Trying to sell your home? You should love the way your home looks and feels every day, but often we put off home improvements because they aren’t things we really need, only enjoy. When you start thinking about selling your home is when most homeowners start to consider home improvements they may have put off. Maybe it’s a little silly – you won’t be around to enjoy all these improvements – but it often makes good financial sense. Here are ten fairly easy home improvements that will increase your home’s curb appeal – plus a few things you should avoid when making improvements with the intent to sell.
1. Make Sure Your Yard is Maintained
If you’re trying to sell your home, it needs to look well-maintained. Realtors say that, more than making your home look more appealing, your goal should be to reduce the appearance of maintenance issues. That means mowing the yard, trimming the hedges, fertilizing, etc. Eliminate anything that might imply the house hasn’t been well taken care of.
2. Paint the Front Door
A front door says a lot about a house. Replacing a door can be expensive, but it’s usually not necessary. A new coat of paint can do wonders to revitalize your exterior. And remember like we said, you want to eliminate anything that hints at a home that has not been maintained. So if there are scuff marks or worn areas on your door it’s time to repaint. Though it’s a saying that red doors sell homes (they certainly are eye-catching), choose a color that matches your exterior. You don’t want it to clash.
3. Power wash the Exterior
It should be obvious, but not everyone thinks about this one. When your home was first built, the driveway and front walk were probably sparkling new. Over time though, dirt, car fluids, and just normal wear and tear conspire to make your driveway look a bit dull. Power washing is a great way to get the exterior looking better than it ever has been – and you can rent a power washing machine for fairly cheap.
4. Plant Some Flowers
This one is a bit season-dependent, but if it makes sense, do it. You may not be able to plant tulips in time to sell your home, but anything you can do to bring pops of color to your house will make it stand out. That means replacing bushes, freshening mulch around trees and flower beds, anything that can add punch to your existing landscape.
5. Replace Your House Numbers
It’s easy, it’s simple, it really does wonders. Make sure it’s legible from the street, appropriately sized, and fits with the look and feel of your house.
6. Add Outdoor Lighting
This is a great one, and with advancements in solar technology, easier than you might think. You shouldn’t have to run any wiring to add a few outdoor lights. Some small lights for footpaths can add a ton of interest and make those dusk and nighttime photos (you should probably have some on your listing) pop.
7. Replace Your Garage Doors
Well, now we’re getting into a little more pricey territory. But think about how much visual real estate your garage doors take up. With some houses the garage doors may be the only doors you really see from the street. If those are worn or out-of-date, you’re losing all but the budget shoppers. Some new garage doors – even custom ones – are a worthwhile investment.
8. Replace Your Grass
You knew it was coming. Yes, it’s on the higher end of this list, as far as price goes, but if you’re looking for maximum curb appeal, there’s nothing quite as trim, tidy, and maintenance-free as artificial grass. Adding in artificial grass is a great way to make sure it looks good no matter how long it’s on the market, and it should also increase your selling price due to the reduced maintenance costs. With this, you’re not only eliminating the appearance of maintenance issues, you’re eliminating maintenance. Alternatively, you could re-sod.
9. Replace Your Front Windows
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the windows are the, uh eyes of your house. If your home has front windows, consider replacing them. If your home has its original windows installed by the builders, it’s likely that they aren’t very visually interesting. This is an opportunity to add a little bit of uniqueness and personality to your home to make it stand out, while also getting to boast of improved energy efficiency.
10. Replace your Roof
Think about how much of your home’s look depends on the roof – if it’s a single story, it’s probably at least 1/3 of what you can see from the street. Yes, this is a headache, financially. But a sagging roof is a death knell if you’re trying to sell your home. You’ll likely get more return on this investment rather than selling low and leaving it to the buyer. Remember, time is worth money, and people are willing to pay for a home free from maintenance issues like these.
Avoid These Home Improvements When Selling
If curb appeal is your goal (and not the interior), avoid big expenses that won’t show from the street, like replacing the heater and air conditioning, or replacing non-street-facing windows. While people know that these are great to have, they are less visible and tangible benefits. It’s harder to sell something you can’t see, so you likely won’t get a great return on your investment with these more “invisible” improvements.
Also remember that most initial searching for home buyers is now done online, so “curb appeal” is starting to apply to the interior as well. Flooring, interior lighting – the “lipstick” of your house – are also good investments. This list isn’t comprehensive – touching up your siding and repainting your exterior are also good options.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.