There's usually at least one home in every neighborhood that looks so attractive you can't help but slow down and swoon each time to walk or drive by. On the flip side, there may be a few that force you to look away in horror. (Sorry, neighbors.)
It's a fact: Curb appeal can make or break your home. So, it's no surprise that a house that makes you want to move right in before you're even past the mailbox not only commands a higher selling price but also sells faster.
Whether it's the perfect paint job, meticulous landscaping, or a combination of these and other factors, some homeowners will go to extraordinary lengths to create the "wow" factor necessary to woo would-be buyers.
Let's look at the ways you can boost your home's curb appeal.
1. Freshen up the facade
Nothing improves the look of your home faster than a power washing, fresh paint job, or new siding. Depending on your budget and how desperately your place needs a facelift, consider one of these options and see if your home doesn't look as good as new. Need more incentive? An exterior paint job can potentially increase the value of your home from 2 to 5 percent, according to Consumer Reports.
2. Roll out the green carpet
Think of a sweeping green lawn like a lush welcome mat. It's just that inviting. If you've noticed some weeds or bare spots, it's time to put your green thumb to work. Especially in good weather, your lawn is an extension of your home, providing a wonderful space to enjoy both recreation and relaxation. If your grass has gone to seed, consider rolling out some sod, which serves as a fast solution to your lawn dilemmas. Not sure about the effort or expenditure? Consider this: According to The Lawn Institute, a well-maintained lawn increases a home's property value by 15 to 20 percent.
3. Trim those hedges
Your grounds needn't rival the Gardens of Versailles, but ensuring that they're well-kept goes a long way toward creating an overall appealing look. Scraggly shrubs and bushes that have seen better days detract from your home's appearance. Be sure to prune overgrown hedges and remove and replace anything that's dead, as it can also be a fire hazard in some areas.
4. Spruce up the fence
They say fences make good neighbors, but they're also great for adding privacy while keeping kids contained and pets on your property. Depending on the material you select, such as wood, cast-iron, or concrete versus chain-link, a fence will add value during an appraisal. If you already have one, be sure it's in the best shape possible.
5. Raise the roof
You want your home to dazzle from top to bottom. If your roof is in bad shape, it's not only going to drag down the look of your home, it's also going to bring down its value while possibly making it less energy-efficient. According to Remodeling Magazine's 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, a new roof boosts a home's resale value by a national average of nearly $12,000. Not too shabby!
6. Add a pop of color
Now that you've taken care of the major items, it's time to get creative. Ornamental plants provide a welcome burst of color and add interest and intrigue. This is a homeowner's chance to show a little personality. Pick plants and flowers that fit your lifestyle, terrain, and budget. (Then, don't forget to water them!)
7. Light it up
Strategically-placed outdoor lighting allows you to show off your home's best features. It also offers safety to family members as well as guests who come and go after the sun sets. If you're interested in keeping electricity costs to a minimum, look into solar lighting.
8. Pave the way
Though most of the time it's simply a place to park your car, your driveway can up your curb appeal if it's in tip-top shape. Asphalt makes it easy to plow if you live in a climate that gets plenty of snow. Homebuyers with young children love it as a spot to let kids play basketball, scooter and skateboard, or create a masterpiece with sidewalk chalk. If you have the means, upgrading to pavers adds an elegant touch that will truly make your home stand out.
9. Don't forget maintenance!
Whether you're hoping to put your home on the market or plan to stay put permanently, increasing your curb appeal is always a good idea. So, if you've made improvements, stay on top of them. Small things like a missing shutter or a loose gutter rob your home of its chance to live up to its true potential. Plus, when you stand back and admire your property, you'll remember why you feel in love with your home in the first place.