Think of your home’s exterior as the cover of a book. If it’s eye-catching enough, everyone — including potential buyers — will want to see what’s inside. But, if you’re not a landscaper by trade, taking on an outdoor overhaul can seem daunting. The good news is there are some easy, inexpensive ways to up your curb appeal game and make your house the envy of the neighborhood.
Think of the First Impression
REALTOR® Amy Jackson with Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood says when discussing curb appeal with sellers, she tells them to think about how a buyer will experience the home.
“A buyer won’t pull into the garage but will instead park in the driveway or possibly along the curb,” she said. “Consider what they’ll see as they walk up the drive. Simple tasks like keeping the grass edged along the driveway and laying fresh mulch along walkways can make a great first impression.”
Giving your landscaping a thorough clean-up is an easy way to add instant appeal and it doesn’t require a green thumb. Take an afternoon to pull weeds, remove dead branches and stems from trees and shrubs, and make sure the landscaping is nicely trimmed. Also, repair any dead patches of grass and keep up with regular mowing to help your lawn look healthy and well-manicured.
Focus on the Front Door
After buyers give your yard the once-over, they’ll head to the front door. Jackson says as their REALTORS® are fiddling with keys and lockboxes, buyers will have a few minutes to look around.
“I would start with a new door mat and a nice, seasonal wreath,” she said. “Those are simple, inexpensive touches that will dress up the space and give buyers that welcoming feeling.”
You can also make a big impact by painting an outdated front door. A fresh new color can add some brightness and revive the look of a house.
Jackson says while you’re focusing on what the front door looks like, you should also pay attention to what it feels like.
“I once had a $300,000 listing with a wobbly screen door handle and almost every buyer commented on it,” she said. “Loose hardware or sticking doors cheapen the mindset, so it’s important to fix those issues before you take on cosmetic upgrades.”
Other inexpensive entrance improvements include installing a unique door knocker, upgrading your house numbers, and adding a few potted plants to brighten up the space. Also, pay attention to your lighting. Simply cleaning or even spray painting your existing outdoor fixtures can make a big difference.
And while we’re on the subject of doors, show your garage door a little love. While this area doesn’t get much attention, it’s sort of the visual centerpiece of your home. A good cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, and a potted plant on either side of the garage door are simple, yet effective improvements.
Clean Everything Up
Over time, mildew and debris can dull your home’s exterior, and while you may be used to it, it can give buyers a negative impression.
“A good power washing will instantly transform the look of your home,” said Jackson. “If you can’t rent a power washer, get out the hose, a bucket of soapy water, and some elbow grease. Cleaning is really where you can get the biggest bang for your buck.”
In addition to the siding, scrub your deck, porch, walkways and, most importantly, your windows. A clean and fresh exterior tells buyers your house has been cared for and well-maintained.
And, we can’t mention the word “clean” without “decluttered.” Keep landscaping and decor simple. Remember the old rule…less is more. Lots of outdoor furniture and decorations is not only distracting for buyers, but it will also collect dust and dirt, which just means more cleaning for you.
“While you’re working outside, don’t forget the back of the house,” said Jackson. “This time of year, buyers have family gatherings and barbeques on their minds, so they’ll spend some time critiquing the backyard. Again, keep things cleaned up, add a few potted plants to your deck, and make sure sliding and screen doors are functioning properly.”
Keep in mind, you don’t have to be a seller to heed this advice. These are all great ways for homeowners to freshen up their exterior before heading into the busy summer season. Remember, it really doesn’t take much to make a big impact and most of these projects can be tackled in a single weekend with very little cost.
For more home maintenance and decor tips follow the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® on Facebook.
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