I Whether buying or selling a home, the term “curb appeal” plays a huge role in the conversation. Curb appeal is the first impression of a home. It is what a potential buyer sees from the street or the sidewalk. It either invites a buyer to come into the home to see more or sends them hurrying along their way. Surprisingly, it is also one aspect of selling a home that can be improved without a huge financial outlay.
Here are 10 ways to improve the curb appeal of your home that can be done quickly and inexpensively. Some of these projects can be done in just an afternoon, others over a weekend, and if doing them yourself, few, if any, should cost you more than $100 to complete.
Doing a complete pressure wash of the outer walls of the house, the porch, the sidewalk, even the roof shingles can present your home in its best light. Pressure washing removes dirt and grime, algae, mold, and other environmental grunge that just naturally accumulates on exposed surfaces making them look old and dirty. The accumulation can even make the color of brick and cement and shingles look different.
If you are comfortable using a pressure washer, this can be a quick and very inexpensive task –just the cost of the water itself if you already own the pressure washer and hose. Just remember to use proper safety equipment – closed-toe shoes, eye protection, etc. The force of the water coming from the pressure washer can cause serious injury to you and can damage the surfaces you are trying to clean and refresh. If you are not comfortable with the process, you should consider hiring out this job. It will increase the cost of the job but will assure it gets done properly.
The front door of your home should draw the eye of potential buyers. Repaint the door with a bright, bold color. Don’t shy away from colors you wouldn’t ordinarily use on interior walls. The front door is supposed to be attention-grabbing.
You can also add a wreath, door-knocker or, another accent piece to the front door that gives a clue to the style and design inside the home.
Take an objective look at your house number, door handle, door knocker, light fixtures….any and all exterior hardware and fixtures. Although you may think those are minor items to focus on, updating and replacing them will enhance the other changes you are making, including the new paint on your door and the nice, clean power-washed front porch and sidewalk.
Look through the hardware aisles at your local home improvement store. See what catches your eye, then look for something even a bit more impressive. You want the new numbers to “fit” your home front but also stand out enough to be noticed.
Likewise, a new doorknob and knocker, even a new doorbell or porch light fixtures can make the front of your house look much different and current. Many of these are simple to replace, but be sure to call a professional if you are not sure how to install them.
Something as simple as a doormat can either contribute positively to your home’s curb appeal or, heavily detract from it. Buy a new, welcoming doormat that goes well with the new changes to your door color and hardware. It does not need to be a plain, solid color, but if it has a design or wording it does need to reflect the style and feel of the house.
After you have pressure-washed your walkway (if called for), check it for signs of damage. As long as it is in decent shape, you can improve the overall look of it inexpensively by adding lights along the border. Another option is to plant some bright flowers along the edge to further define it. Again, this should draw prospective buyers toward the door of the house.
If the walkway is damaged this improvement becomes more expensive since repairs can be costly. But there are still multiple options like resurfacing the cement or adding flagstones on top of it.
Trim hedges and shrubbery and check the entire yards for areas that need attention. This “fix” may require reseeding bare areas, digging up and replacing dead or struggling shrubs or hedges, or simply trimming and moving dead or dying areas of your shrubbery. Make sure the grass is kept maintained and looks consistent across the entire yard. Take care of weeding and mulching in all planting areas and prune any trees.
Remove any porch furniture that is old, worn or, damaged or, that draws the eye away from the doorway. Do the same with any yard furniture. The porch and the yard should be made to look as large as possible, and having too many “things” sitting around can make them both look smaller.
Adding planters with lots of bright flowers on the porch and around the steps to the porch draws the eye to the entrance of the home, encouraging potential buyers to enter the home to see more. Planters or pieces of yard art can also add to the beauty of a nice porch or, make an outdoor seating area even more inviting
As simple as it sounds, clean windows can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home. Dirty windows hint at a dirty interior or a lack of maintenance in other areas. This discourages potential buyers from considering your home.
Make sure that when you clean the window glass you also pay attention to the condition of the window sill and frame. Clean those as well and make sure you repair any damage you discover.
Take a good look at your mailbox. Is it faded? Is it wobbly? Is it outdated? If you answer, “Yes,” to any of these questions consider replacing it outright. Check your local hardware stores and online stores. Pick a mailbox that goes well with the style of your home but also catches the eye of potential buyers. Make sure it is installed well and does not lean or wobble.
If you have a brick or stone frame around your mailbox, check it for loose or damaged bricks or stones. If you find damage, contact a professional for help with this repair.
The saying, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression,” is certainly true when you are trying to sell your home. Studies conducted by various universities and organizations have reported that a home with investments made to improve the curb appeal often sell for 3% – 13% more than homes where curb appeal is lacking. Tackling these 10 projects can prove to be a quick and inexpensive investment that draws in more potential buyers and can boost the profit from the sale of your home