The old adage rings true: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
For homeowners, this comes into play because your home is visible from the street, no matter how private you keep the rest of it. Someone pulling their car into your driveway or along your curb will have an immediate first impression.
If you’re a home seller or potential home seller, this can be critical. Curb appeal, as it’s called, might not necessarily add a specific dollar value to your home, but it does provide the first impression a potential home buyer gets. If you don’t want to turn off potential buyers, that first impression is key.
It’s especially important if you live in a neighborhood of other well-kept homes. You don’t have to have the home that looks the nicest from the street, but you don’t want to have one that’s not up-to-par, either. If you’re selling your home, that’s especially true if there are other home sellers nearby – your neighbor sellers’ curb appeal is your competition.
The good news is that enhancing a home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to be difficult. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are five easy, relatively inexpensive ways to boost your home’s curb appeal.
- Add a coat of paint to the front door and shutters – Over time, sunlight will fade a home’s entryway and trim. A gallon of paint, no more than $50 for the good stuff, can transform a faded front door or weathered shutters from eyesores to eye candy. Pro tip: If you have vinyl shutters that you’d really rather not paint, applying some Armor All or other similar product can remove the oxidation and rejuvenate them.
- Pressure wash – Over time, dust and dirt find their way onto a home’s siding, eaves, and trim. Especially if you have a light-colored home, you might be surprised at how a good pressure-washing can brighten things up. You can rent a pressure washer and do the job yourself (it might require a ladder), but if you’re unwilling to do the work yourself, it’s not very expensive to hire someone who will.
- Green it up – A well-maintained lawn is a component of curb appeal. It’s important to keep it neatly cut and edged, but making sure it’s a healthy-looking green can go a long way, too. The way to do this is with water and fertilizer, the latter of which might be a $20 to $50 investment. There are eco-friendly fertilizers out there, too, if you’re concerned about the environment, and just laying down some iron (available at most home improvement stores) can make your grass greener.
- Add some other colors – Once your lawn is green, it might be time to add some other color to brighten things up. Sure, a full-blown landscaping makeover, with new hedges and mature bushes is expensive, but you can add splashes of color with a few inexpensive, well-placed annuals.
- Trim it back – One of the top enemies of curb appeal is any landscaping that appears overgrown. If there are tree branches hanging over a driveway, or other flora encroaching into walkways, they should be trimmed. Even neat bushes and hedges can be too tall, obscuring a visitor’s view of the actual house. A tree service might be expensive, but most things near ground level cost only your time to cut and shape.
You won’t likely get more money on a home sale just because your dwelling looks great from the street. But if you’re selling your home, you can help ensure that you don’t turn away potential home buyers from the very start by improving your home’s curb appeal.
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