According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, based on research published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics in January 2020, a ‘study quantifying the impact of curb appeal found that the attractiveness of a home can boost its value by 7% or more’.
While it’s important to spend time decluttering and staging the inside of your home to help sell your house quickly, you shouldn’t neglect the outside. Especially if you’re looking to sell for the highest price possible.
Here are some ways to boost curb appeal and possibly elevate your home to being the most desirable on the block
1. Trim your hedges and cut back trees
You want your front yard to look well-tended when buyers come to view your home, as what they see from the outside will influence their first impression. Your garden plants are meant to enhance your home and not obscure it. Although it’s nice to have some shady trees in the front, you should cut back stray, unruly branches or overgrown hedges so that they don’t hide your house. Large trees growing close to the home can also cast a lot of shade and make the interior seem darker. You may need to hire a profession to safely trim large tree limbs back.
2. Paint your house before you list it
While painting the whole exterior of your house can be costly, if the house needs a new coat or the color is outdated, it’s a good idea to repaint. Speak to a listing agent who understands housing market trends, or a professional color consultant, before you buy paint as it’s important to understand which shades will help update your home and which shades may date it. If you don’t want to repaint the whole exterior, you can give your home a fresh, clean appearance by repainting just the trims.
3. Make your front entrance look inviting
Give your front door a coat of varnish or paint it a vibrant color and place a new welcome mat, or modern entrance mat, outside. Make sure that the walkway which leads to your front door is neat and that there are no broken pavers. Arrange plants symmetrically on either side of the front door or in an attractive arrangement on the side. Seasonal wreaths and outside decor, when done tastefully, can also add interest. Pinterest is a good place to look for inspiration.
4. Clean your windows
Whether you do it yourself or you get a professional window cleaning service, you’ll want your windows to be clean and sparkly. Make sure to clean any mold off the sidings too. From a visual standpoint it’s also a good idea to have your windows looking as uniform as possible from the outside – this could mean raising blinds to the same height or making sure that all the curtains are fully drawn back.
5. Add porch seating
If you have a front deck or porch, add some seating. You could hang a basket chair or set out some classic rocking chairs or more modern outdoor furniture, depending on the style of your home. Outdoor seating adds social appeal and if it’s positioned in the front of the house it can help to make your neighborhood look friendly.
6. Update your outside light fittings
If your outdoor light fittings are dated, replacing these is a quick and easy fix to help update your home’s look. Make sure that you’ve replaced all bulbs that need replacing too. Although potential buyers will be viewing your home during the day, if they are keen to buy they may take a drive by at night. You want all your outdoor lights to be working, as this is good for security and you want your home to appear welcoming in the evening too. You may even want to add some lighting among your plants or on the side of your walkway.
7. Add a fountain, water feature, or window boxes
Depending on the style of your home, you could add window boxes with colorful flowers planted in them. This works well on a cottage-style home and gives the house a friendly, welcoming appeal. If window boxes won’t compliment the style of your home, a water feature or a fountain can add a soothing element.
8. Replace gutters and clean your roof
If your home has an older gutter system which hasn’t been properly maintained, you’ll need to replace broken sections or consider replacing all the guttering with modern box gutters or snap-fit vinyl gutter systems. Another way of getting the outside of your house to look fresh is by having the roof cleaned by a professional.
9. Make sure your grass is green and tidy pant beds
Santa Monica has a typically dry, Mediterranean climate and keeping a lawn green requires a fair amount of water. In an area that’s water stressed some people have opted to replace their lawn with something less thirsty, like a rockery or with synthetic lawn. However, if you do have a patch of brown grass in your front yard, lawn paint can liven it up. You can buy specially formulated paints like LawnLift for this purpose and do it yourself, or you can hire a professional lawn spray painter.
Make sure that you have weeded your plant beds and add mulch. The mulch adds texture to your garden and helps the soil retain moisture and prevent weed growth.
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a good idea to chat to a realtor or to a home improvement specialist before you get started to get an impartial opinion and ensure that you spend money on the things that count and will help make your home more attractive to potential buyers.