Before your buyers stop at the sales office, they take a slow ride through your virtual neighborhood. That means your potential customer will be looking at a lot of renderings. The problem with most renderings is the parade of sameness. Put ten builders’ renderings of a 3bd, 2ba starter in front of a prospect. Chances are they won’t know one builder from the next. This brief article offers tips on creating curb appeal in a virtual world to help bring more customers through your front door. Online curb appeal follows many of the same rules as actual curb appeal. But here are a few topics to consider.
Color and Curb Appeal
Exterior paint colors do more for curb appeal than perhaps all other elements combined. However, you must know the rules before you can break them. Start with the size of your home. Light colors make a house appear larger and are affected by different light conditions. Dark shades make a property appear smaller and help it blend with the surroundings. Accents make windows, doors and decorative trim stand out. Next, apply the 60-30-10 rule of design. This tried-and-true selection method works for color, texture, and patterns. Simply stated your main element covers 60%, a secondary element occupies 30 percent, leaving 10% for accent and flair. The 60-30-10 rule even works with monochromatic renderings as you will soon see.
The Power of Visualizers
Is it time to install the visualizer on your site? Bandwidth and speed have caught up to graphics technology which puts curb appeal in the hands of your customer. Paint companies and design firms pioneered their use years ago. Some of the best include Behr, Sherwin Williams, and Benjamin Moore. Users upload a rendering or photo and then have a variety of tools to paint every inch. Visualizers even take shadows into account so that the realism is spot on.
Get in Synch with Symmetry
Barbara Milner of South Hill Design stresses symmetry of the elements: planters, landscape features, lighting, and structural features where possible. According to scientist Alan Lightman, human brains strive to see things symmetrically.
“The reason must be partly psychological,” he says. “Symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in… [It] helps us make sense of the world around us”. The home above displays an appealing landscape symmetry with equally proportioned beds framing the front elevation.
The front door and the garage command a lot of the attention upon first impression. Therefore, this is a great opportunity to enhance curb appeal. A splash of color on the front door and a few hardware details on the garage can set the stage for the show to follow. Draw the viewer in by adding a walkway from the street to the front door when the photo allows. Elements that are not part of an options package can be explained in the plan footnotes.
Most builders do a great job following the basic rules of curb appeal on their model homes. The online inventory, not so much. Try a curb appeal enhancement experiment on some of your least clicked designs and you may find that you can breathe new life on the collection and with your site visitors. Additionally, using naturally beautiful products like Belco XT Trim will naturally enhance your overall curb appeal, whether it’s virtually or actually.