Exterior Curb Appeal – Quick and Cheap
There is several quick and inexpensive ways to improve the curb appeal of your home. The initial impression of any home, from the street, is an important aspect of selling the home. In many cases, the Realtor indicates, “ Not a Drive-bye “ / Hopefully by using some of these suggestions, this comment will not be required, when you place your property on the market.
I have always been amazed at the lack of insight demonstrated when I look at local Realty Books and brochures showing a photo of the front of the home. Even of greater annoyance is some of the interior photos shown on the internet, where common, everyday visual observances tells me the home is not well maintained, the owners have no common sense for cleanliness, etc.
Here are some very BASIC strategies for presenting your property, in the most pleasing manner possible, without expending considerable time or money.
- Mow the lawn / keep the exterior landscaping of the home maintained. There is no immediate need for adding expensive additional landscaping, walkways, retaining walls, etc. Simply mow the lawn and TRIM. Buy yourself an inexpensive trimmer and use it. You will be amazed at the added presentation appeal a well mowed and trimmed exterior makes.
- Trim the hedges, shrubs, trees, etc. Trim all the foliage around the home to eliminate any overgrown impression or claustrophobic impact by the exterior foliage on the home itself. Overgrown is NOT an impression you want to leave with a potential buyer.
- Do not prune or cut the foliage to an extent that exposes the woody trunks of shrubs, etc., a surface trimming is preferred.
- Sweep the drive and walks / either buy an inexpensive blower or, yes, even a broom. The use of these extremely simple tools will make the presentation, clean, orderly and will give a significantly positive image to buyers.
- Sweep and clean the sand and road dirt from the front of the home. Remember that the presentation of the home starts at the curb where the roadway passes by. Clean and neat is the presentation needed to immediately show concern and maintenance.
- Make yourself a compost pile / what is a compost pile? A compost pile will be presented as a separate discussion within this website, but for this topic, it is simply an organized, neat and tidy pile of leaves, old vegetables, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc. Locate this compost pile in an out of the way place, in the yard. The existence of a compost pile will exude concern for the environment that will inspire a positive impression of the owner by the buyer. This is a simple way to indicate, you care.
- Clean the gutters and the downspouts / nothing shows a buyer that the owner is conscientious with the upkeep of the property than clean and well-kept gutters and leaders. Purchase inexpensive splash blocks, and install at the base of all the downspouts. This will give the impression of organization and environment sensitivity.
- Rent a power washer for the weekend. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt and grime a simple power washing of your home and walks will remove. You will also be immediately satisfied at the result, as my wife always indicates, immediate satisfaction is good for the soul!
- Power wash the roof if there are tree stains or acid rain discoloration. A simple power wash, from the top down, not the other way, will normally clean the roof of ugly stains and tree discoloration. Be careful not to power wash up the shingles, always down, to ensure that there is no uplift.
- If there are any lifted or curled shingles, the application of mastic under the shingle with the positioning of a weight on the top will allow the shingle to flatten and stay adhered down. This should be done when the shingles are warm and pliable, however, the movement on a shingle roof, in the sun, must be done extremely carefully and with caution, as not to further damage the roof.
- Mulch the perimeter of the home, the planting beds, as well as around all the major trees. The simple process of installing a nice organized mulching mound around all the major trees and shrubs will give the impression of a “ landscaped exterior “
- Paint anything of landscaping significance that you have located around the home. That old picket fence in the backyard that has always been there. Paint it white! You will again be amazed at the positive presentation this simple paint job will give.
- Removal of deteriorated caulking around windows and doors and the reapplication of sealant will provide a cleaner more maintained presentation.
- Removal of insect nests, droppings, and dead insects from window screens, on top of all window and door pediments, etc. will present a more maintained appearance.
- Removal and replacement of rotten deck boards, balustrades, handrails, etc. and repainting of same, will show maintenance and upkeep.
