Curb Appeal Ideas

Curb Appeal Ideas on a Budget (Big or Small)

The key to a successful home improvement project is striking a balance between the end result and the actual investment, in particular how it translates into the real estate market.  For example, every year the real estate industry releases its list of top home renovations, including those home renovations you may want to avoid.

If money is no option, then splurging on that elaborate fountain in your circular driveway is a no-brainer.  But for most, there are certain projects that are not only expensive (like putting in an in-ground swimming pool), but also have the potential to negatively affect your home’s resale value (like adding a sunroom).

That being said, here’s a list of 8 Curb Appeal Ideas for Any Budget:

Upgrade your Front Door 

Painting your front door is one of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements you can make.  A fresh coat of paint or pop of color can make the entire home look clean and updated, amounting to a “house facelift” if you will.

For the more adventurous, you could consider replacing the entire door, but that will definitely be more of a significant investment.  To keep things more affordable, if you do decide to paint the door, you can always replace the hardware along with the color change.  Doorbells, doorknockers, doorknobs… most of these items would still be considered “low impact” from a budgetary standpoint, but they can make a world of difference to the overall finished product.

One suggestion on paint color – you can use colors, but be sure it’s not too exotic as to be a turnoff for anyone who’s not fond of the color you select.  Think colorful, but with more muted tones to achieve the desired effect.

Pressure Washing

A good pressure washer can bring new life to your siding, deck, fencing, outdoor furniture… the list goes on and on.  If you already own one, that’s great!  If you don’t, they’re relatively inexpensive to rent at your local hardware or home improvement store.  For bigger jobs, you may want to consider hiring a professional.  If you do decide to do it yourself, be sure you’re comfortable with how to use the pressure washer.  The last thing you want to do is damage the surface you’re trying to clean, so as a rule of thumb, be sure to start with the widest flow setting and work your way up from there to find the best setting.  Check out a video we did on this very topic.

Touch Up your Home’s Exterior

While painting the exterior of your entire home can be quite pricey, it’s worth it if you’re able to do so.  You can always focus on touch-ups to any areas where the paint has thinned or peeling has begun.  Peeling paint is not only unsightly, it can make buyers question what else might have been overlooked from a home maintenance standpoint and either negatively affect their offer OR even kill the deal.

When doing “spot work” like this, another step to take is to prep the surface rather than just paint over the problem.  For peeling paint, you’ll want to scrape away any bigger pieces and possibly apply some primer before painting (or use a two-in-one solution) so the paint adheres properly.

If you don’t know the exact color you may be able to take a chip into a hardware store where they can find a match.  If you’re still not sure it will match, be sure to test a small area out of view before you commit to any larger area application.

The Grass is Always Greener

They say first impressions last a lifetime and one of the first things people see when approaching your home is your lawn and outdoor landscaping.  If you have an overgrown lawn or bare patches, along with some unkempt bushes and shrubs, you’ll definitely want to address the problem.

For those who have a green thumb this list of chores is totally doable.  However, you may want to consider hiring a professional landscaper for a reasonably priced one-time cleanup if time is tight or the job is just too daunting for you.   Here’s a deeper dive on lawn care and grass to help get you started.

Some other things you can do to enhance your landscaping are add some potted plants, flower beds, flower boxes, or other greenery to really make things eye-catching and welcoming.

Roof Maintenance

Is your roof missing shingles?  Is it dirty and filled with streaks?  These may not seem like a big deal, but they can be early warning signs of bigger problems.  If you’re not up to getting up on the roof for a closer inspection, this would definitely be a job for a pro in order to determine what the root cause might be.  You see, your roof is made of several different layers of material and the problem could be occurring at any one (or multiple) of them, so just replacing some shingles might not be the ultimate solution.

Replace your Mailbox

This one may seem trivial, but a dingey old mailbox and rotted post can be an eye-sore to an otherwise nice front facade.  Most standard mailboxes are around $30 so this one is an easy, and affordable, solution to the problem.

Again, if you’re looking at it from a home selling perspective, try not to replace it with a mailbox that’s too unique or out of the ordinary.  You want your house to look shiny and new, yet neutral so a potential buyer can envision living there with their own taste and style.  Here’s how to replace the post that holds your mailbox.

Revitalize those Outdoor Living Spaces

Whether in your front, side, or rear yard, these days people are looking for more ways to expand their living space and stay outside more.  If you have a deck, consider re-staining it.  If your patio has cracks or loose pavers, consider patching or replacing.

One great way to update your outdoor living space is with some new patio furniture.  There are so many styles to choose from, so whether you’re more “meat and potatoes” or prefer something a bit more ornate, there are lots of choices.

To round out the outdoor living experience, consider adding exterior lighting to extend your time outside after dark and create a comfortable spot to hang out in.

Add a Border to the Driveway

So far, we’ve focused on those projects that are more conducive to a more modest budget or are of the DIY variety.  Your driveway, while primarily a functional aspect of your property, also contributes to the overall visual effect of your homestead.  Make your driveway stand out by lining each side with bricks, stones, or pavers… from the curb all the way up to the house.  If needed, a quick reseal will ensure those potential buyers that your listing is well maintained.