First impressions make a lasting impact. Whether you’re preparing your property to sell this spring or moving into a new neighborhood, consider the appearance of your home exterior from the public vantage point. Walk around the block and see your home with fresh eyes from the sidewalk. Stand at the foot of the driveway. How does your home attract attention? Is your entryway welcoming? Does the property appear cared for?
We’ve got 8 Easy Steps for Upgrading Curb Appeal – for home sellers and homebuyers alike. Consider each of these action items and build upon your home’s character and appeal.
1. Sweep, mow, and wash.
This may seem obvious, but it’s definitely worth doing first. Sweep out and remove dead leaves, fallen twigs and debris from walkways and garden beds. Mow the grass and cut back any dead branches. Edge the walkways for a clean finish. Then, power-wash the exterior of the house, the patio and driveway. This can all be done in one afternoon and gives a home “cared for” curb appeal.
2. Plant flowers.
Between now and the end of May in the New York region, the ground is ripe for planting annuals – the brightly colored flowers that bloom through August or September. If you’re not sure where to start, walk to the end of the property and ask, What do I want to accent? Usually, colorful flowers are planted in the edge of garden beds, around mailboxes and other yard features, and beside walkways. Interested in focusing on the entryway? Annuals also can be planted in pots and look wonderful lining porch steps.
3. Mulch, mulch, mulch.
Mulch is the gardener’s secret. This inexpensive, landscape-friendly material is a great medium for making a property look polished. It typically comes in brick-red, black, or brown and is sold inexpensively at your local hardware store. Choose one color and stick with it, putting down a blanket at least 1 inch thick in your garden beds and around tree bases. If you’re working with a budget, you can usually find ripped bags being sold at a steep discount in the garden departments. Take before and after pictures and you’ll be amazed to see how mulch can pull your home exterior together.
4. Add window shutters.
Decorative shutters come in all shapes and sizes. Though not appropriate for every home exterior, in some cases they can really add a point of interest around bedroom and kitchen windows. It’s another way to frame your home and make it more welcoming. If you have shutters already, consider a coat of fresh paint once they’re clean and dry.
5. Reinvent the entryway.
There are a lot of ways to take a front door from drab to fab. Here are a few options: Paint or replace the front door. Add decorative molding. Repair or replace the screens. Remove rust and paint handrails. Replace the welcome mat. Replace the house numbers. Paint the mailbox. Stain or paint the decking. Paint or mark the porch steps. Want more on entryways? Read more about refinishing and replacing entryway elements.
6. Simplify design.
Declutter and simplify the appearance of your home exterior. Remove excess personal touches (think lawn gnomes, wind chimes, and yard flamingos) and unneeded furniture. Remove any political signage. One or two chairs with neutral cushions and a pop of color with an accent pillow is welcoming and has mass relaxation appeal.
7. Improve Lighting.
With the widespread availability of solar-powered lighting, entryway lighting options have gotten much easier, stylish, and budget-friendly to implement. Choose sensible lighting options with purpose. Light pathways with low-level lanterns and use string lights or a single, soft overhead light to illuminate the entryway. Consider motion sensor lights if you have a long walking path from the curb to the front door. An unlit entryway is the least welcoming and unsafe appearing entryway of all.
8. Focus on Small Tasks for Big Impact.
Enhancing your property’s curb appeal will take more than a single weekend. Focus on one area at a time or one task at a time to see change in a month or so if you’re doing it all yourself. If you’re prepping your property to list, speak with a Realtor® about what is most important. Not only are they approaching the property with fresh perspective, but they’re also local real estate experts who know what buyers are expecting to see.
If you’re moving into the neighborhood and looking to make a good impression, take comfort knowing your neighbors are not expecting that your home will look perfect overnight. Homeowners understand that keeping up with property maintenance takes time. Your neighborhood will appreciate incremental improvements made within a reasonable timeframe, as long as it looks like you’re dedicating time and effort to improving curb appeal. And think about this Added Bonus: As a new homeowner, spending ample time working on your property gives your neighbors the opportunity to meet you and see that you care.
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