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5 ways to add curb appeal - and value! - to your home

Posted February 6, 2020 5:00 a.m. EST

"Enhancing your home's curb appeal is like shining your shoes," added Meighan Carmichael, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston. "When a potential buyer walks up to your home, it's all about the first feeling they get - that emotional connection. Buyers will pay more for homes that they love." (Artazum LLC/Big Stock Photo)

This story was written for our sponsor, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston.

Preparing to sell your home and looking for ways to maximize your profit potential?

Michael Terbet, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston, said, "It's all about the drive up. The exterior of your home needs to pop."

"Enhancing your home's curb appeal is like shining your shoes," added Meighan Carmichael, also a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston. "You're making sure that everything is neat and clean; that the non-negotiables are in place. When a potential buyer walks up to your home, it's all about the first feeling they get – that emotional connection. Buyers will pay more for homes that they love."

So, how do you make prospective home buyers fall in love with your home, without breaking the bank? Here are five, low-cost ways to ensure a homebuyer falls in love at first sight:

1. Make it a grand entrance

Terbet says your home's entrance area is particularly important because prospective buyers linger here as agents open your home's lock box. That's why he advised:

  • Repainting your front door.
  • Displaying a wreath.
  • Adding a stylish doormat.
  • Updating hardware, such as lighting fixtures and doorknobs.

Carmichael suggested adding "some element of charm" like a front porch swing, a candle in a hurricane lantern or a couple of Adirondack chairs.

"The goal is to encourage buyers to imagine themselves sitting and staying a while," she said.

2. Tame the jungle

"Make sure that your lawn and your landscaping look appealing," Terbet advised. "Grass should be freshly cut and weeded. Reseed as necessary. Also add flowers for color and visual appeal."

The best lawn-related investment? Terbet suggested installing a fresh layer of mulch or pine straw.

"It provides a nice border and a contrast to the grass," he said. "It also helps potential buyers to take their eyes off of the lawn and any bare spots or shortcomings."

Likewise, Carmichael suggested using landscaping to screen off your HVAC system and garbage or recycling cans. "Look for clever ways to hide the stuff of daily living," she said.

3. Give your driveway and mailbox a little TLC

To make your driveway look brand new, give it a good pressure wash. Afterward, repair any cracks or crumbling concrete. And don't overlook your mailbox.

"Make sure that the post is freshly painted, the numbers are shiny, and the area around it is welcoming and appealing," Terbet said.

4. Scrub a dub dub your siding and windows

"A good exterior pressure washing can make a night-and-day difference in the curb appeal of your home," Terbet said. "It will take care of a lot of issues."

Likewise, ensure your home's windows are sparkling clean.

Terbet added that, "Since screens can make your windows appear darker or foggy, take them down and store them away until your home is sold."

5. Don't ignore the back and the sides

"Curb appeal doesn't just apply to the front of your home; it also applies to its back and its sides," Terbet said. "Do all you can to encourage potential buyers to picture themselves and their kids playing in the backyard or relaxing on the screened porch. Remember, you're not selling a house, you're selling a lifestyle."

So, how much should you expect to pay when dressing up your home for its new residents? While the investment varies from home to home and from market to market, Terbet said a $1,000 investment is the average and one that readily reaps a handsome return.

"Twenty percent of the curb appeal effort will give you 80 percent of the results," Carmichael added. "The key is picking the right 20 percent. That's where a realtor's counsel can provide real value to the curb appeal equation. Who you work with really matters."

This story was written for our sponsor, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston.