Spring is almost here. Start Planning Curb-Appeal Improvements.

As seen in the Edwardsville Intelligencer's "Real Estate Matters" column.

Springtime is right around the corner, so now is the time to give the outside of your house the curb appeal that home buyers are searching for in a new home. There is nothing more important than a first impression when it comes to selling your home, so let’s make sure your street view is every bit as aesthetically pleasing as the inside of your home. Most homebuyers in today’s market discover houses they like online and immediately want to drive by for a visit.  Therefore, it’s crucial to have the front yard, entry way, and driveway ready to entice potential buyers. There are many ways to give your house a homier and inviting look without breaking the bank. Here are some ways to improve your home’s curb appeal, ensuring it won’t last long on the housing market.

First, it’s important to assume the role of the buyer when deciding which parts of your house’s exterior need to be replaced, cleaned up, or repaired. While it’s sometimes hard to be critical of the house you’ve called home for many years, it’s important to make sure the outside of your home is a strong representation of what’s inside the front door. Grab a notepad and paper and thoroughly examine the outside of the house in both day and night time.  It’s important to make sure there isn’t paint chipping on the house or shutters, weeds are pulled, the landscaping is tidy, and your front porch is providing a warm, welcoming touch. Create a list of ways to improve your home’s exterior features that will give it the image of being well-maintained, unique, and a great place to live.

One highly recommended tip to clean up your home’s exterior is pressure washing the sides of the house, driveway, porch, deck, garage, and walkway. If you don’t own a pressure washer, they can be rented for the day at any local home improvement store. This is a cost and time effective way to see immediate results, and give your home’s exterior the deep cleaning it needs to be open house ready.

Now that the exterior of your home is clean, it’s time to add simple additions to the front porch that are sure to impress potential buyers. There is no need to repaint the entire house, but painting the front door is a small project that can give the home a whole new look. It’s important to keep in mind the colors of the house’s exterior and shutters before picking out a new color for the door. A freshly painted front door adds contrast to your home and gives it a unique touch that’s different from other homes in the neighborhood. Just keep in mind all the key preparations necessary before painting, so the future owner has a beautiful welcoming front door that will last for many years to come.

There are several other ways to add color and charm to your front porch that provides the perfect entry way to your home. Having a nice array of plants on the front porch can brighten someone’s mood before stepping in your freshly painted front door. Flower boxes are an inexpensive way to add a colorful, unique feature to the front windows of your home. Fill each box with your favorite flowers and you will instantly add color to your porch without any sort of clutter. If your porch has available space and you want to show off your creativity, fill a large pot with vegetable plants, herbs, and other plants such as lavender. Potential buyers will then walk up to a small farmers market full of beautiful flowers, garden veggies, and smells they will be remembering once they leave the house. Other easy additions to your front porch could be purchasing a friendly new welcoming mat, or replacing old and faded house numbers. These easy and inexpensive touches are sure to make a great first impression on open house guests or a potential buyer driving by taking a first glance at your home.

Giving your house added curb appeal also means finding ways to differentiate your home’s exterior from other houses on the market. Your real estate agent knows exactly what buyers are searching for, therefore can provide tips to highlight your home’s already strong features. They might suggest investing in a new mailbox, giving your house instant curb appeal, while most houses in your neighborhood suffer from having the same standard mailbox. Also, don’t underestimate what investing in new outside lighting can do for a home’s curb appeal. We have all driven by a house that has elegant, outdoor lighting which perfectly highlights all the unique features of the home. Consider adding new exterior lighting to your walkway, patio, and driveway, ensuring your home’s curb appeal is never lost at night.

Now that spring is approaching, nobody wants to always be cooped up inside their homes. If your deck, porch, or backyard has room, maximize your curb appeal by giving future residents the outdoor living space they are seeking. These additions might be a more expensive way of adding curb appeal, but could be the difference in a buyer choosing your house over others. Ideas could include purchasing an outdoor dining table and fire pit, perfect for hosting barbeques for friends and family. Another idea might be installing a pathway leading out to a bench near your garden, creating peaceful outdoor seating. If your front porch has available room, adding rustic rocking chairs will give your house a new look, while offering comfy seating perfect for relaxing after a long day at work. By adding outdoor living spaces or making existing outdoor spaces more comfortable, your buyer will feel like your home has so much more to offer than just a carefully decorated interior.

Real estate agents tend to agree that having strong curb appeal is one of the best ways to get your home sold fast. Home buyers are looking for a home with a nice front yard, an inviting and tidy front porch, and an exterior that does not appear rundown and in need of repair. Now that spring is almost here, don’t wait too long before starting the home improvement projects that are sure to improve your home’s curb appeal.

 

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Julie Plummer Lading is vice president and managing broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties in Edwardsville. Elite Properties serves Madison and St. Clair counties, offering 50 real estate professionals ready to help you buy or sell a home. To start your search, visit www.bhhseliteproperties.com  or call (618) 655-4100.

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