10 Tips to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal
People begin forming an opinion about your home as soon as they drive up to the property. Every little detail they see before they even walk through the door is a part of the subconscious thoughts they form about your home.
Whether you are prepping a home for sale or just want your home to look top-notched for the pride of ownership, the following 10 tips will help you make a great first impression.
1. Keep the front yard green
We understand you may not want to pay for watering your backyard, but at least keeping your front yard green can really boost the curb appeal for your home. If you are concerned about the cost or environmental issues of watering, consider a rain catchment barrel that fills with rainwater during the year so you can use nature’s free resources to water first. Also, watering early in the morning is the best time for preventing evaporation from the sun and avoiding water sitting in the grass overnight causing disease in the lawn. For additional environmentally friendly tips for keeping your grass in top condition, check out this post from How Stuff Works. Also, consider less grass and more low-maintenance green cover that is native to the area. These plants typically require less water and care than grass does.
2. Add a blooming plant on the porch
A splash of color on your front porch can add great interest to your home. Consider everything from the pot to the plant when you choose though. Be sure to put a saucer under the plant to capture water that runs out the bottom if you overwater, so it doesn't stain the porch. Also, try to pick a plant that looks nice even after it is done blooming. A mixed arrangement of different types of plants may work best so that something is always blooming. Also consider plants with interesting colors and textures to the leaves to add visual appeal. This post from Empress for Dirt has some awesome ideas for adding a splash of color to your home.
3. Update your front door with paint or stain
Your front door is truly the gate into your home. When people come to your house, they often pause at the door waiting for you to answer it or for a realtor to unlock it. This is the spot outside your home they probably spend the most time, so make sure it leaves a great impression. This is a great spot to make a lasting impression for visitors but does require a bit of prep work and elbow grease. If you decide to restrain or repaint your front door, make sure you do the proper prep work. It is important you NOT skip the sanding step to get the door ready to receive the stain or paint. A little elbow grease goes a long way here. Then, carefully follow the instructions on the paint or stain you choose. Check out this post from Unexpected Elegance for additional ideas for sprucing up your front door.
4. Make sure your front steps are sturdy and freshly painted or stained
All too often I walk up to homes with a lovely yard and fresh home paint, that have neglected to fix their stairs or porch. Be sure to scrape any loose paint before you repaint these areas and consider that the steps and handrails likely will wear much faster than the paint on your walls. In fact, they get pounded on by weather, sun, and foot traffic. Hence, it is a good idea to do paint touch-up on the treads and railing on your stairs annually. This post from Five Star Painting provides some great tips for dealing with peeling paint on a porch or deck.
5. Pull weeds, rake leaves, and trim the jungle
These little details can make a big difference in your curb appeal. Pulling weeds, raking leaves, and trimming plants and trees are very inexpensive home maintenance activities you can do to boost curb appeal. One of my favorite times for pulling weeds is during a phone call or while listening to a podcast. I recommend a pair of gardening gloves, a foam pad to protect your knees, and an empty bucket for gathering the debris as you work.
Also, overgrown trees and bushes are warning signs for possible maintenance issues. Just be careful you don’t overdo it and amputate your plants. A small trim rather than a new hairdo is what is warranted. Just snip them back enough so they aren’t touching the siding, blocking a walkway, or keeping light from getting into your home. If you are unsure of how to do this, consider visiting a local nursery for advice or hire a professional. You can also check out this post from TreeCareTips.org for additional information.
6. Add a fresh layer of mulch to front flower beds
Again, those flower beds can really change the visual “maintenance” of your home. It is amazing what a top dressing of fresh mulch does for curb appeal. Not to mention that mulch also helps keep the weeds at bay. This simple fix does have a small cost for materials, but it really can make a big change for the financial investment. Unsure how much mulch to buy? Check out this handy mulch calculator that will help you estimate what you need.
7. Downsize statues and seasonal flags
Yard art can be fun and provide personality to a home. However, if you are selling there are two good reasons for putting your yard art in storage while your house is on the market. First, your love of yard art isn’t necessarily someone else’s taste. You don’t want someone to be so focused on your yard art that they miss the great features of your property. Secondly, we like to remind people that a buyer could request these items stay with the property if they write an offer. Hence, if you have a beautiful yard art item that you don’t want to leave, don’t have it out when your home is on the market. If they never saw it, they won’t know they want it.
8. Remove any debris and grime from the driveway
A pressure washer can do wonders in removing grime from your sidewalk and driveway. You likely don’t even realize how dirty these spaces are until you clean them. Also, make sure any pavers or stepping stones are securely in place, have also been washed free of moss and debris, and have been weeded in the small spaces in between. This post from HGTV has some great information on how to go about pressure washing your hardscape outdoors.
9. Update your outdoor lighting
Make sure you have good lightbulbs in your outdoor lights and keep them on at night so your home looks welcoming. Solar lights along a path are great for adding curb appeal, as are well-placed spotlights that shine on a specific tree or architectural feature in the yard. Having a well-lit home also helps keep burglars away. Plus, if your property is for sale, having it well lit at night makes it feel welcoming for any potential buyers who might drive by to “preview” the property before they come to tour it in the daylight. This is an area where you can spend just a little or a lot, so be careful that you don’t go overboard. This post from Lamps Plus highlights many of the opportunities for adding outdoor light to your home.
10. Add new house numbers and mailbox
Sometimes the littlest details yell the loudest. You want your home to be easily found by a potential buyer, a friend who is visiting, or heaven forbid - an emergency technician who is called. Hence, it is good to make sure your house numbers are easily visible from the road. You can have visible house numbers that also make an artistic statement that adds to the visual appeal of your home without spending much money. This post from HGTV has some great ideas for displaying your house numbers in a fun and unique way. At the same time, a fresh coat of paint on your mailbox or a new mailbox is also a little detail that can make a statement on the overall care and maintenance of your home.
So go outside and walk across the street both in daylight and at night and really look at your home with fresh eyes. Then, slowly walk up and take in all the details about your property. Is it giving the impression that you were hoping for? Whether you start with the worst offenders, the quick and simple fix, or the least expensive option - giving some extra TLC to your home’s exterior can really improve the first impression it gives. This shows pride of ownership and can bring you top dollar when selling your home.
Written by Marci L. Hardy, PhD