Creating Curb Appeal on the Cheap

By GalTime's Home Improvement Expert Tina Gleisner

Curb appeal doesn't have to be expensive!Curb appeal doesn't have to be expensive!First impressions are critical. This is true when it comes to buying a house. Too often, buyers who do not like the appearance of a property at curbside will refuse to even look inside. Here is what you can do to motivate all potential buyers to step inside.

House Exterior - The house should appear to be well cared for, i.e. buyers today want a house that is ready to move into with little or no repairs needed. They want to focus on the move process versus fixing up a new house. If you are consistent in repairing and maintaining your home, you won't have to much work to prepare for selling your house. If not, roll up up your sleeves and prepare to work to increase your chances of selling and the price you will get.

  • Make sure all exterior trim (shutters, window sills, corner boards and trim around your doors/windows) are in good repair.
    • Check shutters, window sills and trim around the windows
    • Inspect the corner boards, fascia and soffit under the roof overhang
    • Clean out gutters, repair any leaks and make sure they are draining away from the house
  • Inspect and repair any wood rot as this will be covered by a home inspection
    • Common problems are window sills, kick plates under doors and where decks are attached to the home.
  • Touch up exterior paint as needed, especially the front of the house visible from the street.
  • Repair or replace window panes and/or screens that are damaged.
  • Make sure your house number is easy to find and read from the street.
  • Clean the windows so they sparkle inside and out.
  • Store trash containers and debris out of sight.

Related: Why Homes in Magazines Are a Joke

Yard, Walkways and Driveway - From the curb, the next thing buyers look at after the house is the yard. You want the yard to appear well cared for, i.e. not require any work on the part of the new owners. You also want to make sure that any potential eyesores visible to buyers as they approach the house, are dealt with including:

  • Clear the driveway and clean up oil spills
  • Cut and water lawns regularly, prune shrubs and add color with easy to care for plants.
  • Minimize any pet friendly features and pick up all pet waste.
  • Turn on exterior lights for night showings. If you have a long, unlit walkway you might want to add solar powered lights.
  • In winter, make sure there is a clear path from the driveway to the front door and salt as needed.

Front Entrance - Once prospective buyers arrive at the front door, they should feel welcome and not be distracted by any problems. Here is where you set the mood for the home viewing.

  • Make sure the front door (and screen door) are in good condition. A good scrubbing or new coat of paint are recommended.
  • The door hardware and doorbell work, should work and look good. You can polish or replace with new hardware.
  • The porch and front steps should be clean, in good condition and free of clutter.
  • Mailboxes should be pleasing to look at, or you can replace with something simple.
  • Add a new doormat and a wreath or other decorating elements like hanging plants or seasonal items.

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