When it comes to selling a home, first impressions make a huge difference. And sometimes, you only have one shot to convince a potential buyer to take a look at your home and step inside it. You want your property to have a “wow” factor to entice them to inquire further. This is why it is important to know how to add curb appeal to your house.
Curb Appeal is a popular word used in the real estate business to describe the feeling that someone gets when they drive up to a home. We thought we would help you with some ideas of how to add curb appeal to your Seattle area home.
Next time you are driving up to and parking in front of your house ask yourself, "does the curb appeal make the home feel warm, stylish, and inviting... or perhaps the opposite".
1. CLEAN WINDOWS
When you are deciding how to add curb appeal to your house you have to start with cleaning your windows.
For around $20 you can get an exterior window washing kit and transform the look of your curb appeal by giving your windows a good scrubbing. Let those windows sparkle and let that sunshine light up the house.
Skip the Windex and ladders and learn how to wash your windows like a pro.
2. PRESSURE WASH EVERYTHING
Here in the Pacific Northwest you should probably just add pressure washing to your list of things to do each spring.
We recommend that you hire a licensed and bonded professional to clean your roof. Not only is pressure washing your roof dangerous but if done incorrectly you can do more damage than good.
Your goal with your roof is to remove all the moss, any debris that may have fallen over the winter season, and clear the gutters.
Don’t forget to pressure wash your deck, patio, walkway, and driveway. Again, we caution you to be very careful pressure washing… if you use a hard pressure you can damage materials.
If you have vinyl or aluminum siding you may want to pressure wash the house as well.
3. CLEAN AND REPAIR (OR REPLACE) ROOF GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS
See above, pressure wash everything. After pressure washing your roof and gutters if you notice that any shingles are missing, cracked or bent or any gutters are pulling away from house, bent or cracked, rusty or peeling you may need to have them replaced.
Make sure that all the parts are fitted to together and that the system is draining properly. If you notice any leaks while pressure washing consider replacing the leaking parts.
4a. GUSSY UP THE DRIVEWAY
See above pressure wash everything. Once the driveway is clear of debris, moss, weeds and grasses, and oil stains you are going to want to fill in any cracks in the driveway.
Installing a border along the driveway gives it a crisp, elegant look. You can use bricks, pavers, and stone to get your driveway to really pop. We recommend keeping the edging level with the lawn for easing mowing and maintenance.
4b. BUILD OR UPDATE YOUR WALKWAY
A well placed and well-built walkway can make the home feel inviting and complete.
If you have a straight concrete walkway consider having it removed and replace it with a contouring brick paver walkway.
You could also update your current concrete walkway and patio with a decorative concrete overlay.
Either option will produce a striking improvement to your homes curb appeal.
Make sure that at a minimum you pressure wash your existing concrete walkway, or repair any damage to your current paver walkway. Pull all weeds and fill in any cracks. Put a nice edge line between the walkway and the lawn.
5. Dress Up The Front Door
Your front door is the focal point of curb appeal. You can choose to make a statement by giving the door a splash of color. But at least make sure that it is painted and in good repair.
If you need a little help deciding what color you should paint your front door check out this "Choosing Color Guide" by Better Homes & Garden.
You may also choose to go with a custom wood door and stain or perhaps a custom steel door.
Make sure the door is clean and consider hanging a swag or wreath that accents the house.
6. REPLACE FRONT DOOR LOCK AND HANDLE
The first thing that a potential new client is going to touch in your home is the front door handle. Make sure that the metal is up to date, like a brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze, matches the rest of the hardware, looks strong and safe and opens and locks securely. Consider upgrading your lock for a key-less entry system.
Ensure that there are no gaps around the door and the weatherproofing is complete. There is a good message conveyed about a house when the front door feels firm, the latch secures easily, and the door seals when it is shut.
You may want to add a stylish doorknocker to add style and coordinate with your homes finishes.
7. RAKE YOUR YARD
Be sure to get rid of dry leaves, debris and any other clutter on your grass.You may be inclined to start raking the moss out of your yard. Now is not the best time for this as it will leave your yard bare and brown.
8a. GIVE YOUR HOUSE NUMBERS A FONT UPDATE
The numbers on your house are probably in need of an update. Be sure to pick a nice sans-serif font and try to pick a finish that matches the other exterior hardware.
8b. UPGRADE YOUR MAILBOX
Whether your mailbox is attached to the house or hanging in the front yard a new mailbox can add to your curb appeal. The mailbox should compliment the home and add character.
Make sure that along with buying a new box you paint the post to match, or consider trimming it in the same accent stones you used for the house.
9. REPAIR OR UPDATE YOUR EXTERIOR HOUSE LIGHTS
If you have taken the time to update the hardware on your porch it may be a great time to update your porch light and other exterior lighting fixtures. There are many stylish new styles of exterior home lights to choose from and they should be pretty easy to exchange.
Make sure your current house lights have matching wattage bulbs, and are clean and in good working condition.
10a. COVER UP DEAD SPOTS
In the Pacific Northwest we often suffer with too much shade, too much moss, or too much water that leaves us with bald spots in our lawn.
You can try to repair the dead lawn, lay some sod, or consider turning the area into a raised bed and plant some shrubs and flowers.
Consider planting flowers and laying beauty bark down at the base of trees. For a dramatic effect add some edging around tree bases with pavers, bricks or stone. Making sure to stay consistent with other lawn decorations.
10b. RENEW PLANTER BEDS
Get those garden beds back into peak spring condition.
Pull dead or unhealthy shrubs, trim the healthy growth, pull the weeds, replace the dead shrubs and flowers, and a layer of beauty bark.
Depending on your budget and schedule you may want to take this time to border your beds with stone edging for a dramatic visual effect and easier mowing.
11. CUT BACK TREES AND BRUSHES
You might have some amazing curb appeal but it will not matter if no one can see it past your overgrown trees and bushes. Having overgrown trees and bushes can choke off the life of your other garden vegetation, and cuts off the light and can leave a house looking dark and unwelcoming.
If trees and bushes grow up against the house it can create damage to the house, and give pests a bridge inside your home
12a. SPRUCE UP THE ENTRY WAY
Make sure there is no clutter on the porch and every thing is clean. Buy a new entry way mat, and add a couple of flower pots.
We have talked about the door, hardware, house numbers, patio, railings, etc. But you can really get the front door to pop with a little molding around the edges in your accent color.
12b. RENEW PORCHES AND DECKS
Pressure wash everything. Check your decks and porches for any rotted wood and make sure that none of the wood is touching the ground. Ensure that the railing is well attached and secure. Make any repairs to the deck that is needed to ensure that it is safe.
If the stain or sealant is peeling or chipping you may need to add a new layer, or possibly take this time to paint the deck a contrasting color to add more effect.
HOW TO ADD CURB APPEAL BONUS TIPS
13. UPGRADE RAILINGS
Whether you decide, or need, to update your walkway and patio it may be a good idea to upgrade those black iron railings.
There are so many options for patio railings today, just make sure the color, scale, design, and materials match the rest of the homes exterior features.
If you decide to not replace your railings be sure that they are securely fastened, check for rust or rot, and consider adding a fresh coat of paint.
14. INSTALL WINDOW BOXES
Window boxes are relatively inexpensive, and you might find that the soil and flowers are more expensive than the boxes.
Installing boxes under your windows give you the opportunity to add accent colors and character to your home. You can simply paint wooden boxes, or choose a copper or iron box.
Make sure that you take care of the flowers to increase your curb appeal.
16. INSTALL OUTDOOR LIGHTING
A little solar landscaping lighting can make a huge impact on your homes night-time curb appeal and an extra layer of security.
Use fixtures to light up a tree, the walkway, the deck or patio, or parts of the house.
17. ADD CONTAINER GARDENS
Container gardens allow you to add color, texture, and life to your curb appeal quickly and without to big a hit on your budget.
You can DIY the containers on Pinterest or go buy ready-made containers from a garden center.
Arrange them in a staggered asymmetrical manner to create a dynamic feel.
19. REMOVE A TREE
If you have decided that removing a tree is how to add curb appeal to your house it can often do wonders. If you have a tree or multiple trees with limbs that are overlapping the house, blocking off the sunlight, restricting the view of the home or are just overgrown you might consider having them removed.
Removing a tree can be very dangerous and we recommend that you use a professional arborist. If you decide to DIY and the tree is big enough to cut down make sure that you remove the tree stump.
21. LAWN ART
Lawn art can give your curb appeal a quick pick me up. However, if you have too much it can make the lawn look cluttered and unkempt. Consider removing any lawn art that is broken or worn out, or reducing the amount if your yard is cluttered.
If you do not have any choose pieces that complement your home’s natural colors and elements.
22. INSTALL EXTERIOR WINDOW SHUTTERS OR PAINT EXISTING
Shutters add a layer of beauty and character and can be installed relatively easily. Shutters can be wood, vinyl, or composite, and come in many different style to highlight your homes style.
23. CREATE A NEW FLOWER BED
If you have a giant yard of grass or just grass a tree you may want to think about adding a flower bed. Add colorful flowers and different types of shrubs to give contrast, color, and depth to the curb appeal.
