7 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal, From Budget to Big Bucks

by Yuka KatoSeptember 20, 2018

Why is curb appeal a big deal? When selling a house, estate agents will agree that paying attention to and improving your curb appeal is an invaluable exercise. The key to selling your house is to generate interest from potential buyers; by creating an enticing first impression you are more likely to get potential buyers through your door. Also, though opinions vary, improving your curb appeal can lead to a 150% return on investment or more. Below, we look at 7 different areas that will help improve your home’s exterior. If your home is well maintained, going DIY will give you results on a budget. However, some items need special care and require big bucks to spend to make the difference. Either way, you’ll be investing in more interest and a better sales price for your home.

Tips to Tip the Scale in Your Favor

1. Lead with Landscaping

Working with a budget of $500 – $3000: If you’re not shy of getting your hands dirty you can treat your landscaping as a DIY project. The most important thing is to have a plan rather than working at random.

  • Lawn: mulch, edge, feed and mow your lawn starting as far in advance as possible. A good lawn needs a year or more to get going but is irresistible when in good form.
  • Prune: cut back all old or dead growth and generally neaten up your edges.
  • Pull out: any plants that are dead or dying should be removed.
  • Clean: wash any walkways, walls, driveways or other areas that have collected dirt over the years.
  • Plant: Most of your expense will be on new plants; select some colorful annuals and perennials to plant along path edges and replace any shrubs that you removed. Add planters with bright annuals next to the front door, to draw visitors in. Also, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, planting three carefully positioned trees can save as much as 25% in energy bills annually.

Working with a higher budget of $30,000 (on a $300,000 home): The average suggested spend on landscaping is 10% of the value of your home, and experts agree this investment can add 12-15% to your sale price.

The landscaper will carefully redesign the space to draw focus to the home and its architectural elements. As well as the basic feeding and softscaping listed above, a landscaper may add, a paved walkway and lighting to add drama and even a water feature, pool and fire pit for entertaining. Practical elements like a retaining wall may be necessary to provide support for the structure of the home or prevent erosion. Even if added for purely decorative reasons retaining walls need expertise to build and come at a price.

2. Fresh Facade

Working with a budget of $2,500 – $3,000: While simply cleaning the exterior facade of your house is the most cost-effective option, no amount of washing will beat a fresh coat of paint.

When choosing your new color, go for neutrals and save the bold statements for your next home. Home buyers are attracted to whites and greys, and selecting a white/grey color for your exterior could increase your overall selling value by up to 5%.

Working with a higher budget of $4,000 – $18,000: While painting could be more than sufficient to give your house a facelift if the siding has become worn or damaged it may add more value to replace the siding entirely.

Replacing siding need not be a terribly expensive option, with some vinyl or metal finishes starting at $4 per square foot. However, moving up to the more costly brick and timber options at $15-18 per square foot, this process can end up being quite costly. Then again, with a 75% ROI estimated in the National Association of Realtors’ remodeling impact report, it may still be worth it, if neglecting to make the change decreases the chances of selling your house.

3. Do the Driveway

Working with a budget of $100 – $830: Starting with a high-pressure wash of the driveway can work wonders and will only cost about $100. The consensus is, improving your driveway will help sell your home, though may not increase the value.

However, if your current driveway is too old to simply scrub, laying a new one in asphalt is another cost-effective option. A 12’x50′ asphalt driveway will only cost $830 and will instantly add an air of fresh, neatness to your curb.

Working with a higher budget of $11,650: A brick paved driveway will add definite flair to your curb, though it can take up to 200 hours of labor, as each brick is laid by hand.

There is a wide range of colors available, so selecting your brick paver to suit the color palette of your home will be easy and add to the cohesive look. Of course, the option you choose should also be determined by which finish is used for the majority of driveways in your neighborhood. If most are paved, then asphalt may not add as much value. Likewise, if most are gravel, paving may be overkill.

4. Frame Your Front Door

Working with a budget of $150 – $300: The front door is the first hint at what lies inside the house, so care needs to be given to ensuring it is appealing and eye-catching.

Ensuring your front door is on form can be as simple as a lick of paint and replacing the accessories. Updating handles, knockers and doorbells to contemporary pieces will give the door an instant facelift. The door itself should be painted in a navy or charcoal for you to add another $1,500 to your sales price, according to Zillow’s color report.

Working with a higher budget of $2,000: If you want to really add value, replacing your front door with a steel or fiberglass option, can offer energy efficiency improvements of up to 42%, which is quite a good deal for the new owners and an ROI of 75% which is good for you.

Both steel and fiberglass doors provide improved energy efficiency, but they also offer improved longevity and resistance to temperature fluctuations, compared to a traditional timber door. Both materials offer a wide range of finish and color options, so you’ll have plenty of choices.

5. Review Your Roofing

Working with a budget of $250-650: A roof provides an interesting challenge when thinking of resale value. Apparently, the roof is one of the first things assessors will look at, and a poor roof will definitely negatively affect your house’s evaluation.

That said, a power clean may be enough if your roof is in good condition, and if some repairs are necessary, the job will only set you back around $650.

Working with a higher budget of $6,750: – If your roof has already sprung a leak, or the material has just worn with age, it may be a smart idea to replace the whole thing.

The material costs may vary, however replacing your roof probably won’t be cheap. That said, according to the NAR report, your ROI is 109%, so it’s worthwhile to consider this option if you risk getting a lower evaluation from a damaged roof.

6. Garage Door

Working with a budget of $0 – $400: When assessing the potential value of working on your garage, the location should help your choice. If the house sits above the garage, it will be more central and thus affect the sale more, whereas if the garage sits beside or away from the house it may have less of an impact.

If your garage is well maintained, a clean may be enough to bring it up to scratch. If necessary, getting your garage spray painted to suit your home’s paint job will instantly revive its look starting from about $200. Also, security has become standard when assessing garage doors so adding sensor eyes and an opening system will be a necessity, if not already in place.

Working with a higher budget of $2,300/door: Of course, the big spend is having to replace the whole door if it isn’t functioning properly or is just too old and worn.

Replacing the door will easily improve your curb appeal. Choice of color should be kept neutral, alternatively, a natural timber can also work, however, the choice should match your house’s architecture and palette. According to the NAR report, you can also expect an 87% ROI, which helps.

How Do You Choose?

To decide which areas to focus on, and which will add the most value to your resale odds, it is best to sit with your realtor or assessor and discuss the home’s key features. It can, quite simply, become a financial cost-benefit analysis; establish your budget, then share it out among the most vital areas to change; as you can see above, you can easily recoup your investments. The priority is to get potential buyers through your door and help them imagine themselves living in your beautiful home, and your efforts should even increase your final sales price.

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About The Author
Yuka Kato
Yuka writes about home improvement tips & tricks to help homeowners learn more about improving their properties. She also delivers useful cost information you can use to help improve your own home at Fixr.com.