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Curb appeal isn’t just a show on HGTV. It’s something 96% of Realtors say you should improve prior to putting your home up for sale. Your home’s curb appeal is the first thing buyers see when they pull up to the house and they’re quick to judge you for it.
Imagine two men waiting in the lobby of an office building for a job interview. One of them is wearing a black suit. His hair is combed, his shoes shined and his shirt pressed. The other has on torn jeans, a stretched-out t-shirt, and flip-flops.
If you were interviewing these men, you would jump to a few conclusions. In fact, you might even just send the flip-flop kid away before the interview because it seems like he’s wasting everyone’s time (and you’d never learn he’s a genius who went to MIT).
If people can’t get past the outside, they’ll never get to see the inside; the same goes for your house. Good curb appeal is essential to selling your home and you can make a significant impact on your home’s curb appeal with even a minuscule budget.
Here are 12 ways to amp up your home’s curb appeal game without having to sell a kidney.
1. Buy a Fresh Doormat
Toss the mat that’s been unraveling at the edges since 2015. It’s time. Head to Amazon.com or to Bed, Bath Beyond with one of those 20 percent off coupons that have been sitting on your counter for months, and buy a new welcome mat. Opt for something simple that doesn’t outshine your front door. Or go quirky with typography.
$20 (or less with that coupon)
2. Replace the Plants and Flowers
At one point, you took up gardening. You bought the most delicate flowers for the front door window boxes. They died because you’re no green thumb. Don’t let your plant cemetery be the first thing people see (or remember) about your home. Replace the plants with hardy foliage — like Zinnia, Yarrow or Aloe Vera. For this purpose, it’s best to buy already-started plants rather than trying from seeds.
$30 for a 4 pack.
Mulch has a tendency to compact over time, so if the last time you mulched was more than a year ago, cart in some new stuff. Your yard will look like you just put in new landscaping!
$5 per bag
4. Mow Your Lawn
In a 2017 episode of the podcast Freakonomics, Stephen Dubner, host of the show, talks about how lawns are a staple of the American Dream. Whether you buy into this idea of lawns, you can certainly buy into the idea that your house hunters want to see a nice one. In fact, The National Association of Realtors has lawn care among the top projects that appeal to buyers. Mow regularly and don’t skimp on the edge work.
$20 (if you pay the neighbor kid)
5. Give Your Front Door a Facelift
If your front door says more “haunted house” than “welcome home,” give it an inexpensive lift with a new paint job. Strip peeling paint, or at least scrape, sand and wash with a TSP solution. A color expert at your local hardware or paint store can help you match your current house colors with a new, bold front door color.
6. Repaint Your Address on the Curb
Your whole street has house numbers painted on the curb. Yours is faded to the point you can hardly even make out the address anymore (that could be your fault for running over the curb one too many times). Renew that sharp black-and-white contrast.
Tape off the rectangle with painter’s tape. Be sure to use a measuring tape and level for straight lines. Save an old Amazon box and create a barricade around the rectangle so you don’t get spray paint everywhere. Spray the rectangle white and let it dry. This will be the background.
Create a stencil with a piece of cardstock, or purchase your house number stencils from the local hardware store. Tape them in place and spray paint (or brush) them with black paint.
7. Roll Up the Hose
Water your lawn and your flowerbeds, but then roll up the hose rather than leaving it strewn across your front yard. This. Is. The. Easiest. Project. On. The. List.
Opt for an understated model that won’t be your front yard’s focal point. Home Depot has dozens of options. If you don’t want to purchase anything, just wind it up neatly and put it aside.
8. Give the Mailbox Some Love
The U.S. Postal Service’s unofficial motto starts “Neither snow nor rain …” The mail carriers aren’t the only ones out there in the weather. Your mailbox takes the brunt of it too — spray and mud splatter from every car that drives by, snow piled high after fresh powder. At the very least, wipe it down. If you have a little more energy and time, give it a fresh coat of paint.
$5, if painting
9. Clear Out the Gutters
From leaves and bark to Frisbees and footballs, your gutters collect it all. Get out the ladder and clean them out. If it rains, full gutters will make your newly primped yard a mess.
10. Keep Your Windows Clear
At one point, your grandkids put butterfly stickers up in your front window. Use Goo Gone and a razorblade to carefully remove the adhesive.
If you have major grime or mud, power wash the exterior windows. Then, wash the inside and outside of the glass with warm water and a few drops of Dawn with a soft cloth.
Open up your blinds to show your home in all its natural light.
11. Repair and Replace
If one or two of your fence posts are broken, or you have bricks or pavers missing, replace them. You can do this yourself, or hire a mason. If you hire someone, you might also use the opportunity to fix any tuckpointing issues around the house. In addition, replace light bulbs that have burned out with energy-efficient LEDs. Nothing says “Go away” like the porch light that doesn’t work.
depends on the extent of project
12. Spruce Your Patio
Your patio furniture is all stacked up against the house for winter. Just like you set up your living room with the couch positioned around the fireplace and display magazines on the coffee table, wipe down and arrange your patio furniture so it’s welcoming to guests. Finish it off by sweeping. For 30 seconds let your porch say “no, there are no kids or pets that live here.”
$0 (unless you don’t own a broom)
Curb Appeal on a Budget is Easier Than You Think
Whether you pay the neighbor kid, hire a pro or do it yourself, stepping up your curb appeal can be an inexpensive and very effective way to attract buyers and sell your home faster.
Article Image Source: (Artazum/ Shutterstock)