By Mandy Sleight
Your home’s curb appeal is the first impression others see when they pull up. There are many ways you can enhance the exterior and landscape of your home, which is especially important if you’re planning to put it on the market. These inexpensive curb appeal ideas can help make your house stand out and potentially even improve its value.
Ten ways to boost curb appeal
1. Pull out the pressure washer
In just a day or two, you can improve your home’s exterior with a power wash. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one for less than $100 a day. (If your driveway has oil stains, you might need to get a degreaser to remove those, as well.) You can pressure-wash many surfaces, including:
Curbs and driveway
Patio, porch, stairs, and walkways
Shutters and siding
2. Get plant-happy
Another way to improve curb appeal is to add more greenery, trees, or flowers. You could hire a landscaper to work on the front yard — this averages $1,500 to $5,000, according to HomeAdvisor — or spend considerably less at your local nursery or garden center. If space is at a premium, you could simply add some color with flower window boxes or potted plants along with the steps or porch. Just don’t forget to maintain what you planted so your home’s exterior looks lush at all times.
3. Refresh with paint
Spending a day or two painting can make your home’s exterior look like new, especially after a pressure wash. Painting the siding can be a costly and labor-intensive undertaking, but refreshing the front door and shutters might be enough to improve curb appeal. While the brand and type of paint and the size of your home can affect the cost, the real expense will be labor, which averages $25 to $75 an hour, according to HomeAdvisor.
4. Make the front door pop
Replacing a front door can cost upwards of $1,000, according to HomeAdvisor. If that doesn’t work for your budget, you can make some changes to the existing door to improve curb appeal, including painting and changing up the hardware. You could also add some decor, whether fresh greenery from the garden or dried florals.
5. Add house numbers
A first impression might quickly sour if it’s hard to find your home. Adding (or replacing) house numbers can help. Spend a few dollars at the big-box store or go all out for a custom plaque to help welcome potential homebuyers, friends, and family.
6. Light the way
Play up the curb appeal day and night with upgraded light fixtures, or just a simple light bulb swap for maximum brightness. If you want to replace fixtures, look for ones that have the same mounting pattern as your existing ones. Dusk to dawn light bulbs with a day/night sensor cost between $11 and $20 for a multipack. Alternatively, you could opt to get your favorite long-lasting LED bulbs, which are energy-efficient and might be dimmable.
7. Upgrade the garage door
After you pressure wash the garage door, you might realize it’s missing something. You could put on a fresh coat of paint or upgrade it for less than $50 with a decorative hardware kit. In just a few hours, you’ll have a new and improved garage door for a fraction of the cost.
8. Clear the gutters
While you have the pressure washer out, put it to good use to help clear out debris and grime from the gutters. Once the inside’s all clear, use some old-fashioned elbow grease to scrub the exterior and make it look like new.
9. Update the mailbox
Chances are you’ve had the same mailbox since you moved in. If it’s still in good shape, you could paint the post to coordinate it with the home’s exterior and add new numbers. If not, consider upgrading it for roughly $125, according to Costimates, depending on the box and post materials you choose. You could also add a flower box around the post for extra flair.
10. Take a seat
If you have the space, a strategically-placed seating area in the front yard can help augment your home’s curb appeal. Place a bench under a tree or set up a small table and chairs. Go for plastic furniture that has the look of high-end — it’s inexpensive, low-maintenance, and comes in various colors.
Why curb appeal matters
Curb appeal not only looks good; it can also attract more homebuyers. If your home is on the market, curb appeal improvements can up its value by an average of 7 percent, according to a University of Alabama and University of Texas joint study.Plus, more buyers are willing to make offers sight unseen in the current market. In fact, according to research by Clever Real Estate, 80 percent of millennials could see themselves buying a home sight unseen. So, with improved curb appeal, you might sell your home for more money (and recoup your out-of-pocket costs), and potentially draw more offers thanks to a wider pool of buyers.
This article is also posted on Bankrate here.