open house tips for realtors

6 unexpected ways to boost curb appeal

Bethany Ramos Cleaning, DIY, Homeowners

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Reading Time: 6 minutes
Nov. 9, 2018.

When it comes to adding curb appeal to your home, you’ve likely heard the tried-and-true advice of cleaning up landscaping, washing the exterior of your home, and adding new doors or windows. However, there are some unexpected ways you can boost curb appeal and make your house stand out from every other home on the block. Standing out is particularly important if the home is in a neighborhood with a lot of houses that look similar.

Ninety-four percent of realtors suggest you put some effort into your curb appeal before you think about listing, according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2018 Remodeling Impact report. Ninety-nine percent of NAR realtors consider curb appeal important to attract buyers, and a 2016 study published in the Journal of Property Research confirms it. When analyzing California restaurant storefronts to determine the impact of curb appeal on consumer impressions related to real estate, the researchers found that “atmospheric and architectural dimensions” can significantly and positively impact sales price. Most buyers, researchers said, are likely to be looking for cleanliness, maintenance, and safety.

Make 6 simple changes and sell your home faster

Thankfully, it doesn’t take much. Putting some extra effort into your home’s exterior can get more buyers in the door and potentially increase your property value:

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1. Add small decorative elements.

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sprigs.of.green/Instagram

If you want to add a lot of character to your home, small decorative elements add a unique touch that sets your home apart. These include features such as metal outdoor wall décor, an old fence with distressed paint, or other unique landscaping elements you don’t see just anywhere.

Consider repurposing an old pump into an outdoor water feature (which comes with an NAR “Joy Score” of 9.8 for the homeowners making the upgrade). Add plants unlike those anyone else in the area has — but which are still hardy enough for your growing zone. And, don’t forget to add decorations to your front porch. Pretend your porch is an extension of your interior, and add elements such as throw pillows, planters with flowers, and even a small outdoor rug to give it a welcoming, homey feel.

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2. Add a sustainable garden.

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lapetiteanglaise5/Instagram

One of the key ingredients to your home’s curb appeal is the yard. If you want to add a garden area to the front of your home, consider making it a sustainable garden, which is attractive to those wanting environmentally friendly solutions. Besides, a sustainable garden is much easier to care for, which may make it attractive to buyers who are busy professionals without a lot of time for upkeep.

Sustainable gardens provide nourishment to those who live in the home, so imagine some potato plants in full bloom to one side of the landscaping or a beautiful sunflower with seeds that are easy to harvest.

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3. Choose a unique color scheme.

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simplysoldaustin/Instagram

If you plan to upgrade your siding or shutters, you’re already expected to earn about a 77 percent return on your investment when it’s time to sell. Why not aim for even stronger curb appeal with an unusual color scheme?

Take the time to survey the homes around you. Are they all red and white? You should choose a color scheme that sets your house apart but doesn’t clash. For example, green might not be the right choice, but a soft buttercream gives your house a pop that makes it stand out from the other homes around you.

When selecting a unique color scheme, don’t choose something so far out of the norm that most people won’t like the appearance of it. Instead, pick something unique to your street and neighborhood, but that still has a classic appearance that appeals to the masses.

Home-sellers, we’re in your corner. Find a Cornerstone office near you.

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4. Make your front door artsy.

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katecooperinteriors/Instagram

Your front door should make a statement about your home. The great thing about doing something artistic with your front door is that it is a simple fix if buyers report they don’t like it. It’s always easy to paint back over a door that has an unusual design on it. Painting a door costs a fraction of the amount of buying a new one, and the right design makes your house stand out in a good way.

And if it’s the holiday season, lighting on the front door can amp up your home’s warmth and appeal. The NAR’s 2018 Remodeling Impact report also lists holiday lighting and decor among its top 10 outdoor projects that attract buyers and up a home’s value. In all seasons, you can create a painted design on shutters to make them stand out. This looks particularly good on adobe houses or houses with basic wood siding, as it adds a point of interest to an otherwise drab, solid-colored wall.

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5. De-clutter.

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climapod/Instagram

After years of living in a home, it’s easy to collect clutter you don’t even realize you have. Perhaps each time you’ve lost a family member, a dear friend gave you a garden rock with a beautiful saying on it. These garden rocks might mean a lot to you, but they also can create a cluttered look in your landscaping without any seeming symmetry to their placement.

If you’re planning to list your home, remove these rocks to storage and look at your home through the eyes of a first-time visitor. You might put one or two of the stones back in place, but it isn’t likely you should use all of them if you want to boost curb appeal. You should also seek the advice of your real estate professional to see what they think about the layout and design of your landscaping and whether it boosts your chances of selling your home. Well-tended landscaping has up to a 303 percent ROI.

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6. Paint concrete.

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jasonsconcreting/Instagram

Is your front porch blah or your back patio looking a bit weathered? A coat of good concrete paint in a design that matches the exterior of your home is a good idea. You can do almost any pattern imaginable, including creating a tiled design with tape and paint, a marbled look, or a pattern with stencils.

The key to painting concrete for a design that has instant appeal is to think through the colors and materials in your home and figuring out what works well with those patterns.

Boost curb appeal, bring in more buyers

These are some unique and fairly inexpensive ways to enhance your curb appeal. You’ll also want to think about investments that improve the appearance of your home and make it look better from street level. If you’re going to spend money, go for the things that have the highest return on investment. With a little tender loving care, your home will be one of the most attractive houses on the block.

Holly Welles is a real estate writer who likes to keep on top of the latest market trends. You can find her advice for new homeowners on her own blog, The Estate Update, or catch her on Twitter @HollyAWelles.

For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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