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Maintaining impeccable curb appeal can be daunting for any homeowner. From keeping the siding spotless to the lawn freshly cut, the demands of achieving that picturesque front yard can be both time-consuming and costly.
But there’s no denying the value that curb appeal brings, especially when it’s time to sell your home. So, how can you tackle these improvements without spending too much time and money? We’ve got you covered with our curb appeal guide, designed to provide you with practical, cost-effective solutions.
With a focus on the most impactful and return-on-investment-worthy projects, we’ll help you understand what potential buyers are really looking for so you can maximize your home’s value.
Prioritize must-fix issues
“Sellers want to minimize their investment to get their home sold, so I always tell them to focus on the items that would make a buyer walk away,” says Jenah Mahan, a top real estate agent in Tacoma, Washington. “A buyer isn’t going to walk away from your house because you don’t have a cute bench with pretty pillows on the front porch. Focus on the things that would kill a deal.”
According to Mahan, anything the home appraiser is going to call out is what’s going to be a dealbreaker for buyers. That includes maintenance like roofing issues, peeling paint, or anything that could hint at foundation instability.
“It doesn’t really matter how much mulch you put in the yard or how many flowers you add, because if your house has flaking paint or loose shingles or a gutter falling off, that’s going to trump anything that you make pretty,” Mahan says.
Remember that your money should first go toward repairing what’s broken or removing anything that could signal hidden damage. Only after you make those fixes should you invest in projects that will make your home’s exterior look cleaner and more put together.
Landscaping data collected from HomeLight’s Spring 2023 Top Agent Insights Report
Garage door data collected from 2023 Cost vs. Value Remodeling Report
Exterior paint data collected from HomeLight’s New Year 2022 Top Agent Insights Report
Siding data collected from HomeLight’s Summer / Fall 2021 Top Agent Insights Report
Curb appeal tips for your front entrance
The average buyer visits five houses during their home search, according to the National Association of Realtors. When a buyer approaches your home, you want the entrance to be inviting.
Pathways and steps
The biggest problem areas to watch out for are: cracked or uneven pavement, missing brick pavers, broken steps, steep stairs, and missing or broken handrails.
Broken pavement and stairs are top signifiers of disrepair. Even if the inside of your house is well taken care of, cracked concrete and an unsafe entryway could signal negative feelings or safety concerns.
The cost to repair pathways ranges from $707 to $2,312, according to HomeAdvisor.
The color of a home’s front door should invite a buyer in. Check with your neighborhood homeowner’s association, if you have one, to see if there are any restrictions in terms of color. Though painting your front door is not a necessity, a fresh coat can make the exterior look bright and clean. According to Home Advisor, the cost to paint a front door ranges from $100 to $500, so it’s usually a worthwhile expense.
Make sure your front porch (if you have one) looks stable, sturdy, and clean. “If I see a sagging front porch or something that doesn’t look correct on the front porch, it’s immediately going to make me think that there might be a foundation issue even if there’s not,” Mahan cautions. “Fix it so that people don’t look into something that maybe isn’t there.”
According to Fixr, the average cost to repair a front porch is $250 to $1,500. A website like Yelp or Angi can help you find a reputable contractor who can give you an estimate for the repairs your porch needs.
81% of first-time buyers see lighting as an essential or desirable part of outdoor living space, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Good lighting welcomes guests and plays a role in the safety of a home. It illuminates the landscaping and pathways at night and helps to prevent theft.
Switch out old light bulbs, clear away any cobwebs, and change out any dysfunctional lights. The cost to install an exterior light fixture ranges from $94-$186, according to HomeWyse.
Curb appeal tips for your siding and roof
The condition of your home’s siding and roof factor into potential buyers’ first impressions. Ensuring they’re clean, well-maintained, and free of damage can significantly improve your home’s curb appeal and attract more buyers.
Siding and exterior paint
Replacing siding is costly — $16,348 for vinyl and $19,361 for fiber-cement on average — and you likely won’t recoup what you spent entirely.
If you’re looking for a more affordable way to improve the appearance of your siding, consider purchasing a power washer for as little as $167 to remove any mildew and dirt.
Additionally, a new coat of paint will instantly spruce up the exterior of your home. Painting a home’s exterior costs roughly $3,000 with an estimated resale value of $7,571, according to a recent HomeLight survey. That’s a 152% return on your investment.
If you don’t have the money to paint the whole exterior, Mahan recommends at least painting the trim around the windows to really freshen the whole house up.
Numbers should be visible and clean. If you have dirty, damaged, or missing property numbers, your home can appear dated or in bad shape. Plus, open house visitors may have trouble finding the place if the numbers are missing.
