What holds back great curb appeal? Often, it’s because curb appeal ideas sound expensive. Landscaping, repainting a home, installing a new roof… it adds up.
But there are great curb appeal ideas for every budget, even when it comes to the quick and easy ones.
Today, we’re going to be looking at curb appeal ideas that are fast and simple — even if some of them are very cheap and some of them are a little more expensive.
Let’s get started.
Curb Appeal Ideas for Every Budget
Every real estate professional will tell you the same thing: curb appeal is everything. By the time they get out of the car, many prospective buyers already know how they feel about a property.
And even though a home’s exterior doesn’t tell the whole story, it does tell a lot. Faded house numbers, brown grass, and broken siding probably indicate that no one’s been taking care of the interior, either.
As with everything, the amount you want to invest matters. It may not make sense to spend a lot of money on the house. So, let’s look at different curb appeal ideas for small, moderate, and large budgets.
Small Budget Curb Appeal Ideas
Small doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. There’s just not a lot of difference between an $800 entryway door and an $8,000 entryway door.
These small budget curb appeal ideas are aimed at the maximum benefit with the minimum cost, without reaching a state of diminishing returns. These are things you should almost definitely do before an open house.
1. Clean Up the Landscaping
Cut the grass, add some mulch, and generally clean up the landscaping. You may be surprised at how much you can do without having to do a lot. Make sure you cut back any plants or bushes that are growing close to the foundation. If you don’t do it now, an inspection will tell you to do it later.
2. Paint the Front Door
A lot of buyers look to the front door first. If you really want to woo a potential buyer, paint the front door a nice, bright color and make it look new again. You can even go an extra step and replace the front door entirely; it’s a fast process and it’s not that expensive.
3. Get Everything Power-Washed
Rather than painting your house (which can be expensive), consider getting it power-washed. A good power-wash can take a house from looking gray and dingy to looking fantastic. Just make sure it’s done by a professional. A power washer in the wrong hands can cause a lot of damage.
4. Paint the Trim
Often, you don’t need to paint your entire house to make it look better. Consider just painting the trim. Painting the trim will make the lines of your house look better and it can even make your house look very different, depending on the colors you choose.
5. Put Potted Plants Out
Plants are a relaxing decor item. And they indicate some form of maintenance, too; you’ve kept them alive, after all. Rather than installing a whole flower bed, you can instead put some potted plants out on the porch.
6. Install a House Number
You can get house numbers painted on the house or you can purchase house numbers to affix to the walls. Either way, house numbers serve two purposes: they look great and they ensure that people going to the listing can find it.
7. Get a New Mailbox
A lot of buyers pull up to a mailbox first and may start to judge the house the second that they do. A new mailbox will only be a few hundred dollars, but it can dramatically change the first reaction from a prospective buyer.
8. Change the Blinds or Shutters
Buyers can see into a property from the road. This is especially true at night when outdoor lighting is off and everyone can see into the home. Change out any damaged blinds or shutters or replace them with drapery. There’s nothing that makes a property look more “lived in” than broken blinds.
Moderately Priced Curb Appeal Ideas
Moderately priced curb appeal ideas are often where you see the most value. This is where you’ll see the best cost-benefit. But it has to be worth it to invest more money in the property to begin with.
9. Replace the Gutters
In addition to painting the trim, consider replacing the gutters. If your current gutters are dented or have damage, such as hail damage, it’ll make a buyer hesitate. They won’t just be thinking about curbside appeal; they’ll be thinking about maintenance and water damage.
10. Install a Walkway
A walking path through your front yard can be a great way to make your yard space more of your “home.” Often, a front yard can just vanish, especially if there’s minimal landscaping. Installing a walkway, a bench, and a few other items of decor can make the front yard seem more like a “livable space.”
11. Upgrade the Exterior Lighting
Often, homeowners start to use random bulbs for their exterior lights, let the exterior lighting burn out altogether, or just don’t use the lighting to accent their home. Consider adding some smart bulbs to your exteriors and controlling the color temperature of your home.
12. Replace the Garage Door
In addition to replacing the front door, consider replacing or painting the garage door. We often stop thinking about our garage door, but it’s the most noticeable aspect of our home, save for lawn care. Replacing the garage door can make an old house look new again.
