds will also act as insulation, helping the home maintain a cool temperature in the summer and a warm temperature in the winter, and may help lower your utility bills. KB Home offers low-E and dual-pane windows in their new construction homes, so seeing this from the curb is a welcome sign that you’re about to enter an energy-efficient home.

  1. Step Right Up

Last but not least, a great front door can literally be the perfect lead-in to a great house. Look for fresh paint in a pleasing color that complements the home. A nice outdoor welcome mat will help keep the floor inside the foyer clean as well.

Stapleton Starlight Collection, Denver, CO

While first impressions are important, nothing replaces a formal house inspection by a trusted professional before you commit to signing on the dotted line. Plus, purchasing a new home will mean you won’t need to worry about how well the house was maintained by previous owners. Happy house hunting!

If you’re interested in touring a new KB Home community, you can visit us here. Our energy-efficient homes include front yard landscaping in some communities as part of the HOA fees.

A.J. Bowker is a contributing writer to From House to Home. She has lived on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and is now settled in Southern California. One thing she has learned from living in various parts of the country: home is a state of mind.