The average cost to replace a roof is between $4.50 and $7.50 per square foot, which amounts to $7,650 to $12,750 for a 1,700-square-foot-roof.
Contact a roofing company with a positive track record and good reviews, and request an estimate to replace only the broken or missing roof tiles. You’ll save thousands of dollars, and your roof should look (and function) like new.
Curb appeal tips for your driveway and garage door
By keeping your driveway and garage door clean, functional, and aesthetically pleasing, you’ll entice buyers to want to explore the rest of your home.
Your driveway should be free of weeds and grease stains. You can clean your driveway yourself using one of three methods: a pressure washer, household products, or chemical cleaners.
The most cost-efficient way to clean a driveway is to use the pressure washer you bought for the siding of the house, and grab the baking soda from your pantry. Let the baking soda sit on any stains for an hour and then scrub with a baking soda-water solution. Then, pressure wash the area. There are several other household products you can use too, such as cola, cat litter, cornstarch, or powdered dishwasher detergent.
The garage, like the rest of the exterior, should be in working order and free of peeling paint. If your garage door is broken or falling off the hinges, you need to get it repaired. The average cost to fix a garage door is about $220.
If you have a freestanding mailbox out front, make sure it’s free from rust and grime. A cleaning product like Bar Keepers Friend will remove any rust while cleaning and polishing the mailbox at the same time. Even if your mailbox is a metal slot on your front door or garage, be sure to give it a thorough wipe down.
Curb appeal tips for landscaping
Landscaping adds an average $7,312 to your sale price, which amounts to a 112% ROI, according to HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for Summer 2023. A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs, and colorful flower beds can make a world of difference — transforming your property into a welcoming haven that invites potential buyers in.
Focus on creating a balanced and cohesive look that complements your home’s architectural style. Consider incorporating native plants, as they’re often easier to maintain and more resilient to local climate conditions, and don’t forget to mulch the beds to give a tidy appearance. If it’s too cold, grab a potted tree or pot some flowers to flank either side of your front door.
Also, pay attention to the walkway and entryway. Ensure they’re clear of any overgrown vegetation and are easily accessible to visitors.
Show off your curb appeal online
According to the National Association of Realtors, 47% of buyers began their home search online, and 85% of buyers found photos to be the most useful feature on real estate websites.
Use high-quality photos and descriptions to highlight the improvements you’ve made, giving prospective buyers a glimpse into the beauty and value that awaits them.
Work with your real estate agent to hire a professional to take the photos. They’ll be able to recommend a photographer they’ve had success with in the past.
The importance of curb appeal when selling
Enhancing your home’s curb appeal goes beyond mere aesthetics. While creating an inviting and visually pleasing exterior is essential, it’s even more important to address any underlying issues that could deter potential buyers.
By prioritizing must-fix problems, you’ll lay the foundation for a more successful curb appeal makeover. From sprucing up your front entrance and maintaining your siding and roof to upgrading your driveway and garage door, each element contributes to creating a lasting impression on potential buyers.
With a strategic approach and attention to detail, you can significantly enhance your home’s curb appeal and increase its marketability.
Article Image Source: (Shopify Partners / Burst)
Curb appeal FAQ
Focus on repairs and maintenance first, such as fixing broken elements, touching up paint, and cleaning up the yard. Then, consider landscaping and updates to your front entrance, driveway, and garage door. Prioritize projects that make a strong first impression and address potential dealbreakers.
The amount to invest depends on your budget and the specific needs of your property. Start with low-cost, high-impact improvements like decluttering, pressure washing, and freshening up paint. Consult a local real estate agent to identify the most cost-effective curb appeal projects for your area.
Simple, low-cost improvements can make a big difference. Keep your lawn and garden tidy, trim overgrown bushes, and remove weeds. Clean windows, pressure wash siding, and touch up paint. Add some potted plants or a fresh wreath to your front entrance. Declutter and organize outdoor spaces.
Many curb appeal projects can be DIY, like cleaning, decluttering, and adding small decor items. However, for more complex tasks like roofing repairs, exterior painting, or extensive landscaping, it may be worth hiring professionals to ensure a high-quality result that appeals to potential buyers.
- "How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Garage Door?", A1Garage (July 2023)
- "How to Clean a Driveway", wikiHow (January 2023)
- "Pricing Guide: How Much Does a Pressure Washer Cost?", LawnStarter (July 2023)
- "Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends", National Association of Realtors® (March 2023)
- "How much does it cost to repair a porch?", Fixr (May 2022)