As I observe holiday wreaths dotting the front doors of homes, I am reminded that I’ve written about how important the condition of the front door is when it comes to the sale of a home. I thought about that recently when I opened a couple of doors for showings where the owners might have benefitted from the points I considered.

Basically my reasoning has been that the front door can be the key to a home’s personality, either reflecting the condition of the space within…or contradicting it. A beautiful, sturdy door with quality hardware greets the visitor with a confident hello; a weathered door, perhaps out of alignment, with old or poorly functioning hardware, conveys something quite different, something unappealing.

I suspect that some homeowners are just not as aware of a front door becoming compromised because most people drive into their attached garage and walk directly into the mud room or kitchen. However, visitors normally come only to the front door.

While the functional purposes of a front door are to withstand the elements, help toward energy efficiency, and provide protection for the home, visitors view it as an aesthetic statement, even a psychological one. If the door is attractive and in good shape, that perception extends to the entire household.

Look at your front door and determine whether it needs a simple sprucing up or a total replacement. Some door problems can be repaired and others cannot. If the door is improperly hung, has trouble closing or latching, is only slightly warped or is just sticking, these problems are worth fixing. But if it has rot or is outrageously outdated in style, consider the options for replacement.

Whether you use a contractor or a handyman for door replacement, you’ll get different opinions about which kind of new door to choose. Some would suggest that the top quality material is still considered to be wood. Steel or aluminum may be recommended as the most sturdy and secure, but according to most remodeling contractors, the best choice today is the new and high quality fiberglass door. The insulation quality of the latter is better than that of a wooden door, and it will not warp or crack.

The feature I like best about a quality fiberglass door is that the manufacturers have managed to develop an incredibly realistic grain that matches real wood. Also there is a virtually unlimited number of door styles and beveled glass options available. Fiberglass can be stained or painted, and fancy hardware can be applied to them, just as you would a wood door.

And that brings us to the subject of the door hardware which, in aesthetic terms, can make a door “pop,” but if it’s worn, that pop can be a dull thud. The polished look is one factor, but a lock and handle’s functionality is the primary thing to consider. Basically locksets fall into two different categories, mortise or cylindrical. While I don’t fully understand the mechanical workings of these two types of locks, my trusted locksmith tells me that mortise locksets, which are installed into a rectangular dugout in the door, offer the ultimate in security, design, and ruggedness.

Highly polished solid brass knobs, backplates, thumblatches are desirable but, fair warning, they can be quite expensive.

When it comes to selecting a color for the front door, it is a situation of relating to, or contrasting with, one of the other tones found in the house or the landscape that surrounds it. But there is one cardinal rule: a front door should never be stark white. The theory here is that the door should relate to the landscape in some way and pure white is rarely found in nature.

For those of you with a bent toward feng shui, you know that the front door is the main source of a houses’ energy. But practically and simply put for both curb appeal and resale value, spruce up the front door, and in a sense, you have a new home.

As a footnote, I once wrote an article based on a feng shui point of view advising that the very best color to paint a front door to energize a house is red and even recommended a personal preference for red: Benjamin Moore Burgundy.

After that article appeared, so many friends told they had taken that step, and it seems to me that I do see many more red doors lately. Or is that just my imagination?

Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com). His real estate site is www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com, and his blog is www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call (914) 522-2076.

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