First Impressions Do Count

By Jo Chivers
Ever walked down the street and thought... ’yes I really like that house’ or ‘yikes! That house does nothing for me’?

At the very first glance of a property we instantly form an impression. It is human nature to judge a book by its cover.

You'll never get a second chance to make a great first impression. You may have heard that people will form an impression of you, your character, your personality — an impression that is nearly indelible — all within the first 60 seconds of meeting you. But wait... recent reports say now it could take as little time as a blink of the eye!

It may take just a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, BUT objects are categorized as soon as they are perceived! OMG, that really leaves nothing to chance.

Try this... stand on the opposite side of the street from a property and turn your back to it… then turn around to face it for a few seconds… and turn away again. Anything that caught your eye in that time should be neutralized or removed. Perhaps there was an over grown bush, a bright coloured balustrade, a broken window awning. If you noticed anything that did not bring you a ‘good feeling’ then the property hasn’t given you a good first impression.

Whilst it’s pretty important to like a house if you are living in it, it’s equally important for your tenants to like where they live too. When developing property for our clients, we want a great ‘first impression’. When it comes down to it, we are creating a dream; for both our client as investors but also for their tenants so they look after the property and stay a long time.

Once Property Bloom locates a development site for clients, we’ll move quickly to the design phase. We’ll ensure our design blends in well with the local surroundings. We’ll look at direct neighbouring properties and what materials they are made of and we’ll look at the best property in the street (based on the highest sale price) and see what it is made of. Whilst we’re conscious of not over capitalising, we still want to stand out in the street so our development will be noticed.

Today there is so much choice when choosing exteriors for the new dwellings that there’s really no excuse to produce a boring front façade. Street presence is what house facades are all about. It can be a little overwhelming to start with. Do you go with metal roofing or concrete tiles? Do you choose a face brick or go for the clean rendered look? Should you combine weatherboard cladding with other materials? Obviously your budget may dictate some choices.

When looking at exterior colours for your project consider this:
  • The roof represents around 30% of the total look;
  • The walls are roughly 60%; and
  • The fascias and guttering represent about 10%
The exterior of even a low budget development can be maximised. Here are a few suggestions to discuss with your architect:
  • Use a combination of finishes – perhaps some rendered walls combined with face brick or other elements such as lightweight cladding or stacked stone (depending on location and budget).
  • Another finish making a big comeback is external panelling. There are products we use that look like weatherboard but are actually a lightweight fibre cement panel – its low maintenance and rot resistant.
  • Use contrasting brick work – two different face bricks. It won’t cost any more as long as both bricks are within the builder’s range.
  • The mathematical precision of brickwork can be emphasised by using a contrasting mortar to the brick colour ie dark brick use a white mortar. Or by using a light coloured brick with flush mortar joint finish in a matching colour will give the impression of a large single-coloured area similar to a rendered surface. I call this the ‘poor man’s render look’.
  • Feature Columns – we’re not talking Julius Caesar style but contrasting brick or bagged columns to the front can add some interest. 
  • Bagging – is a lighter form of rendering which isn’t straight with perfect angles. Allows for the slight imperfections to be seen but can look just as good on the right property and is much cheaper.
  • Timber inserts to gables – A gable is the triangle formed by a sloping roof. Rather than just paint it, you can use timber, aluminium panels or even Colourbond cladding. 
If you really do want to make a “statement”, remember the garden planting you put along your facade is another opportunity, and probably contributes just as much to the street impact. And the good news is, when you grow tired of a garden bed, it’s much easier to change about than the front of a home.


“I was bitten by the property bug, there was no turning back.”

Jo Chivers proves that women can indeed have it all- a career that you are passionate about and a family.  While all of this sounds great, it does require hard work, dedication, perseverance and a bit of risk-taking.

Jo’s love of property development inspired her to leave her corporate career and pursue her true passion. After educating herself in property investing, she started building up her own property portfolio. After purchasing a few blue chip properties in Sydney, she soon realised how negatively geared they were and began researching outside of Sydney. She discovered a more affordable, large region of NSW where she completed her first property development.  Soon her friends were asking her to find them sites and manage their developments. 

She realised there was a need for an all encompassing project management service and her business Property Bloom™ was born.  Ten years down the track, she has developed over 60 properties for clients, creating literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity and high end yields.