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Increasing Your House's Curb Appeal on a Budget


Home buyers form opinions within the first few moments they arrive at a property. When your house fails to impress, you could lose thousands of dollars on their offer, if they even stick around. Real estate agents and home staging experts offer six tips to quickly and inexpensively get your home’s exterior up to par:

Paint your front door.

Even though home stagers lean toward neutral colors for the inside of your house, a fresh pop of color on your front door can make your property stand out. This holds especially true for neighborhoods with multiple listings. Your agent and your prospective buyers can more easily recall the “house with the red door.”

Accent your outdoor lighting.

Since many of your prospective buyers will check out your home at night, spruce up your property’s accent lighting. Replace aging or rusting light fixtures with updated accent lights. Use inexpensive solar LED spikes to illuminate the path from the sidewalk to your door. Tasteful exterior lighting shows a touch of class while emphasizing personal safety.

Triage your front lawn.

An untidy lawn can shave thousands of dollars from your buyers’ offer. Scour your front yard for debris and trash, then rake any excess leaves. Mow the lawn, then cover any sparse patches with strategic mulch or sod. Some designers recommend planting a container garden near your porch or along your sidewalk to draw attention away from the rest of a lawn in poor condition.

Discard outdated appendages.

Rusted metal sunrooms, broken iron railings, and drooping gutters can all distract buyers from your home’s overall value. If something’s dangling from your house, rip it down. Your buyers are already planning to reduce their offer to cover their perceived cost for tearing those items off the walls themselves. Doing it for them will get you to the closing table faster.

Wash everything.

Rent or borrow a pressure washer, then scrub your entire exterior. In most cases, you’ll achieve the same short term effect as adding a coat of paint, but with a fraction of the effort. Pressure wash your sidewalk and driveway, too. Caked-on dirt and debris on paving stones or steps can give buyers the impression that your property needs more care.

Put everything away.

Just as home stager would urge you to declutter the inside of your home before your first showing, convince yourself and your family to get rid of extra items laying around your property. Keep kids’ bikes and toys out of sight, since they prevent prospective buyers from imagining their own lives taking place in your soon-to-be-former home. An inexpensive shed or garden box can store tools and hoses away from view, while enhancing the look of your exterior.

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