You can consult your local nursery for assistance in picking a mix of plant colors, sizes, and textures for optimizing your lawn.
Depending on your budget and schedule you may want to take this time to border your beds with stone edging for a dramatic visual effect and easier mowing.
24. ADD HANGING PLANTERS
The easiest way to add some pop to your curb appeal is with a few conveniently placed hanging planters. Quickly add some color, depth, and texture to your curb appea
l. You can go to your local nursery and pick up 4-8 hanging planters for around $100, add a little soil and some flowers and make sure to keep them watered.
25. APPLY STONE VENEER
Dress up exposed concrete foundations, column footings, mail box posts, or cover up old brick with stone veneer.
Stone veneer is a manufactured stone that can be easily applied over the top of surfaces. There are many types of stone veneer product that you can choose to create an amazing accent with your home.
26. UPDATE PAINT, SIDING AND TRIM
If your exterior paint is faded, peeling, or chipping… or just plain ugly, you should think about a full exterior paint job. Make sure that if are going to do the full job that you pick an inviting paint color scheme.
If you can get away with touching up a few weather-beaten areas that is great. If you take the time each spring to check for defects like, cracked or rotting material, chipping, or peeling and make the repairs as necessary you should be able to save on time and budget.
This is a great time to consider adding some contrasting trim, or shutters to bolster your curb appeal.
27. REPLACE ANY ROTTED WOOD
Sometimes just adding a coat of paint is not going to cut it. If you find real damage on your homes siding, front porch, back deck, fence or railings… you need to replace it.
28. ADD UPDATE OR REPAIR FENCING
A leaning or sagging fence line can make a house look uncared for. Make sure your fence is sturdy, clear of debris, and the gate opens and latches firmly. Consider pressure washing and re staining or painting your existing fence.
29. PLANT FLOWERS
Whether you decide to add hanging baskets, window boxes, garden containers, add them to your garden beds, plant them along your driveway or walkway, or place containers on your porch make sure you add flowers to your yard. Flowers are one of the most budget friendly high impact tools we have for boosting the curb appeal.
You can get help at your local nursery on what are the best flowers for your garden. If you stick with perennials you won’t need to replant flowers every year.
30. ADDRESS THE GARAGE DOORS
Depending on what shape your current garage doors are in and what your budget is you can create a dramatic improvement by updating your garage doors.
If your garage doors are damaged it is probably time to replace, you may want to consider this even if they are in good working order if you have outdated garage doors. The new styles really add character and style.
You can add new life to your old garage doors by painting or staining them. Replacing the old hardware and adding new accent pieces, including trim, carriage accents, or faux windows.
HOW TO ADD CURB APPEAL REMINDERS
Finish any project that you started.
Once buyers come to your home and see any of your unfinished curb appeal projects, they might think that you neglected such an important home maintenance task, even if it isn't really your intention. They might even wonder what other repair tasks you’ve left unfinished.
Pay attention to how your home looks at night.
Because some potential buyers drive by houses in the evening, you have to make sure that your home is just as attractive at night as it is during the day. The right lighting can make your home look incredible in evening listing photos, and adds security and safety as well.
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.
Stand outside your property and look at it as if you were the potential buyer visiting for the first time. Tour around and take note of your first impression of the house and yard. Does it look clean and tidy? What’s the first thing you noticed about the property? What makes it attractive? What could be improved?
Together with your realtor, look at how to add curb appeal to your home with a fresh perspective so you can work on the areas that need to be improved to entice more buyers to look at your property and submit an offer.
Even the smallest things make a big impact.
If you think you can’t make improvements to your home’s exterior because of a tight budget, don’t be discouraged. Buyers pay attention to even the smallest of details. This is why simple tasks such as decluttering your yard, hiding the trash cans and other eyesores, updating your mailbox, or repainting the fence, could make a huge impact on your home’s curb appeal.
HOW TO ADD CURB APPEAL CONCLUSION
We are not suggesting that you take on each of these tasks before you can sell your house. It is just a list of items that you can use as a guide to take a big picture look at your homes curb appeal and then make the changes that will be most beneficial to your home.
At a bare minimum we suggest that:
- The landscaping be kept up, lawn mowed, weeds pulled, bushes trimmed, edged, and debris cleared.
- Unpainted, chipped or peeling paint needs to be repaired
- Any broken or unsightly railings, fencing, or decking should be repaired
- Everything should be pressure washed
- Plant some flowers around the yard and on the porch
- Clean your windows
Did we miss any suggestions for how to add curb appeal? Please comment below.
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