Every home makeover show stresses the importance of curb appeal. They have names like Flip or Flop, Curb Appeal, Desperate Landscapers, and tons of puns on yards including Yard Crasher, Going Yard, and my personal favorite name, Yardcore. Curb appeal represents the ‘attractiveness’ of the exterior of a home when viewed from the street.
Real estate experts say the exterior appeal is just as important as the inside of the home when it comes to selling a house. You’re probably not in the market to sell at this moment, but keeping up the exterior of your home is still vital because it feels pretty darn good to pull up to the nicest house on the block.
There are countless ways to improve the exterior of your home and it doesn’t have to be an expensive process. You just need a plan, the right tools and a little free time on weekends to get a few jobs done.
Here are 5 simple ways to make your house the envy of the neighborhood without spending a ton of money.
The Power of Paint
It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can accomplish. If you’ve got the time, budget and ladders, a fresh coat on the house isn’t a bad idea. Some people think they can’t paint their house because they have vinyl siding. While it doesn’t need to be painted very often, vinyl siding can be spruced up utilizing the proper paint, like the VinylSafe line from Sherwin Williams, and it is much cheaper than completely replacing it. However, completely painting a house isn’t always necessary. Sometimes just painting the trim, shudders, and other areas will make the house look like a million dollars. Be sure to buy good exterior paint. This is one area where spending a few extra dollars can go a long way. Why paint two coats with cheap paint when you can do one with a higher quality brand? It is always a good idea to consult with the professional at the paint store on your particular project. They love talking paint, believe me.
Your home’s front entry is the focal point of its curb appeal. The entrance way to your home should look inviting to family and guests but it’s hard to keep up appearances since it is usually the most heavily trafficked area. Luckily, upgrading is easy and painless and can take fewer than a couple hours.
Grab some outdoor paint and focus on any chipped spots around the door, trim, and porch area. Painting your front door with a new accent color can also drastically change the appearance of your house. Make sure it matches your shutters, or you may need to paint or replace those as well.
Clean off any dirty spots around the door knob and try a metal polish on the fixtures. Tighten up railings and power wash away any dirt and grim left over from the past seasons. When was the last time you lifted up the mat on your front steps? Since most people don’t own their own power washer, you can rent one at almost any paint or home improvement store for about $50 a day.
Moreover, invest in a heavy duty welcome mat for people to clean their shoes off before entering the house. Leave that dirt where it belongs, outside.
Have the Best Yard on the Block
Yard work doesn’t have to be a massive chore or to take up an entire weekend. The key is to have the right tools to complete every task as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Investing in a good lawnmower, edger, rake and leaf blower can make all the difference.
If you have a larger yard and use a tractor or riding mower for these tasks, consider investing in an item like the Cyclone Rake. The Cyclone Rake is a leaf and lawn vacuum designed to save you hours of time by doing the work of a 3-5 person landscaping crew with minimal effort. It also allows you to easily compost debris to use on your garden or flower bed.
For bigger spaces, it’s far superior to other kinds of leaf equipment, such as a leaf blower, grass catcher or lawn sweeper.
Upgrade Your Mailbox
It doesn’t matter if you have a regular mailbox by the road or one mounted next to the front door, adding a new mailbox is a small touch that makes a huge difference.
If you’ve got a simple mailbox mounted to the house, a quick switch to a new model will take no time at all and will require nothing more than a screwdriver or a power drill. To save even more time, try to purchase a model that has the same hole placement as your previous version, so you don’t have excess holes visible.
If you have a full-size mailbox at the end of the driveway, plan for a little extra time to complete the project. Be sure to follow any town regulations regarding mailboxes and distance from the curb before installation.
Change Outdoor Light Fixtures
There’s nothing worse than seeing a perfectly modern home with old and outdated light fixtures. There is a very fine line between vintage and dated.
Changing the outdoor light fixtures isn’t just a cheap way to make the house shine; it can literally make the house shine. Find lighting that helps illuminate walkways and entryways for guests. If you haven’t already done so, you can also switch to energy-efficient light bulbs to help save you some money as well. The Department of Energy states that “replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $75 each year,” and they can last “3-25 times longer”. They may be a little more expensive, but they will pay for themselves.
When choosing new lightening, make sure to keep the style of the house in mind. Even if something looks good in the store or online, that doesn’t mean it will look good on your home. To save time, look for fixtures that match the mounting of the current lights. If they don’t, be prepared to do a little more patching and painting.
By implementing these 5 easy steps, you can make your home the envy of the neighborhood, and you don’t need to be these guys to get it done.