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How to increase your home’s curb appeal

First impressions are everything! The first time a potential buyer notices your home, it will be when they drive by, stop, and take down my phone number from the yard sign, or when they see the first photo in an email that I sent to them. Maybe even on a website like Zillow or Trulia. Either way, Curb Appeal is paramount! Here are a few tips to help spruce up your home's curb appeal:

  • Conduct a Walk-around Inspection: Walk around your entire home's exterior with a critical, a notepad and a pen. Take notes on what looks "off" and needs repairing, replacing or cleaning.

  • Do a Drive-by: Get in your car and dri e corner. When you get back to your house, drive by slowly but don't pull into the driveway. Put yourself in the mind of a potential buyer that just saw the house listed on a website and now wants to just drive by to see if it's worth further investigation. Take note of the condition of the yard, house paint/siding, windows, doors & roof. Is the lawn burnt? Does it need to be cut? Do the bushes need to be trimmed? Is there any trash on the curbside? Does the sidewalk have trip hazards? Are there missing or curled shingles? Are there hanging gutters? Is that frisbee still on the roof since last year? You may not have noticed these items until now, but a potential buyer will notice it right away. Now turn around and come from the other direction. Drive around the corner one more time. This time make it a bigger circle. When you get about a quarter mile from your house, check out the neighborhood. Are your neighbors keeping up with their property. Do you see any trash on the side of the roads. This may or may not be out of your control but its good to keep in mind that this is what potential buyers are going to notice before you know that they've even considered purchasing your home. I suggest conducting these drive-bys at least once during the day, and once at night (that's 4 trips).

  • Get a Second Opinion: Homeowners often get used to certain defects like chipped paint on the front door from the keys banging against it, cobwebs on the porch ceiling, dingy house numbers, cracked or stained steps. It's a good idea to get a new set of eyes to help you prioritize what needs to be fixed and cleaned up.

  • Turn up the pressure: Pressure-washing the dirty siding and deck, as well as the oil-stained driveway and faded walkways is an extremely cost-efficient way to increase your home's curb appeal. If you don't own a pressure washer, you can rent one from Home Depot, Lowes, and some smaller home improvement stores.

  • Plant Some Color: Except for the dead of winter, some types of annual plants are always in bloom. Spruce up your porch containers, window boxes and front beds with some colorful flowers for an instant lift.

  • Open up: Fling open the shutters, curtains and blinds. Most buyers love naturally bright homes. Open curtains look great from the street. Go outside and look at your window treatments from the street, try to keep a uniform look throughout.

  • Light Up Your Landscape: In my opinion, solar light fixtures are not for every property. But it's definitely worth mentioning. Consider giving your walkway an edge with solar light fixtures. They are affordable and easy to install. You can place them where they highlight your home's best attributes like landscaping, walking paths and any custom fixtures.

  • Add Some Polish: Paint is only about $25 per gallon, and painting the front door, trim and shutters is a great way to polish the look of your home. Other inexpensive fix-ups: a new mailbox, a new porch light fixture and a cheery new welcome mat.