Even if you aren’t interested in selling anytime soon, curb appeal plays a significant role in your home-owning experience. Walking up to your house at the end of a long day should feel welcoming, inviting, and peaceful. You should feel at home. It’s hard to feel a sense of peace if you’re thinking about the leaky gutter, uneven walk, or fading paint job.
If you are preparing to put your home on the market, arguably the most important factor in your home’s first impression is curb appeal. Your home’s exterior appearance can immediately intrigue future buyers….or turn them off from the sale altogether. Since curb appeal plays such a vital role, if you’re planning to sell, you’ll want to know how to add value to your home now. If a sale isn’t in your future, then these tips can help you to love your home as you walk up the driveway everyday.
What Does Curb Appeal Mean?
Curb appeal is the way your home looks from the outside or from the street, and how attractive it is to anyone who visits or drives past. To assess your home’s curb appeal, look at the front of your home and take it from the perspective of someone seeing it for the first time. The color of your home’s exterior, the landscaping, architectural details, and the overall maintenance of the outside of the property all contribute to curb appeal.
Investing the time and money into your home’s curb appeal will increase the value of your home in the future and improve the quality of your home-owning experience now. Every home has unique needs and updates, but here are some methods of how to improve your house’s curb appeal.
1. Do a Deep Clean
Before making any investments or adjustments to the exterior of your home, take the time to deep clean what you already have. You shouldn’t add a new layer of paint or resurface the roof until you’ve cleaned away the dirt, grime, and debris from your house.
Cleaning alone could add anywhere between $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale price of some homes according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
There are few things as satisfying as wheeling out the pressure washer and cleaning months of dirt and grime from your home’s siding, porch, deck, and patio space. Not only will the fresh look give your home a like-new sparkle, but it will keep it in good shape for years to come. If you don’t have a power washer, don’t worry. You can rent one at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s. The easiest way to clean the exterior of your home is to hire a professional company to do all the detailing work your home deserves. Obviously that can be pricier, and power washing is certainly something that can be done by any DIY homeowner as a weekend project, so feel free to save your money to spend elsewhere.
2. Beautify Your Home with Exterior Painting
Once you’ve cleaned the outside, take the time to consider a new exterior paint job.
Nothing spruces up a home or completely alters its appearance like a fresh coat of paint. You can improve the coloring of a weathered paint or change the facade entirely with a new color.
If you’re looking for the most value, pick neutral colors. Selecting too vibrant of a tone will hurt the resale value if you don’t find the exact person who would want a house in a flashy color. When you choose muted or neutral colors, such as white or off-white, they appeal to the widest variety of buyers, mainly because they can customize it to make it their own with different colored shutters, front door, or other accents.
3. Consider Your Landscaping
The landscaping of a home tells a story about its occupants. Well manicured lawns and freshly trimmed shrubs tell neighbors and potential buyers that you keep the house in immaculate shape because you care about maintaining the quality of your home.
Clean, well kept greenery frames your home’s architecture. Overgrown or browning plants will be the viewer’s focus and pull their eyes away from your home’s beautiful details. Let the landscaping guide the eye towards the most interesting parts of your house, like leading lines in a painting.
Millennial buyers show particular interest in the quality of outdoor spaces. This generation tends to care more about communal outdoor spaces than previous generations who preferred features such as pools. Simple tweaks in the quality of your landscaping could increase the home’s value by 5%. NAR’s Research Department found that homeowners almost always recouped 100% of the cost of professional landscaping.
If you do not currently have a landscaping plan, contact a local landscape architect and talk about options that will look best for your particular house and climate. Make sure you discuss routine care. Future homeowners will want something that stays beautiful with minimal maintenance.
If you already have landscaping, make sure your plants are pruned and trimmed regularly to maintain an orderly, well-kept appearance.
4. Focus on the Front Door
Your front entrance demonstrates the welcoming nature of your home. Make this area pop with a fresh coat of paint. While brash colors could hurt your home’s resale value when applied to the full exterior, accent doors are in vogue. Make a statement with a bright or contrasting color.
While paint can transform a door, if the material sustained damage or the door is too outdated you might need to replace the door to add value to a modern house. Doors come in many different styles so ask a professional what works best for your home. Once installed, get a professional paint job to ensure the door works best with your current exterior.
If you don’t want to replace the whole door, just changing out some of the door’s hardware can make the perfect small adjustment to improve the door’s look. Update the handle, hinges or house number to replace worn, rusted materials or improve the outdated style. You’d be surprised how changing just one aspect of your home’s front door can completely change your home’s look.
5. Repair Your Pathways
The exterior of your home consists of more than the facade of your house. It also includes the driveway and walkway up to your front door. Cracks and uneven stonework are unattractive and they could be dangerous. A poorly placed foot could end in a twisted or broken ankle.
