We all know that painting a home or stepping up the landscaping can make a big change in a home's curb appeal, but what about those homes with unique interior details that look bland and boring from the outside no matter what kind of superficial changes are made? Homes borne of the tract housing eras of the late '40s, the '70s and the '90s each have their own difficulties to contend with. If your budget can be stretched a little further than average, you may want to consider making an impactful change on your new home.
The late '40s and early '50s brought the boxy houses we have come to know as ranchers. Oftentimes, these little homes can appear abrupt and homely because there is nowhere for the eye to transition from the facade to the lawn. Extending the roofline of all or part of the home and adding a porch can make a big difference. Landscaping in front of the home will also give the eye a path to travel along before it gets to the house itself. The home will blend more with the landscape if there is some middle area between the front of the house and the ground.
A boring low-pitch (or even flat) roof can ruin the facade of even the cheeriest-looking home. Split levels of the '70s are particularly well-known for this unfortunate characteristic. Beefing up the main entrance or changing the roofline is a great way to remedy this. You can even add "cheater" dormers to create the look of a second floor without going to the trouble and expense of building one. Create a portico over the front door or add a trellis to break up the visual monotony of the single horizontal plane. A trellis has the added bonus of not blocking as much light as another structure might, which is important because so many of these homes have frequently-used basements.
Typical homes built in the 1990s place a lot of emphasis on the garage. A large expanse of metal can be seen as a major flaw in the curb appeal of the home. Also, more people cite walkability as one of their prime needs when buying a home, so they simply don't need space for a car if they don't have one. Many homeowners are now converting their garages to extra living space, or even rentals. However, there are other options if you don't want to get rid of your garage completely. Replacing the doors can make a world of difference. Frosted glass and hardwood are popular (and beautiful) alternatives to metal. Building out your front entrance beyond the garage can also do a lot for the look of your home's facade.
Many buyers, especially first-timers, forget that they can make changes to the home after they purchase. With that in mind, many REALTORS® advise buying the worst home in the best neighborhood, then fixing it up to your standards. Bottom line: don't judge a home by its cover. If you fall in love with a house's interior but the exterior leaves a lot to be desired, don't worry. The above options are just starting points to inspire you. With the right budget, research and advice, almost anything you can think of can be accomplished. Just remember to consult with qualified tradespeople and be ready with a contingency plan if something goes awry. Happy renovating!