Can You Have Too Much Curb Appeal?

We read an interesting article from NPR recently about one of the famous “Painted Ladies” selling at an astonishing 900K less than the asking price. They’re iconic of not only the city, but of the environment that we all feel San Fransisco has. There’s curb appeal built in—they’re the houses from Full House for goodness sake!

Painted Ladies San Francisco January 2013 panorama 2.jpg
Painted Ladies” by King of HeartsOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

But in reading the article, we suddenly got another picture: that of any homeowner living in homes that are iconic enough to be recognized nationwide—dealing with the tourism and the hassles that come with a home that’s also an attraction. Some people like the attention but even celebrities don’t like the papparazi and other privacy invaders. Imagine buying one of these gorgeous homes and having pictures taken of you when you’re unsuspecting! That’s enough to turn off most homebuyers—and seemingly enough, it affected the sale of the Painted Lady in San Fransisco.

The Curb Appeal of San Fransisco

But, does this translate over to a home that’s not famous? Probably not. If the home’s not an icon of your neighborhood or city, then as much curb appeal as you can muster is usually a good thing. Let’s use the Painted Ladies of San Fransisco as an example of what curb appeal is. Overly famous or not, they are very pretty homes.

Firstly, the home is painted well. The name “Painted Lady” itself comes from the paint job, three colors used to bring out the architectural nuances of the home and to make the home stand out and have character. Curb appeal is all about the visuals and the Painted Ladies definitely have the visual elements going on for it.

There’s no yard to speak of at these homes, either, but the front of them are kept well and offer simplicity as their main attraction. Simple stoops, well-groomed trees, a clean exterior. Simplicity is the key here. Nothing is overwrought, but it’s all well thought out.

That’s key: every homeowner wants a nice looking home, but most of us work and complex looks or elaborate landscapes to keep up might not be to our taste. A simple cleaning and a new coat of paint every so often? Most can manage. Keep your homes simple.

map of San Fransisco

Finally, the homes are generally accessible. They’re by a park on a main street. The location is very good. They’re right off the 101 and I-80 in San Fran, meaning that to get anywhere, it’s a simple commute. The university is just down the street. Between location and looks, the houses (if they weren’t famous) would net almost any asking price the owner wanted. (After all, while this Painted Lady sold for far below asking price, the owner still got $3.1 million for it. That’s nothing to sneeze at!)

Should You Worry About Too Much Curb Appeal?

The simple answer: no. Too much curb appeal generally isn’t possible. Keep up on the modern trends of exterior design, keep the place clean, well painted, and if you can, play up the conveniences of living there. That will help your home sell.

It’ll also help if you don’t let a show film at your home. That’ll keep the papparazi down. Otherwise, make your house look as good as you know that it is!