Home improvements are inevitable, whether your property is historic or a new build. In fact, nearly two-thirds of homeowners reported that they planned on renovating when surveyed. But while remodeling can certainly allow you to remain in your current home as your needs evolve, renovating may also be a requirement if you choose to sell your home. At the very least, you'll likely need to make some improvements to the parts of your property that potential buyers will see first.
Curb appeal, or the attractiveness of a property as viewed from the street, can make a huge difference in how quickly a home sells or even the final selling price. Homeowners can get a 100% ROI on the money spent on their home's curb appeal, if nothing else, so there's a huge incentive to invest in these areas before you list. But what exactly should you focus on? Here are six smart tips that'll help you improve your curb appeal before making your home available on the real estate market.
Examine Siding and Roofing
You may not need to completely replace your roof or all of your home's siding prior to selling, but you do need to make sure both are in good shape. Damaged siding should be replaced -- and since there are 15 different types of siding on the market, you'll likely be able to choose one that fits your home's current style. Replacing all of your siding may be worthwhile if your home's value is on the higher end, even if it's merely a bit old and worn out. But unless there are significant issues, you may decide to leave it as is.
Although you may not be able to see much of your roof from the street, it should definitely be part of your curb appeal improvement list. There are a number of layers that ensure your roof protects your home from the elements, so it's a good idea to have your roof inspected prior to. A total roof replacement will likely pay off only if it's in a truly sad state, but roof repairs and shingle replacements may be necessary. You'll also want to have your gutters cleaned out before you hold your first open house.
Give Exteriors a Once-Over
Even if your shingles are in fine shape, the exterior paint may have seen better days. It's a good idea to power wash your home to see what everything looks like under years of grime. Then, you can really assess what needs painting. Neutral paints are often best for interiors and many homeowners will continue that trend outside. If you want your home to stand out without a bright hue, a two- or three-color home exterior can allow you to add personalty that will be universally appealing.
Spruce Up Paths and Driveways
Not only will you want to make homebuyers and visitors feel welcomed as soon as they pull up to the property, but you'll also want to guide them safely and easily to your front entryway. Making sure that any paths and walkways around your property are clear of debris and potential hazards is a good place to start. If there are cracks or broken bricks, you'll want to get those fixed before you list. Make sure there's adequate lighting, as well, as this can add both ambiance and prevent accidents. Carry that theme all the way to the front door and ensure the lighting there is ample enough, as well. Finally, clean off your driveway and consider resealing it, if necessary, as well as fixing any observable cracks. Despite the fact that a properly installed gravel driveway can last for up to 10 years with regular upkeep, it's not always every homeowner's favorite material. Unless your property is located in a rural area or the loose stone aligns with your home's aesthetics, you may want to consider having your driveway paved instead.
Give Your Doors a Makeover
You might be surprised to learn that front door and garage door replacement both carry impressive returns on investment. At the very least, you should make sure both look nice and function well. Even a fresh coat of paint can do wonders, as Zillow actually found that houses with charcoal gray or black front doors sold for as much as $6,271 more than expected. Even if you go with a cheerier color, new paint can completely change the way your home is perceived. And if your garage doors are outdated or aren't doing your property any favors, you might consider replacing them instead of repainting them. While this replacement typically costs up to $1,500, it usually allows you to recoup at least 85% of your investment at selling time.
Exercise Your Green Thumb
Real estate agents promote the importance of landscaping all the time -- and for good reason. Regardless of the time of year you list your home, buyers want to see some evidence of lush life in the front yard. Be sure to take good care of your lawn, plant some shrubs and colorful flowers, and pay attention to any trees that need to be pruned. It's a good idea to focus on your landscaping as soon as possible, as planting in advance of an open house will allow these elements to really take root (pun intended) and look more natural. Window planters are also a great option if your yard space is limited or you have a significant amount of hardscaping.
Don't Overlook the Details
Finally, don't forget that the small details can make a big difference. Switching out your house numbers to make the front door really shine or repainting your mailbox to give it a bit more charm can entice potential buyers from the start. It may seem irrational that others would focus on these inconsequential elements, but making these small changes will ensure you won't give anyone an excuse to question their love for your property. Even painting electrical boxes or trash receptacles with a coat of paint or a clever wood frame can make your home seem that much more attractive. Enlist the help of a real estate agent or a friend with a keen eye to point out any areas you might not have noticed.
With all of the fixes you might need to complete inside before you list your home, it's easy to downplay all the work that needs to be done outside. But by prioritizing these tasks, you'll be able to make an excellent first impression on everyone who drives by or tours your home.