Improve Your Curb Appeal

Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal

Will Rogers said: You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. That is especially true when it comes to curb appeal. What will prospective buyers see when they pull up in front of your home? Is the exterior fresh and inviting or will they be greeted with peeling paint and dying flowers? Are the garage door and driveway in good condition? Does the roof need a little extra TLC or will people be excited to see what’s inside?

What prospective buyers see will set the tone for how they judge the home and has a dramatic impact on the final sales price. Inexpensive projects can pay big dividends but be sure to chat with your real estate agent before investing in the more expensive options. Not all projects will give you a 100% return, meaning that the value of your house won’t go up enough to pay for the repair. Here are some ideas to consider:

Trim the Shrubs

One of the easiest and least expensive fixes is trimming shrubs and bushes. This makes the yard look neat and cared-for instead of reminding folks of all the landscaping they’ll have to do if they buy your house.

Put Out Planters

If there aren’t a lot of shrubs and bushes in the yard, add some greenery through the use of planters. They add color and texture while making the home feel more inviting.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing gets rid of grime, mold and algae that can accumulate on your siding. It’s also great for cleaning up driveways, walkways and decks.

Paint the Front Door

Bold and interesting colors are super cool and eye-catching. Using them on the front door can make a house really stand out from the crowd. Contrast is key here, especially if the rest of your home is a more neutral color.

Repaint or Touch Up the House

Painting the entire house can be time-consuming and expensive but if you have ambitious teenagers or accommodating friends, it could make sense. The refreshed paint will make the exterior look brand new and you can use this as an opportunity to paint the house a trending color.

Replace the Front Porch Light

Is your exterior lighting blah or dated? Consider jazzing it up with a more modern fixture. You can also get something vintage or rustic from a local shop, if that’s more your style. Even if your fixture doesn’t need replacing, check that bulbs are working and at the highest appropriate wattage.

Add a Wreath

Wreaths on the front door will make the home more welcoming, no matter what time of year it is. There are loads of options for every season: flowers, fabrics, and seashells. Pines or pine cones are great for the winter as are grapevines, gourds and pumpkins for the fall.

Add a New Fence

Many home buyers have kids or pets that they’d like to keep in the yard – or they just want some extra privacy – so fences are in great demand! If you already have a fence, look for rusting chain link or rotting wood. These can be a turn-off, especially if they’re visible from the front yard.

If you don’t have a fence, it may not make good financial sense to add one. This is a situation where a conversation with a real estate agent who really knows your area will help make this decision easier.

Add Porch Seating

Painted rockers and stylish metal chairs are gaining popularity on household porches, as they give off a friendly and welcoming vibe. Adding some porch seating will increase curb appeal, and it will give potential buyers an area to sit down and discuss all the things they love about the house!

Clean the Roof

Sometimes a roof that is still fairly new will look old because it’s discolored or there’s moss growing on it. In this case, a thorough cleaning will bring it right back to life and alleviate fears that it will need to be replaced soon.

On the other hand, you’ll rarely recoup the money that you’d pay for a new roof. If your roof is older and will need to be replaced soon, it may be best to disclose that fact and be prepared to lower the price a bit either up front or during the negotiation. This will normally cost you less and be much less hassle than replacing the roof yourself.

Replace the Door’s Hardware

Give your front door a refresh with new hardware. Think new door handle, new knocker, new deadbolt, and new doorbell. These will make the home seem more inviting. Many buyers are into “smart” technology so consider a Nest or Ring doorbell, keyless entry, etc.

Add Exterior Lights

You don’t need to spend a fortune digging trenches and running wires, just pick up some good LED lights. Consider decorative lights and regular lights for walkways and to highlight natural areas. Solar lights for decks or patios and security lights are also very desirable.

Add Outdoor Art

Few homes have outdoor art, so adding some can give your house a unique twist. You don’t need to go crazy and create a sculpture garden, something modern and understated will be perfect.

Clean the Gutters

Cleaning and power washing the gutters will work wonders. Dirt, leaves and plants growing out of gutters add an Addams Family look that’s not in vogue. If the gutters are sagging or in very bad repair, consider fixing or replacing them.

Repair the Driveway

Cracks and weeds in the driveway can detract from your curb appeal. Pull the weeds, fill the cracks and power wash the dirty areas before putting your home on the market. It’s a great bang for the buck!

Clean the Windows

Clean windows sparkle from the outside and make a house look loved. They also allow optimum light to come into the home, improving the interior effect. The time invested will definitely pay off.

Maintain the Lawn

You might love it or hate it, but mowing the lawn is a must when you’re trying to sell your house. If you’re in the Hate-It Camp, try recruiting a neighborhood teen or hiring a landscaping company. A freshly-mowed lawn is a real asset!

Keep Up With Flowers

Beautifully bloomed, seasonal flowers draw attention to the front of the house. Just make sure to tend to them and add water regularly, because dead flowers are not appealing.

Upgrade Garage Doors

Adding new handles and hardware is a cost-efficient way to go, but if yours is old and starting to sag, you may want to go all out with a new garage door. Consider adding an automatic opener if you don’t already have one.

Try to view your home as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Be critical and see what jumps out at you, both assets and liabilities. Make a list and a budget and discuss it with your real estate agent to prioritize potential projects. If budget and time don’t allow for any major changes, mow the lawn and add some flowers – it will make all the difference!

This blog post was generously contributed by Karl Kennedy of

Photo courtesy of Spencer Arnold

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