The rule about not judging a book by its cover is broken constantly, especially when it comes to the real estate market. Potential home buyers will rarely consider a home with a neglected lawn, chipped paint, broken windows and overgrown bushes, because they know if the outside looks awful, the inside must be, too. Even if the inside of a home is well-maintained, buyers will often pass up the chance to see it based on their impressions of the outside. In other words, curb appeal matters. It matters to buyers looking to put down roots and sellers eager to redeem a high price for their home.
Start with a clean slate
Constant exposure to the elements can do a number on your home’s appearance, covering it with an array of dirt, cobwebs and mildew, which is why U.S. News and World Report contributor Don Vandervort recommends giving your house’s exterior a thorough scrubbing with a pressure washer. If after its bath your home still looks weathered consider investing in a new paint job, advises Vandervort. When pressure washing, be sure to avoid contact with light fixtures, outlets, windows and electrical wires and sending “water up under the siding.”
Go green and add color
Whether your house sits on an expanse of land or a postage-sized yard, make sure the grass beneath buyers’ feet is healthy, manicured, fertilized, weed-free, watered and green, advises Vandervort.
Add a year-round pop of color to your garden with flowers and plants that bloom throughout the year.
“A local nursery can help you choose and plant additional bulbs, shrubs and trees with different bloom times (as well as plants with colorful autumn foliage and winter berries), so there will always be something performing,” explains Time.com writer Josh Garskof.
Light the way
The path to your home should be smooth and well-lit, which means broken, weed-infested concrete slabs or steps should be repaired or even accented with stones or brick, according to Vandervort.
“Outdoor lighting makes a house beautiful at night and adds safety and security. Think about installing low-voltage landscape lighting to accent trees, walkways and landscaping.”
Garage doors are super functional and often supremely boring, explains Garskof, who recommends replacing the “lackluster slabs of steel or vinyl” with “more visually appealing doors with moldings, windows or an old-fashioned carriage-house look.”
Although smaller in size than a garage door, don’t underestimate the impact your front door has on potential buyers. A door that is clean, newly painted or refinished will make a better impression on buyers than one that is dull and cracked, according to Vandervort, who recommends investing in a new one if your DIY efforts to improve it fall short.
“Remove tarnished hardware and polish it with metal polish. If it’s in shoddy shape, replace it entirely,” says Vandervort. “A shiny new metal kick plate at the door’s base can add a touch of elegance and hide scuffs and animal scratches. While you’re dealing with the front door, don’t forget to welcome guests with a friendly doormat.”
Focus on details
Simple tweaks can have a major bearing on your home’s appearance, too. According to Garskof, switching out black or shiny black house numbers and dated mailbox for ones that have more modern finishes will add to your curb appeal.
Your home is your most valuable asset, so make it look its best by applying these curb appeal tips and tweaks. Your home will look beautiful, attract favorable attention from buyers and add to your resale value.