Improving Your Curb Appeal

By: Margie Fontanilla, Design Coordinator

First impressions are everything. Whether you’re selling your home or simply trying to spruce it up, improving your curb appeal is a great way to increase your home’s value. After all, the front of your home is the first area potential buyers will see. If they are deterred by the outside, it’s very likely they will not set foot inside the house.

A great real estate team will identify and effectively determine improvements that will provide the best return on your investment. For those who want a guide to doing it yourselves, here are a few simple ways you can get your home’s exterior looking great.

  • MANICURE THE LAWN

Keeping the lawn well-manicured is one of the most effective ways to improve the home’s curb appeal. If your home has a lawn, then mow, rake, and manicure it regularly. Pull or kill the weeds, and keep it adequately watered and fertilized.

  • PRUNE/PLANT

Trees and plants make wonderful additions to any residential landscape. Planting flowers along the sidewalk, in front of the house, and/or inside flower boxes is a great way to boost the home’s curb appeal. If there is no room on the property for gardens, consider filling pots and containers with colorful flowers. This is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to make a big impact. Likewise, adding a fresh layer of mulch or bark to the flowerbeds is a wonderful way to freshen up and add color to the landscape, not to mention the mulch suppresses weed growth and provides nutrients to the plants.

If your existing trees and plants are overgrown, consider pruning them. Pruning not only gives the appearance of a well-kept property, but also increases the amount of sunlight allowed into the yard. Most importantly, pruning removes damaged and diseased branches, which helps prevent insects and decay-causing organisms.

  • PRESSURE-WASH

You might think your home needs repainting when really all it needs is to be washed. Pressure-washing the exterior will remove stains and grime that build up on the exterior of the home. This process will take much less time and money than painting. Depending on the overall condition of your home’s exterior, pressure-washing could make the house look new again.

  • PAINT

Any obvious defects, such as cracked, rotting materials or peeling exterior paint, can downgrade the aesthetic and quickly turn away potential homebuyers. Once defects are identified and repaired, look for ways to add personality with new colors and details. An exterior facelift, which may include all-new paint, siding, and trim details, can completely transform the look of a home. Once painted, regular maintenance of these exterior surfaces is the surest way to keep your home’s curb appeal at its full potential.

  • DRESS THE DRIVEWAY

If your driveway is cracked or stained, you can upgrade its curb appeal without doing a complete redo. First, repair cracks and stains, then dress it up by staining the concrete or installing flagstones. Designing a border along the driveway will lend a nice, clean look, and you can use materials such as brick and stone to add attractive color and texture to the plain asphalt.

  • ADD OUTDOOR LIGHTING

Outdoor lighting beautifies a home at night while adding safety and security. In addition, lights make the entire property feel more welcoming. Low-voltage landscape lighting in particular is easy to install and makes a huge impact on your home’s curb appeal. An even easier option is to install solar fixtures, but be aware that their light levels are not as bright or as reliable.

  • FRESHEN THE FRONT DOOR

The home’s entry is the focal point of its curb appeal. If your front door is worn, outdated, or simply a dull color, refinishing the door will give it new life. Select a stain or paint color that will brighten your front doorway and create an inviting feeling for guests and passersby. Additionally, consider replacing the hardware, as this easy and inexpensive fix can subtly yet significantly change the beauty of the front entry.

Follow one or more of these tips to boost your home’s curb appeal, and you may find that redesigning your exterior is more fun than you imagined!

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