Looking to step up your home’s curb appeal? You know what they say – first impressions are everything whether you’re trying to sell your home or simply refresh the exterior. An elegant front door, a lush garden and a welcoming walkway can all add to your home’s aesthetic appeal.
To get a handle on the right steps to take, I talked to Dave McQueston, Agent, Re/Max Hallmark York Group Reality. Dave serves the Aurora and Newmarket areas in Ontario and has been inaugurated into the Re/Max Hall of Fame. He’s a firm believer that sprucing up the exterior of your home can make a world of difference not just in terms of curb appeal, but it can also help increase your home’s value. As a first step, McQueston suggests driving by your home and putting yourself in a potential visitor or buyer’s shoes. This is a great way to easily view how others see your home and what you might need to do to add some polish and pizzazz to help it stand out. He also suggests the following tips for maximum impact on a minimal budget:
- Dress up your front door. Your door is literally the entry to your home, so make it welcoming. Clean handles (or replace worn ones) and polish fixtures. If you have a storm door, fix any torn screens. Add a shiny new door knocker or a swag or wreath as a decorative statement.
- Add a touch of paint. It’s amazing how a simple coat of paint on your front door and garage doors can make a big difference (and don’t forget the trim!). Cracked, chipped paint can be an eyesore. And so can neon bright colours! Make sure you choose hues that complement the brick or stucco colour of your home. Not sure what to pick? There’s an app for that! The Front Door Paint app lets you see what your home would look like with a new paint colour. Beats those tiny paint chips!
- Get growing. A few pops of colour in your garden can add some dazzle to the outside of your home. Add a small garden bed at the side of your house or along walkways. Choose window boxes, colourful hanging baskets, ready-made flower containers and some shrubs for greenery. A few well-placed urns on either side of your doorway or garage also add some extra “oomph”. And don’t forget simple upkeep of hedges and shrubs. Take care of garden beds by pruning, pulling weeds, getting rid of plants that didn’t make it through the season and adding mulch to restore colour that’s been faded by harsh winter weather and sunlight. Also, trim any oversized branches from trees. You want your house to be seen. Need another reason to tend to your garden? According to the Re/Max Smart Renovator Guide, landscaping the front and backyards can potentially give you a 7% better return on your renovating dollar! Need a little more guidance in the gardening department? Check out our Gardening Tips for Beginners.
- Keep it green. One of the first things a buyer notices about a home’s exterior is an unkempt lawn with long grass overflowing with weeds. A lawn that’s not maintained can detract from the look of your house. So make sure you mow your lawn, water it regularly and keep weeds in check. If your lawn is too far gone, you might want to call in a professional to help restore it.
- Spruce up your porch. If you have a porch, dress it up with pots of flowers of varying heights to add dimension. Add some chairs or rockers. This screams comfort and “welcome”!
- Add a little bling. New hardware adds to the aesthetic and style of your home, so replace worn or outdated house numbers, address plaques, wall-mounted mailboxes, and light fixtures. Make sure that colours and finishes match to ensure a cohesive look.
- Light the way. Replace worn bulbs and install landscape lighting to illuminate your walkway and front porch. Lights with wiring are usually more expensive, so choose solar fixtures as an alternative if you’re on a budget. Not only will this add curb appeal, it also helps provide safety for your guests and security to help keep burglars at bay.
- Tidy up. Always make sure your lawn, walkway and driveway are litter-free and clear of debris. Consider power washing these areas and make sure your sidewalk is clear and swept. Clean windows inside and out to make them sparkle. Make sure curtains and shutters are clean and not frayed or bent as this can be seen from the outside.
- Tend to repairs. Replace worn or cracked stones in walkways. Clear debris from gutters and fix cracks in bricks, caulking and the home’s foundation. Check potential trouble areas including the roof, windows and skylights. This will not only freshen up your home’s street view, it will help nip potential problems like water intrusion in the bud, and help you avoid expensive fixes in the future.
- Add colourful accents. While you don’t want to mix too many vibrant colours to detract from the overall look of your home, you might want to consider adding one or two colourful accents like a bright mailbox, flower pot or chair.
- Go the extra mile. If your budget allows, consider getting some low-maintenance professional landscaping done; adding recessed lighting beneath the eaves or uplighting beneath trees; adding moulding around windows and doors; re-doing your walkway; or adding statement-making porch lights.
What have you done to add curb appeal to your home? Let us know in the comments.