If you wince at the thought of your home’s curb appeal, it might be time to implement some DIY improvement ideas. The exterior of your home is the first impression potential homebuyers will have, so you want to make it positive and inviting. Here are some easy do-it-yourself curb appeal tips that will help wow buyers before they set foot in your home.
1. Walk around the outside of your home.
As homeowners, you probably walk from your mailbox to the front door—or from your garage into your home—day in and day out. But homebuyers’ eyes automatically turn to the small details: landscaping, grass, walkways, front entry, lighting, and the exterior appearance of a house for sale. This means you, the seller, must fully walk the circumference of the home and take note of all the areas that need attention.
Stand across the street and look at the big picture of your home’s curb appeal. It’s important to see your home as a prospective homebuyer might see it on his or her first visit. Note landscaping that needs to be trimmed and investigate your mailbox and the sidewalk or driveway leading to your property for cracks, weeds and unsightly debris.
2. A little paint goes a long way.
One gallon of paint can make a big difference when you’re looking for front yard curb appeal tips to transform your home. Go ahead and choose a bold color that will make your house stand out from your neighbors’ homes if you like, but make sure the color you select is in line with current Homeowners’ Associations regulations, if applicable. Consider a contrasting color to paint your home’s trim, doors and shutters.
Painting your house is an affordable project, as paint costs about $25 per gallon, but it can be time-consuming. Depending on the size of your home, set aside at least two full days to paint.
3. Plant a tree.
If you want your house to feel more welcoming to potential homebuyers, consider planting in the yard. This curb appeal idea is a simple project that adds life and longevity to your home.
If you have enough space, you can plant two trees that will frame your house or your entryway. Planting trees takes only a couple of hours, and many times you can find trees available for about $50.
4. Add flower boxes.
A quick, easy, low-commitment way to bring color to your home is by adding flowers. Flower boxes in your home’s windows or on the front porch will bring loads of curb appeal and delightful colors. Flower boxes are relatively affordable. You’ll also need to purchase soil and, of course, the flowers. Plan to water your flowers and maintain them so your home looks its best while it’s on the market.
5. Ensure walkways, sidewalks, and hardscape areas are clean.
While it’s easy to only focus on the landscaping or “softscape” of your home, don’t forget about the hardscape areas such as the concrete driveway and walkways. Use a pressure washer to clean off dirt and grime from your walkways and give them a fresh new look. Ensure paver stones, stepping stones or bricks are securely in place and create safe footing for pedestrians walking to and from your home.
6. Visit your local home improvement store for advice.
When it comes to landscaping and improving your home’s outdoor surroundings, it is easy to get overwhelmed by which plants to choose for the different areas of your home, and what shrubbery varieties will thrive in your geographic location. Look to your local nursery for advice on what might work best for your space.
While hiring a landscaper or a gardener is another option, getting the job done on your own can save you money. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance on choosing the right plants, how best to fertilize your lawn, and how to lay down groundcover such as mulch or gravel. Remember, there is a wealth of information waiting for you just around the corner at your local home improvement center.
7. Light up your exterior.
New light fixtures can quickly update the look of your home and amplify your curb appeal. When you buy new fixtures for your house, consider function as well as style. Make sure to choose lights that will provide adequate light for your entryway. For easy installation, choose fixtures that mount to the wall the same way as your existing fixtures.
8. Upgrade your mailbox.
Whether you have a regular mailbox that stands by the road or you have a box mounted to your house, making this easy upgrade is a way to show buyers that you care about details. In fact, a mailbox can sometimes be a deal breaker when it comes to a home’s curb appeal.
The best part: it’s a project that won’t break the bank. New mailboxes range in price from $20 to $100.
“When you install your mailbox, make sure that you are following the regulations that are set forth in the city that you live in,” recommends Tiffany Bell of DIY Network. “If you have a simple mailbox mounted on your house, this home improvement project should take less than an hour to complete. If you have a full-size mailbox at the road, plan for at least 2 hours or so to complete the home improvement project.”
9. Create a front entry that invites buyers inside.
Once you’ve tackled the main vistas of your home, it’s time to turn your attention to your front entry area. This includes your front stairs, railings, porch, door, address numbers, and lighting. All of these factors should be inspected for disrepair.
Consider adding a new coat of paint or wood stain to your front door and polish or replace metal finish door hardware. Fresh cushions on your garden furniture and a new welcome mat can add color to your porch and welcome potential homebuyers without breaking your wallet. Lastly, hanging plants or placing beautiful potted flowers at your front door will create a welcoming ambiance before buyers open the front door!
10. Add new house numbers.
Nothing dims the light on a house search faster than the potential homebuyer not being able to find your house. If your house has faded numbers, or if the house numbers on your house are out of style, it’s time to purchase some new ones to boost your home’s curb appeal.
To really catch the eye of a homebuyer, look for modern house numbers made from aluminum, brass, or even steel. If possible, this finish should match the finish on your home’s exterior light fixtures.
This spring, dust off the excuses as to why you can’t perfect the curb appeal of your home. Homebuyers are back in the market for homes, and yours could be the next one they walk through. Use these helpful curb appeal tips to offer a house that buyers will fall in love with instantly.
Get Inspired: 9 Curb Appeal Projects that Cost Less than $75
Editor’s Note: Updated 6/12/20 from an article originally published 4/23/14.