13. Put in Flower Boxes or Window Boxes
Everyone loves flowers. Window boxes are great for low-effort landscaping; they aren’t as hard to develop or maintain as garden beds.
With a flower bed, you need to consider the fact that they can be so high maintenance that they can actually turn off buyers. Container plants and planters are known to be more low maintenance, so they are less likely to scare someone off.
14. Plant a Tree
If you really want to invest in your landscaping, consider planting a tree or bushes in addition to planters and window boxes.
Trees and bushes don’t require as much maintenance as flowers do and they increase property values.
15. Install New Windows
Putting in energy-efficient windows is a great way to draw in new buyers. Not only will the windows look more attractive, but they’ll also know that those windows will save them money. Energy-efficient windows are such a great selling point that they can be included in your listings.
16. Put in a Porch Swing or Bench
Like a walkway, a porch swing or bench on the front porch will make it look more like “home” and will emphasize the fact that the exterior of the property has usable space. While you usually can’t expand the interior space of a property, what you can do is make the exterior feel “livable.”
Large Budget Investments
Now we get into the real money. You usually don’t want to put too much money in a house you’re selling (there are, of course, diminishing returns). But there are some quick, easy curb appeal ideas that also cost a bit. It’s up to you whether you think it’ll sell your house faster.
17. Plant New Sod
If your grass is simply dead, you might want to roll out new sod. Rolling out new sod will make the property look great, but you do need to time it right. Often, the sod “dies back” (and browns) a little before establishing itself fully. So, you want to install sod just before a big open house, not a week before.
18. Put in Garden Beds
Garden beds and shrubs can be a great way to elevate a house, just pay attention to how high-maintenance the plants are. A perennial flower bed, for instance, is a very different thing from an annual flower bed. One will bring joy for years to come, while the other will necessitate constant trips to the garden center.
19. Re-Paint The House
Repainting your entire house can be one of the best ways to impress home buyers. And if you hire someone to do it, it can often be done in as little as a weekend.
When you re-paint your house, you make it look newer. Everyone knows that slapping a fresh coat of paint on something can restore its original luster.
20. Replace the Siding
If your house currently has siding, consider replacing it. It’ll make your house more energy-efficient and your exterior more attractive. Today, there are a lot of different types of siding with different patterns and textures, such as vinyl siding that looks like wood. A siding replacement can increase the value of a property.
21. Renovate (or Put In) a Porch
If a property doesn’t already have a porch, putting one in can attract home buyers. Pour a simple concrete porch and surround it with shrubs and flowering plants; you’ll have a relaxing, cozy space in no time.
If you already have a porch, consider enclosing it. This again creates a “livable space” that people will be attracted to.
22. Redo the Driveway
A cracked, bumpy driveway can stick into a potential buyer’s head as an inconvenience that they’re going to need to deal with every day. Consider redoing the driveway completely. If you don’t want to redo it, you can at least repair it or patch it up.
23. Place New Light Fixtures
New light fixtures and landscape lighting can also make your house look better in the dark. This is particularly useful for rural homes that may be otherwise virtually invisible at night. Consider putting in a few lighting poles or adding more lighting to your house’s exterior.
Renovating Your Home for Curb Appeal
It’s always a question of ROI. Will renovating your home make it sell for more money? Do you need to renovate your home to sell it?
In a lot of markets, it’ll be enough to do some basic, inexpensive repairs. You just want to make your property look well cared for, attractive, and maintained — and you want to make it look great in your real estate photos.
In more competitive, buyer-driven markets, you might need to whip out some more expensive renovations just to sell the house. And, of course, some renovations (like energy-efficient windows or new siding) are notorious for increasing property value more than it costs.
A real estate agent will often know what a house really “needs” to sell in a given market. From there, it’s up to you to decide what you want to invest in.
How can I make the exterior of my house look more expensive?
There are certain attributes buyers associate with expensive homes. Ornate front doors, expensive mailboxes, outdoor seating areas, and plenty of exterior lighting are all associated with “luxury” homes.
How can I modernize the exterior of my house?
If you have a dated house, you may need to modernize it before you can sell it. Paint is often the best way to modernize a house because what really changes most dramatically is the color palette.
How can I increase curbside appeal cheaply?
Some cheap ideas for curbside appeal include: cleaning up the landscape, painting the front door, pressure washing the house, and replacing the house’s mailbox.