Adding Curb Appeal to Your Home
Love At First Sight: Adding Curb Appeal to Your Home
First impressions are everything: with job interviews, with first dates, and when it comes to selling your home.
Your home’s first impression lies in its curb appeal—and you want your buyers to experience that dizzying love-at-first-sight feeling the moment they pull up to your driveway.
Whether you’re preparing your property for sale or simply looking to freshen your exterior, investing time in creating curb appeal will have your home turning heads.
Add a shot of happy to your front door.
Your front door is the focal point of your entire curb appeal, so you want it to make a bold statement. Bright-colored front doors are a “shot of happy” as I like to call it—blues, teals, even a stark black add a pop of look-at-me color.
For your property’s online listing, your front door needs to be in your listing’s very first photo. Like a dating site, that first picture matters! Studies show that more people will continue looking through your online listing if the first photo features the front of your home, including that shot-of-happy front door.
Maintain the shutters.
Clean your shutters, clearing them of cobwebs and other buildup.
Do they need to be repainted? As I’ve said before, paint is money in a can. A coat of fresh paint is like a new ‘do—it can work wonders to freshen up your home’s look!
I’m a big fan of shutters that are a different color from your front door. However, that doesn’t mean I’m recommending a baby blue door and hot pink shutters. Colors should be in the same tones; for example, if you have green shutters, consider a brighter green for your front door.
Make your (flower) bed.
It’s important for you tidy and refresh your flower beds, especially as we approach the spring and summer seasons.
If you have mulch surrounding your home, refresh or replace this so that it closely resembles the color of your roof. Have a darker roof? Use darker mulch. Match tan or brown mulch to a tan or brown roof. Mulch is the MVP when it comes to inexpensive ways to add curb appeal!
Trees and flower beds also need an edging of mulch to look tidy. Bring mulch all the way up to the edge of your foundation—this offers clean lines. Even small yards give off “mo’ money” vibes with edging! Rent an edger if you don’t have one… put a little blood, sweat, and tears into your curb appeal (or… mostly sweat).
Add colorful flowers to really romance your buyers (and make them think, “Aw shucks, you shouldn’t have!”). Pick one or two colors—while beautiful, having an array of flower colors can be a visual distraction.
Yellows, pinks, or reds are great color options. I’m personally partial to yellow flowers! If you have porch chairs or other outdoor furniture, color coordinate with these pieces or bring in a colorful cushion that corresponds to your flower colors.
When adding items to your front porch, aim for symmetry, like a potted plant on each side of the door if there is room for that—you don’t want the pots to require people to shimmy through them to get inside. If you aren’t sporting that green thumb, you can purchase potted plants that are already front-porch-ready at your local garden store.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: When choosing your flower and plants, go for options that are low-maintenance for your buyers. Your new buyers might not have the time or experience to be able to care for complex lawns. Keep it simple and low-maintenance!
What takes the trophy for Biggest Eyesore of All? Weeds. Go on an all-out rampage getting rid of these. Add weed killer to your flower beds and around trees. You can even put down newspaper and add your mulch on top—this cuts down on those pesky weeds growing through it.
Mind the paint.
Allow me to again shout from the proverbial rooftops the praises of fresh paint!
Does your home’s paint colors appeal to buyers? Do some simple market research: take a drive through developments in your area with new builds… what colors are the homes? These are your more-trending color schemes.
Even if you can’t afford to completely repaint your home, it’s worth it to paint your trim. This is generally the lightest color on your home, and you’ll get a huge bang for your buck by freshening these up.
If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA that dictates home colors, make sure you get approval to paint.
For more information about the money-making power of the paint brush, check out my blog post Paint Is Money In A Can.
Pre-pack the flamingos.
If your lawn features yard art, whether flamingos, stone frogs, or a deer statue, go ahead and pack these away for your next home. These items are not part of your property’s selling points, so you don’t want them to distract attention from your property’s features.
Let there be light.
And then there was… darkness.
Don’t let this happen when your potential buyer flips on the porch light switch! Check to ensure that all of your light fixtures and bulbs are working properly. Make the switch to a soft white light bulb rather than a harsh yellow light. Yellow bulbs generally attract more bugs (and consequently, cobwebs) than the soft white.
Clean lighting fixtures. If your lighting hardware doesn’t match the other hardware on your front porch, often you can remove these fixtures, add a magic layer of spray paint to color coordinate with your other hardware, and replace these without having to purchase new fixtures.
If you’re one of the lucky ones with outdoor uplighting, make sure your photographer captures photos of these lit in their full glory at night. You want your buyers to know the value your property offers with uplighting, but they can’t know this if you don’t showcase it with great photography!
Don’t get locked out.
Picture this: A real estate agent arrives at your home with potential buyers who have been counting down the hours to tour your home ever since they saw your listing’s stunning photos.
The agent puts the key into the lock, tries to turn it… and nothing. It’s jammed. He has to spend the next three minutes jiggling the key at 18 different angles until finally the lock turns. Can you imagine what the buyers are thinking standing on that porch?
Moral of the story: Make sure your locks are in working order. WD-40 may do the trick, or they may need to be replaced.
Call (or be) the repair guy/gal.
Take note: Buyers are NOT looking to take on someone’s “honey do list.”
Make that repair list and check it twice as you ready your home for sale. Play “I spy” with cracks—in your sidewalk, porch, brick, or stucco… repair any you find.
Check your gutters and downspouts. A quick power wash may be in order. Having these clean makes a HUGE difference to the visual appeal of your home’s exterior!
Give your garage door some attention—it may also need to be power washed or given a fresh coat of paint. Ensure it raises and closes easily; buyers will test these out when touring your home. If the doors are squeaky and unenthusiastic about opening, get this repaired; it might just need a quick oil job.
Put the screens away.
If you are preparing your home for sale and your windows have screens, go ahead and remove these. This has a double win—your home will receive more natural light inside and your photos won’t feature the screen’s darker grey color. Plus, sparkling clean windows show better in photos!
If you have neighbors who don’t always keep their home’s exterior tidy, you want to draw the buyer’s eye away from that.
For example, if the neighbor to your home’s right is a bit… chaotic, shall we say, you can put your bright colors on the left side of your yard and front porch, drawing the buyer’s attention to the delightful features of your home!
Roll out the welcome mat.
Give your guest a big “welcome!” with a colorful mat that corresponds with your flowers and porch decor! This is an inexpensive way to give your potential buyers that warm and fuzzy “you’re finally home” feeling.
Make sure your house numbers are clearly visible, especially at night. Reflective house numbers work best, as these better allow buyers to find your home. Yes, many times buyers will do a drive-by of the home before they schedule a showing, so you want them to know which home is yours!
Clean like crazy.
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness” and also “curb appeal-ness.” The most important point of all: clean, clean, clean.
A clean metal plate at your door threshold adds value. If it’s too scratched up, these can be easily replaced at the hardware store.
Clean the windows in your home. Your potential buyers are like hawks: they will notice these details when they walk in the front door, so clear those cobwebs and swipe those smudges!
Walk the perimeter of your home, eyeing each element and ensuring it’s next-level clean! Nothing says curb appeal quite like a sparkling clean exterior.
Want a customized “road map” to preparing your home for sale?