What Makes for Great Curb Appeal
It's true that most homebuyers begin their search online, which means that by the time they visit the home in person, they've likely already seen pictures of the interior and/or exterior. This doesn't mean they've made up their minds, however. There is still an impression to be made, and the first impression a prospective buyer has when visiting a home is the front-facing exterior and yard. Realtors say that even in the digital age, that impression can make or break a sale, so here are some tips for maximizing your curb appeal to make your home more attractive to buyers.
Before you start
The first thing to do before launching a curb appeal improvement project is to make a list of goals. Walk around the exterior of your home several times, with a notebook in hand, making note of what could be (or needs to be) improved. Think like a buyer. If you were the one shopping for this house, what visual elements would turn you away? How could they be made more appealing? There's a chance you've grown so accustomed to certain features that you hardly notice them anymore, so get an outside opinion. Be sure to check places like the roof, the landscaping, the driveway, and the windows.
Replace what can be replaced
The exterior of your home includes a number of items which can be replaced with little expense. For example, if your mailbox is in disrepair, fix it up or get a new one. If the address numbers are faded, chipped, missing, etc. those can be replaced. A new doormat that complements the style of the house can up the appeal. Making sure the bulbs in all exterior fixtures are functioning, bright, and matching in hue will give a clean, uniform look at night. If the light fixtures themselves are outdated or unattractive, those can be replaced as well.
Clean, clean, clean
Wash all exterior surfaces. It may not be immediately apparent, but dust and dirt build up on surfaces over time. Scrub down the face of the house itself, the front door and garage door, the trim, windows inside and out, and anything else you can think of. If you have access to a pressure washer, you can do wonders for your driveway, walkway, and porch/deck (even if you don't readily have access to one, they're not too expensive to rent.) A thorough scrub can give your house a fresh, bright look that will stand out to buyers, even if you don't think the dirt is visible right now.
Paint and polish
Now that you've cleaned just about everything, see what needs to be repainted. If you're repainting the face of the house, be sure to avoid vibrant, non-traditional colors. A uniquely-colored house can lose value if it stands out too much in relation to its competition. That said, a bright splash of color for the door, or perhaps some brightly-colored deck furniture, can make the home seem more inviting (though it may not necessarily increase the value.) If the mailbox, the address numbers, the light fixtures etc. aren't shabby enough to replace, but have faded a little bit, you can spruce them up with a new coat of whatever they were colored/polished with before, or maybe something new. If you have a fence encircling your front yard, or porch/deck railings, make sure those are in good repair and give them a fresh coat of paint as well.
On the house
The roof is often overlooked by the occupants of a house, so there can be problems that slip under the radar. Make sure nothing is stuck on the roof, the shingles are all in their proper place, and so on. You may find it worth your while (and your money) to have a professional roof cleaner give your roof a good makeover. Home assessors and prospective buyers alike will notice if there's a poorly maintained roof on your house.
If you already have intricate landscaping (more than just grass) in your front yard, make sure any bushes and trees are pruned, groomed, and healthy. Make sure the grass is well fed. Cover any dead patches in the lawn with seed and/or new sod. Remove any overgrowth and mow the lawn regularly. Adding a new mulch to your flower beds, something dark or reddish, will give your beds a fresh, healthy look. If you need to replace your flowers, plant colorful ones that will brighten the yard. Adding landscape lighting, wired or solar, can both improve the safety of the yard and make it more visually appealing.
Add any finishing touches you like, such as simple water features, sculptures, metal cutouts, wind chimes, and other outdoor artwork. Making sure the shutters and curtains are open in all the windows will make the house seem more open and welcoming. If you're up for a slightly more intensive DIY project, you can build planter boxes for your windows. The goal of upping your curb appeal is to give potential buyers a sense of what the interior of your home is like before they ever step inside. Using these tips, and a touch of your own style, you can make your house stand out from the competition and get buyers' attention, and possibly end up selling your home much sooner.