- Removal of old playsets, old bird baths, religious statues, trellises, sand boxes, etc. will clean up the exterior, making the yard appear larger and easier to maintain.
- Hide the garbage cans, in back of a shed or foliage. Do not have the garbage cans in full view of the inhabitants of the home.
- Clean the animal droppings ( dog, cat, other ) from the yard. Do NOT make a pile alongside the yard or in the woods that is directly visible to the inhabitants of the home.
- The application of clean gravel or pea stone in areas around the driveway or walkways is a quick and inexpensive way to cover bare spots and the typical perimeter areas that have never had grass or plantings. A covering of clean stone is, in many cases, a much better presentation than bare earth.
- Use landscape timbers to designate the perimeter of drives, walks, gardens, etc. These can be simply installed on the surface and they present, again, the organized, maintained impression of a caring household.
- Install a garden hose rack, purchase a new, clean hose and nozzle and neatly loop onto the new hose rack. This will give the impression of maintenance and organization.
- Use the garage; pull as many vehicles into the garage as possible. A home with several automobiles in the driveway does not present itself as cleanly and organized as either, no cars in the driveway, or one at the most.
- Make sure all the window treatments in the home are positioned appropriately. If the shades are half down, make sure all the windows have shades, half down. Make sure drapes and curtains are closed or pulled to the side in uniform fashion.
- In the evening, put the lights on in the home. A well-lit home presents itself much better in the evening, than a dark, uninviting home.
- Change all the light bulbs in all the exterior spotlights, porch lights, pole lights, driveway lights, etc. Turn all the exterior lights on each evening.
- If there is landscape lighting, replace the bulbs and check the timing devices on all the lighting to ensure that they are on at dusk.
- Purchase inexpensive spots and plug them into exterior outlets to illuminate the front of the home. A front lit home presents itself extremely well from the street.
- Paint the mailbox and make sure that the address of the home is clearly and easily read.
- Add inexpensive annual plantings along the walkways entering the home. Hang plants on the porches and install window boxes if the opportunity is available. The beauty of flowers will inspire the buyer and present a very positive appearance.
- If the backyard has open area, purchase an inexpensive fire pit, position exterior chairs around the pit, whether you ever used one or not, the young people love this.
- If there are rock piles or rocks in the woods, etc., pile them up in a fashion that appears to present a stone wall. Most buyers enjoy the look of a fieldstone wall and the accuracy of the “pilling “is certainly not normally criticized. Of course the planting of annual flowering plants within any type of planting bed is beneficial to the appearance of the exterior.
- Inexpensive bird feeders, installed in sight of the deck and the windows of the house gives an impression of concern for nature and a favorable impression of the home and the sellers.
- If you have a charcoal grill, exterior fireplace or fire pit, burn hickory sticks or Adler to create a very homey and warm smell that emanates throughout the exterior areas of the home.
- Exterior candles on the deck will also provide a similar atmosphere.
- If there is a garden, try to maintain the garden and if the season is right, place vegetables, fruits, etc. on the deck or porch to offer again the homey, well established home environment.
- If you have a front porch, inexpensive rocking chairs with tables alongside presents a positive atmosphere and the feelings of hominess.
- Exterior old wooden swings or even a tire swing in the correct location will present a positive look to the exterior.
- If the exterior of the home is surrounded by woods and foliage, the simple cleaning of the underbrush and leaves will provide a larger appearance to the property and again the impression of maintenance and caring.
I will guarantee that the presentation of your home will be enhanced by the use of simple common sense. Think of yourself, on a Sunday afternoon, driving the countryside and walking into several open houses. Presentation and impression is EVERYTHING! Yes the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. is all important, but you will remember the feeling of warmth and hospitality that a well maintained home presents. This is the impression that stimulates the senses and causes a buyer to “Fall in Love “with the property and the home. Many things can and will be overlooked, but the impressions gained by a well maintained and cared for home is inspirational and should be manifested by the seller.