Curb Appeal on a budget

Are you trying to sell your home fast? If so, one of the most effective things you can do is to boost your home’s curb appeal.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a great real estate agent, or flipping a house; it pays to put some time and money into making your home look great on the outside, especially if you’re planning to host an open house.

First impressions are incredibly important in the home buying process. Some people make up their minds about something within two seconds of seeing it. This is true whether they’re catching their first glimpse of a possible home for their family.

Remember, almost all potential buyers will look at your home online before they ever pull into the driveway. Your home needs to look great and photograph well in order to get them to the door. That takes some work, but there’s plenty you can do to boost your home’s curb appeal. Below are some ideas for every budget, whether you have $100 to spend or $10,000.

Before you make any changes to the exterior, go down to the street and look at your home from a distance. Try to imagine you’re a potential buyer seeing it for the first time.

Is this a place where you would want to raise your family? Does the house look like it’s in good condition? Does it appear clean, fresh, and inviting? Are there any repairs that need to be made? Chances are, there are at least a few upgrades you could do to make your home more appealing.

If you’re hesitant about spending money on a home you won’t be living in much longer, you’re not alone. But investing in upgrades is hardly a waste of money. Putting off repair projects or cosmetic updates can cost you a lot when it comes time to sell, for several reasons.

First, buyers will likely bid low on a home that needs repairs. No house is perfect, but many buyers don’t want to deal with a much-needed repair right when they move in. Buyers might also ask for concessions once the home inspector has gone through and made a list of items that need fixing.

Putting off repairs can also increase how long your home sits on the market. If you invest time and money into making your home look fantastic on the outside, it will likely sell faster – which means fewer mortgage payments for you.

Boosting your home’s curb appeal is a good investment however you look at it. Here are some of the best ways to get started.

1. Paint the Front Door

The front door is often the first place buyers look when they pull up to a house. It’s front and center to your home, so it’s essential that it’s clean, and inviting.

The best color to paint your front door depends largely on your home’s exterior color and style. Some popular front door colors are turquoise, red, deep navy, and yellow.

Bold can be beautiful, but you don’t have to go wild to boost the value of your home. A research study conducted by Zillow that analyzed the sale prices of more than 32,000 homes. They found that front doors painted navy blue, dark gray, or charcoal sold for $1,514 more, on average than other homes.

Whatever color you choose, make sure it blends well with your home’s overall personality. You might love the idea of a bright turquoise door, for instance, but if your home is olive green, the color combination will look off. Make sure your choice works with your home’s exterior paint color.

2. Paint the Exterior

If you have extra money in your budget, you might want to consider repainting the whole house. It can be a big expense, costing $5,000 or more, but you could very well get your entire investment back. Zillow found that houses painted certain colors, such as “greige” (a blend of grey and beige), sold for $1,526 more than other homes.

Some colors will scare buyers away. Colors to avoid include black, tree green, citrus green, dark brown, and bright lemon yellow.

If you can’t afford to repaint the entire house, at least touch up any areas where the paint is thin or peeling. Peeling paint is not only unsightly; it can make buyers wonder what other routine maintenance tasks have gone unaddressed.

3. Update House Numbers

Another way to give your home an instant personality boost is to update your address numbers. After all, buyers are used to seeing the run-of-the-mill numbers sold by most home improvement stores. Imagine the impact if your home had handmade numbers attached to a faded wood plank or numbers made of brightly colored

4. Install Exterior Lighting

Your home’s exterior lighting might seem like a detail that buyers won’t really notice on their first visit. But remember, getting those buyers through your front door all depends on the quality of your pictures. Great exterior lighting can help you create a dramatic look for dusk or nighttime pictures.

5. Hide Your Trash

Many homeowners store their trash bins on the side of the house, but this can be unsightly, especially to potential buyers. Unless you have some unique and artistic trash bins – and chances are, you don’t – they should be hidden from view.

There are plenty of ways to hide your trash bins, as well as any other ugly necessities such as air conditioning units. For example, you could put up some inexpensive wood fencing, build a three-sided box using corrugated metal, or make a rustic-looking fence from old pallets.

6. Clean the Roof

Take a close look at your roof. Is it in good condition, or is it missing shingles? Is it dirty and streaked?

The condition of your roof is enormously important to potential buyers. After all, the basic premise of shelter is having something solid and sturdy over your head to protect you from the elements. If the roof looks like it’s in poor condition, buyers are going to look elsewhere.

7. Pressure Wash Everything

A good wash can bring life back into your siding and make your patio or deck look brand-new again.

Pressure washing is a very affordable way to make your home looking sparkling clean and bright. If you already own a pressure washer, roll up your sleeves and get to work hosing down all exterior surfaces, including the driveway and walkways. If you don’t own one, you can rent one from most large home improvement stores, such as Home Depot. Costs range from $30 to $40 or more per day.

8. Replace the Mailbox

Most buyers won’t see your mailbox in the online pictures unless you have a wall box on your front porch. However, when they pull up to your home, the mailbox is one of the first things they’ll see. If your mailbox is dingy, old, or sitting atop a rotting post, they’ll notice immediately.

9. Spruce Up Your Flower Beds

If your home is for sale, it should be bursting with color three seasons out of the year. Blooming flowers and healthy plants provide an instant lift to a home’s exterior, and buyers always like to see established, low-maintenance flower beds. According to HGTV, an attractive and well-maintained yard can add up to 10% to your home’s value.

Go around your house and inspect your flower beds. Pull up weeds, plant some bright annuals, and lay down a fresh layer of dark mulch. Some annuals that are inexpensive and easy to maintain include petunias, impatiens, and begonias; these flowers will bloom all summer long. You can also consider planting bright yellow marigolds along the walkway or near the front door, which will add a bright splash of color that will instantly catch the eye.

10. Freshen Up Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor living spaces are becoming coveted areas for home buyers. 87% of homebuyers want an outdoor patio.

You want buyers to envision themselves spending lazy summer evenings in the yard, sipping cocktails with friends or watching their children play. A great patio and inviting backyard can spark a buyer’s imagination more than even a top-of-the-line kitchen or media room.

There are several ways to make your patio or deck look more appealing. First, put out potted plants; these can be large tropicals or pots of annuals. Use pots to create “walls” around your patio to define the space and make it feel more like an outdoor room.

11. Add a Border to the Driveway

Most homes these days have an asphalt driveway. Asphalt is usually bland and boring, and it doesn’t do much to add to your home’s exterior. One way to make your driveway stand out is to add a border. You can do this by lining each side with bricks, stones, or pavers from the street all the way up to your house.

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