Hopefully Spring will show up any day now and we will be able to continue working on the curb appeal of our home. To me, curb appeal means making your home look great from the exterior, and more specifically from the front (“curb”) of your home.
Curb appeal is extremely important if you’re getting ready to sell your home because it will be one of the first impressions that you can make on potential buyers. Often in real estate, the photo of the front of your home will be the one that shows with your listing and buyers and other realtors will have to click on that photo to see the rest of your home. If your home doesn’t have good curb appeal then it is very likely that people will skip over the listing and not even bother looking at the listing information or other photos.
So, how do you get good curb appeal? The great news is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get good curb appeal. If you’re willing to put in a bit of work yourself then the following tips can be accomplished on a budget:
- Declutter and Clean. This literally costs nothing (unless you are having to pay dump fees). Make sure there is nothing unnecessary laying around, such as old planters, garbage cans, newspapers, or any other garbage. Keep your garbage cans at the side of your house in an orderly fashion or in your garage if you have room.
- Borrow or rent a pressure washer. This will go a long, long way and can make such an impact. Pressure wash your driveway, the siding of your home, and clean off any doors and windows. Just be absolutely sure you double check that all windows and doors are closed first.
- Spruce it up. As mentioned before, even with a lower budget there are things you can invest in that will help your home’s first impression. Consider changing the outdoor lights. On our porch we had builder basic pot lights and we changed them out with some simple hanging outdoor lights from our local big box store. We only needed two lights and they were around $35 each.
You could also change out your address numbers or move them to a more predominant place or put them on a plaque or a post at the end of your driveway. Address numbers can be purchased for approximately $8-$15 each depending on the style. You could also consider replacing your mailbox, doorbell, and or door hardware. Even if replacing some of these items is not in your budget then a good clean goes a long way.
Another change you can make in the lower budget category is purchasing hanging baskets. These add a nice pop of colour and can make a home appear inviting and welcoming. As well, you could consider spray painting old planters to give them new life.
- Spend some time in your garden. Personally, I find gardening therapeutic and it’s always nice to spend time outdoors getting fresh air. Before planting any new flowers, do your due diligence to remove any weeds and prep the area with a natural weed repellent. If your garden doesn’t have any flowers, you can purchase these at your garden centre for relatively cheap as well, from approximately $1.99-$4.99 per pot for basic perennials (live for only a few weeks but come back each season; e.g., tulips) or annuals (typically live for an entire season but do not return each year). When planting flowers, try to give some order and organization to your garden. For instance, plant your flowers to line the garden edge rather than randomly placing them throughout your garden and stick with all one colour or alternate colours. Also, make sure to mow your lawn and prune any hedges, trees, or vines.
- If you do have money to spend, consider the following updates: Lay new sod, paint the exterior of your home, replace or paint a fence, repave a driveway, update a porch, and/or buy a new door.
When we bought our home, we made updates over time and we continue to do so. When we first moved in we updated the exterior lights and replaced our doorbell (actually, I think my husband replaced our doorbell the day we moved in!). Over time, we updated our front porch and had the exterior of our home painted. Last summer, we pressure washed, and we will pressure wash again this spring. Each season we work in our garden by removing weeds, pruning trees, mowing the lawn, etc. And this spring we hope to expand our garden and possibly re-sod. It’s a labour of love but when you pull up to a home that you love every day it is definitely worth it. We also know there is a return on our investment and it is worth it for resale value to upkeep our home.
Fiona White – REALTOR® with Sutton Group – West Coast Realty