Affordable Ways to Boost a Home’s Curb Appeal
Guest Blog By Frances Black
Improving a house’s curb appeal isn’t just for people looking to sell and move on. Think about it. The same steps that add value to the sale price can also make a home more inviting to guests and more lovely to live in.
Curb appeal is the residential equivalent to a first impression — and first impressions matter. The average home in Bellingham spends less than two months on the market. A few upgrades can cut that time in half. You don’t have to spend a fortune or a lot of time to brighten up the welcome of your home.
Buying a new front door can be pricey. But repainting the one you have can give you a lot of bang for the buck. Don’t be shy; choose a bright color that will pop while enhancing other exterior colors. Make sure to test your choice by holding up a swatch. When in doubt, paint a poster board in your preferred hue and hold it against the house. Repainting is an easy job, even for beginners. More-confident painters can up the impact by stenciling the address on the door in another color.
Buy a new doormat, or create a custom one yourself with spray paint and painter’s tape. Display seasonal wreaths year-round, not just during the holidays. Add potted plants to the front steps and porch—or upgrade your container garden by painting terra cotta pots. Consider aromatic plants for a multi-sensory experience. Upgrade hardware, including mailboxes, light fixtures, and doorknobs. Create a front-porch seating area with new or repainted used furniture.
Good landscaping is one of the easiest and most immediate ways to improve the look of your home. Don’t limit your green thumb to containers on the porch. Window boxes filled with flowers and herbs can have a powerful impact on curb appeal and don’t require a lot of maintenance. Move outward from there. Well-chosen shrubs and hedges can bring new life to even the plainest house and enhance the sense of privacy and elegance. Prune existing shrubs and hedges to create a well-manicured look that instantly enhances your home’s appeal.
Nothing says home-sweet-home like a green expanse of grass. And nothing degrades the look of a home’s exterior like a lawn that is ragged, brown, or full of weeds and debris. Caring for your Washington lawn doesn’t have to be expensive, but proper mowing, edging, and trimming are crucial. If you don’t have time to maintain the lawn while your home is on the market, hiring a lawn service will cost you around $44 per service. Don’t overlook the little things, like trimming around planting beds and trees. To achieve extra oomph, consider a decorative mowing pattern such as simple stripes, which also can hide imperfections.
An attractive, well-defined walkway calls people to your door. Sometimes simply clearing an existing path of debris and overgrowth can make all the difference. But you don’t have to spend a fortune or break your back to improve a walkway. Judicious use of plants and lighting, including low-cost solar, can define and upgrade a path in a jiffy. If you choose to create a new walkway, consider stepping stones or natural pavers. Planting thyme in the space between the rocks can create a subtly perfumed path. Treading on the thyme releases its odor.
These inexpensive upgrades will boost your home’s curb appeal and may even inspire your neighbors to up their game and make some improvements. An attractive neighborhood can also increase the value of your home.
Francis Black is a former real estate agent who now stages homes for resale. She’s an avid do-it-yourselfer who likes to refurbish old lawn furniture and grow her own fruits and vegetables.