Tuesday Sep 02 2008
Garage exteriors become overlooked when selling
By: Dena Kouremetis
There is definitely something to be said for curb appeal when getting your home ready to sell. The exterior of a home is an important marketing tool. Just like walking down the aisles at a shopping center, oftentimes it’s the outside of the establishment that lures you in to take a look. But just because you found time to spiff up the outside of your house, did you overlook what can be one of the biggest curb-view eyesores – the garage? Especially around here, where three car garages can be the rule and not the exception to it, garages are oftentimes one of the largest architectural triggers for buyers. I know I’ve stopped or slowed down many times to admire a custom wood garage door, or commented on a home’s color scheme, of which the garage doors can be a huge part. In our area, where many of the neighborhoods are controlled by rules and regulations regarding the outside appearance of your home, you many need to check with your HOA people to get an idea of what you’re permitted to do. But if you can manage to swap out a sectional roll-up metal garage door for a more attractive variety, it can make a huge improvement to the appearance of your house, setting the stage for everything else. In other words, if people seeing your house from the outside are impressed by the attention to detail you’ve paid to the outside, they are eager to see how great the inside may be. Custom wood and carriage-style-look garage doors aren’t just for multi-million dollar homes any more. People in tract home areas are making the switch sometimes for their own benefits, aside from an eventual quicker sale or gain in value. And then there’s the trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) factor. Newer wood garage doors appear to have that traditional or Mediterranean look to them, but in reality, they function like automated sectional steel doors anyway, segmented on a track and raised using a remote opener. Only from the front do they look as if they can swing open. Not every garage door works with every kind of home, however. Make sure you get some outside opinion as to what architectural style you may select for your home’s exterior to make sure that it is architecturally congruent. This, in turn, makes the whole house look more custom. In my research, I’ve been told that the most durable garage door lumber is mahogany, cedar or redwood. But in my drives through the contemporary customs in marvelous Marin, I’ve been attracted (of course) to the expensive teak varieties as well. It should be noted that wood garage doors do require a little more maintenance than their metal brethren. Brutal sun exposure may require a resin-based paint product rather than a varnish. Aside from being easier to clean, new resin can be applied directly over the old, instead of having to strip down to the original paint each time. As for the machinery that people come to expect for your garage door systems, it’s absolutely amazing how a little bigger investment in some of the quieter garage door openers can make a huge difference. The newer Chamberlain as well as Genie garage door openers tout smoothness of operation, adjustability and stealth of noise, with one even being called a “Whisper-drive” – worth checking out. Although I’ll leave the idea of how a well-organized garage interior is just plain sexy for another column, the idea here is that a garage door shouldn’t just hide your car and all the stuff that can’t fit into your home. Instead, it should entice buyers to want to see more and act as an important architectural element of your home’s exterior. For more information about wood or custom garage doors, browse the internet or call local companies like Sacramento Garage Door or DoorMart to get some ideas. Dena Kouremetis is a Coldwell Banker Broker Associate specializing in custom homebuilding for Folsom-based G.J. Gardner Homes. She may be contacted at REritr@aol.com.