Updated Curb Appeal in a Weekend

In the stressful weeks leading up to listing your home for sale, there are a lot of details to attend to. Many sellers get bogged down in the process of preparing the inside of their homes for prospective buyers to tour, often because this is the most time-consuming part – clearing clutter, updating kitchens and bathrooms, freshening paint. It’s pretty easy to forget that the outside if your home is the first thing a prospective buyer will see. That first walk up to the front door will leave a lasting impression, and you want to ensure that your home leaves a welcoming and positive first impression. You’ll only get one chance for that!

Curb appeal is more than just keeping the yard mowed and the sidewalk swept (although those tasks are certainly part of the process). When you stand at the curb and look at your home, what do you see? Do you see bright, clean windows? Or do you see overgrown bushes obscuring the windows? Do you see a clean welcoming porch with colorful flowers? Or do you see a door with chipped paint and a tarnished brass knocker? When viewed at dusk, do you see lighted walkways and an inviting porch light? Or do you see cold darkness?

Creating curb appeal doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. In fact, you can take a break from your interior work, take advantage of a nice spring weekend, and spruce up your curb appeal in a single weekend on a shoestring budget. It’s all about knowing what to focus on and where you will get the best bang for your buck.

A Clean Home is a Well-Loved Home

Cleaning your home isn’t only for the inside. Have you noticed hazy windows, or greenish siding on the shady side of your home? Do you have clutter in your yard? Is your fence graying with age? The first step to brightening up your curb appeal is to start with a clean slate. Which means cleaning up your yard, the exterior of your home, tending the flowerbeds, etc. Here are some things to think about:

  • Keep the lawn mowed and free of weeds
  • Clear the weeds out of flower beds and remove any dead plants or bushes.
  • Add a fresh layer of mulch to flower beds and plant colorful annuals (if seasonally appropriate).
  • Remove clutter from your yard. A tasteful bistro table or bench under a shady tree may be ok, but if your yard is full of gnomes, gazing balls, kitschy yard art, and other clutter, now is the time to move it to storage.  This also means picking up any trash or branches that may have landed in your yard.
  • Trim overgrown bushes.
  • Clean your windows inside and out.
  • Power wash the siding, fencing, sidewalk and driveway (anything that can be safely power washed – don’t power windows, doors, painted surfaces, etc.). Power washers can be rented from many equipment rental places, if you don’t wish to purchase one.
  • Touch up paint on trim and around windows. If you have the time and can spare the expense, consider a fresh coat of paint on the porch, trim, and shutters.
  • Clean out the gutters (especially if anything is growing in them!)

Make Your Door An Invitation To Enter

Your front door makes a statement, both from the curb and up close. You can get a pretty good return on investment by replacing the exterior door with a stylish and sophisticated entryway, but it can be pricey. If you don’t have the means or desire to replace the door, you can do a lot with a coat of paint and some fresh hardware.

Paint the door in a nice contrasting color to the exterior siding and trim. Your local home improvement center is full of ideas for color combinations that work well together. Look around your neighborhood for ideas, too, if you need some inspiration, and make sure to check with HOA (if applicable) – there may be rules on colors you can use.

After the fresh coat of paint has dried, you can complete the look with some bright, shiny new hardware. In addition to the door knob/handle, you can also add a new door knocker and kick plate. Door decorations can be kind of hit or miss, but if seasonally appropriate, and nice green wreath can look stunning against a beautiful red door. In the summer time, flank both sides of the door, or the porch steps, with pots of brightly colored annuals to create a friendly, colorful entryway.

Get Creative with House Numbers

If you’ve taken care to clean and freshen the exterior of your home, then anything that looks weather beaten, tarnished, or in disrepair will look out of place. This goes even for house numbers. It’s easy to forget they are there, since they often just dissolve into the scenery when you walk by them every day. But for prospective home buyers, they are going to be looking for the numbers to confirm they have found the correct house…which means those beat up old numbers will stand out like a sore thumb. Luckily, new numbers are not expensive at all, and your local home improvement center should stock a few styles and colors to choose from, that will complement your home.

If you don’t have house numbers on the exterior facade of the house, then make sure the numbers on your mailbox are prominent and fresh. You can also add numbers in creative ways, without having to put nail holes in the side of your house. For instance:

  • If you have some artistic flair, paint a terra cotta pot in bright, colorful colors. Turn the pot upside down, and add adhesive numbers to the side of the pot. Or paint them on, if you have a steady hand. The inverted pot can then be used as a plant stand for a potted fern or other potted plant.
  • A wooden 4×4 fence post set in the ground next to the walkway or porch can provide a surface to install house numbers on. Add a hook on the opposite side to do double-duty as a hanging plant holder.
  • Use the risers on the porch steps as a canvas to add wrought iron or artistically painted numbers.

Light Up Your World

Don’t overlook your outdoor lighting when sprucing up your outdoor spaces. You can replace the porch light fairly inexpensively, with many options available at your local home improvement store. If you don’t want to go to the expense of replacing the light, you can easily freshen it up with a coat of paint for an updated look. Your outdoor lights serve many purposes, both as decoration and nighttime safety. So make sure they shine!

When you think about outdoor lighting, thing bigger than just the porch light. If you have a walkway or a pretty ornamental tree that would benefit from some extra lighting at twilight, there are some great solar options that require no wiring and no electrical no-how. Solar walkway lights and spotlights are available in many styles and colors.

If you have wired in outdoor lighting, then make sure all the lights are in working order. Fix or replace any lights that don’t work.

My team specializes in home staging and curb appeal that will really wow your buyers. We can help you make smart choices on the updates and changes that will net you the biggest bank for your buck. Let my team at Keystone Realtors® meet all your real estate needs. Paul Phangureh has over 16 years of experience in buying and selling in the Santa Clara and San Mateo County areas, specializing in the high-end, luxury market, as well as commercial and multi-use real estate. Visit our website at Keystonesv.com for listings and information. You can contact Paul at 650-924-2544, or email at paul@keystonesv.com.

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