Use a discerning eye to examine your entire trip from the road or sidewalk to your front door. Make sure your pathways are even and free from cracks. Check for spots where grass or moss peeks through. See if chipped rock or pavement sits on the ground. After you’ve examined for obvious defects, you can use a power washer here as well, both on the driveway and the walkway. Once the surfaces dry, do your inspection again. Did cleaning solve the moss problem? Did it dislodge new chipped rock? Are you seeing new cracks that were previously filled by overgrown weeds?
Whether you want to fix minor problems or completely redo your walkway or driveway, contact a contractor to redesign your path or repave your driveway.
6. Think about Your Lighting
Increasing curb appeal is not just a daytime project. Adding exterior lighting can increase curb appeal. Uplighting highlights the interesting architectural features of your home or can accentuate your nightly curb appeal while keeping your loved ones safe from a rolled ankle. If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, it could even deter robberies since well lit streets are generally safer.
Before investing in uplighting, try adding individual solar lights along the walkway. This small change will give you an idea of what you should look for in your permanent uplighting.
You could also consider changing your light fixtures by your front door. Adding a modern or antique looking lamp beside your door will help you find your keys at night and add a welcoming touch to your facade.
7. Let in the Light with New Windows
Windows can improve your experience both inside and outside your home. Windows give you increased natural lighting on the inside, which can improve your general mood, especially during winter months. On the outside, windows can alter the appearance of the home by drawing attention towards certain architectural features.
Before you start considering replacement, make sure the inside and outside of your home’s windows are clean. You may be surprised what a difference a clean, streak-free window will make to the exterior of your home.
Once your windows are spotless, stand outside your home and evaluate where your facade could benefit from a more exciting design. Before you get started, explore the wide variety of windows available for your next home improvement project.
Working with heavy glass is dangerous (not to mention an expensive mistake if dropped or cracked) so always rely on a trusted professional to handle your window upgrades.
8. Modernizing the Garage Door
Recently, the variety of garage door styles has increased to offer multiple options to complement the style of your home. A shift in your garage door’s styling makes a big difference in your home’s design since it likely takes up a large portion of your home’s outdoor surface area. A modern garage door is an easy way to add value and modernize your home.
Selecting which style works best with your home takes time and expertise. Do extensive research and then schedule a consultation with an industry professional.
If your home doesn’t need a brand new garage door, but your current door could use some sprucing up, a professional paint job could have as big an impact as a brand new door.
9. Revive Your Roof
The roof is not only an important part of your home’s weatherproofing and insulation system, but it can also account for more than half of the visual exterior, making it essential to your home’s overall appearance and appeal. Assessing what type of roof you have, how old it is, or what condition it’s in will help you determine whether replacement is immediately needed or if some simple cosmetic fixes are more appropriate. Consult with a professional roofer to decide your best course of action. If your roof is newer, then getting it professionally power washed may be all that’s needed at the moment.
10. Upgrade Your Mailbox
The mailbox is one of the first things a prospective buyer will see when they arrive at your home. Whether you have a regular mailbox that stands by the road or you have a box mounted to your house, making this upgrade is an easy way to show that you care about details.
If your mailbox is faded or is looking worse for wear, it’s time for an upgrade. It might be a small project, but it’s one that can help improve overall curb appeal.
11. Compare Your Home Against Your Neighbors
Once you’ve made the needed adjustments and finished your outdoor projects, look at your completed home and compare it to neighboring homes. Do they have features you don’t? Does something about your home stand out? If so, does it stand out in a good way or bad way?
Prospective buyers taking a look at your home will compare your house to others in the neighborhood. You want your home to look just as nice as your neighbors, but you don’t want to do upgrades that will give you a poor return on your investment or raise the asking price beyond what buyers are willing to pay. If buyers don’t value the features enough to spend the extra money, other homes will look like a better deal than yours.
It is a difficult line to walk between making home improvements with a high return on investment and dumping money into a project that potential buyers ultimately will not value.
Common Curb Appeal Mistakes
Here are some curb appeal mistakes to avoid:
Don’t get caught up in making every upgrade possible. One of the common mistakes when it comes to curb appeal is a homeowner doing too much. For instance, a full garden may look beautiful to a seller, potential buyers may see it as difficult with respect to upkeep.
Making Bold Changes
Stick to neutral shades, especially for exterior paint. Veer towards more of a classic look that will appeal to a variety of people.
Not Consulting Your HOA
If you live in a home governed by a homeowners association, confirm that your planned upgrades are within the rules.
Quick Tips For Hiring a Home Pro
If you’re hiring a professional to execute any of your curb appeal ideas, remember to:
Check Online Reviews
Look to see what past clients say about the contractor you’re considering.
Ask for Recommendations
Real estate agents, friends, neighbors, and family members can be great resources for finding good home pros.
Get a Firm Bid
To make sure there are no surprises when it comes to paying your bill, ask for a bid, not an estimate. An estimate is window shopping but a bid puts hard numbers to a project. When you decide to use a vendor, make sure they give you a final bid for what the work is going to cost, so there are no surprises down the line.
Use the eleven helpful curb appeal tips to offer a house that buyers will fall in love with instantly.