Boosting a home's value by improving curb appeal

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The first view prospective buyers will see in a real estate listing or when driving by a property is the exterior of the home. Curb appeal is important because it gives the impression that a home has been well cared for. By making a few highly visible updates, a seller can increase a home's value and decrease its time on the market.

Landscaping

Landscaping is arguably the most important component of good curb appeal. Keeping lawns mowed and bushes trimmed is fairly obvious, but there are also a few extras that can make a big difference. Planting flowers and shrubs around a tree or along a winding pathway will help draw attention to these attractive design elements. Installing window boxes or even just purchasing a few potted plants for the front porch are ways to use flowers and greenery to add color and interest. Outdoor lighting is a beneficial landscaping update, since homes are often shown in the evening.

New hardware

Replacing old metal address numbers, installing a fancy door handle, and purchasing a shiny new mailbox are small changes that help a home seem well-maintained. A few dollars spent at the hardware store will do wonders for the appearance of the front of a house.

Fresh paint

Repainting the entire exterior of the home can drastically improve its curb appeal if paint is chipping or the house has been painted in a color that is not universally appealing. While painting the entire house can be expensive and is not always needed, painting the front door, trim or shutters can give a home a quick and affordable face-lift. White trim will brighten a home, and a yellow or red front door can add a fun pop of color to the entrance. Alternatively, a black front door can add a touch of elegance and sophistication. Color choice is important in achieving a desired look, and there is nothing like fresh paint to make an old house new again.

Entrance décor

Adding a seasonal wreath and a fresh welcome mat can make the entrance area feel welcoming. Accessories specific to the region can help generate excitement about relocating to the new area. Some examples of regional décor are a metal star on a door in Texas, a cactus garden outside of a Southwestern home, or a nautical motif in a coastal community. Even if no specific theme is used, it is important to make sure that the front entrance looks decorated and homey as opposed to abandoned and sterile. Visiting a model home is a great way to get some tried and true staging ideas for the front porch.

Real estate studies show that investing in curb appeal really does pay off. Landscaping improvements alone have been shown to boost a home's value by 10 to 12 percent.* If a prospective buyer is not impressed by the outside of a home, they often will refuse to ever step inside. This is why curb appeal is so vital and is worth the investment.

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