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    Easy Ways to Add Curb Appeal Before Your Home Sale

    During the home selling process, it's normal to quickly become consumed with important details such as finding a compatible real estate agent, calculating an accurate price point, and determining how long the house can stay listed before the PCS packout date. 

    Without question, military home sellers have to address all of these scenarios to make the most of the sale, but there is one detail that often gets pushed to the back burner: the powerful effect that strong curb appeal has on the overall marketing plan.

    Ignoring curb appeal is a common mistake home sellers commit early in the selling process, especially during the budgeting phase when owners have to consider how much money to invest in improving their chances of selling for the asking price or more. Unfortunately, short-changing the curb appeal budget usually predicts a delayed sale, and after precious time is wasted, it's challenging to start the improvement process over.

    If you’re ready to add necessary curb appeal improvements, start with this guide to give direction on where to start.  

    1) Prioritize big-ticket items that add curb appeal. 

    Examine your home improvement budget and discuss with your real estate agent which large projects are worth your time and money. After deciding the big-ticket items to invest in, your leftover budget will dictate the smaller yet impactful projects to take on. 

    home improvement project of replacing roof before listing home for sale

    Photo from Adobe Stock

    The National Realtors Association’s Remodeling Impact Report 2022 asked Realtors to rank exterior curb appeal projects in relation to the expected value at resale. Here are their top picks: 

    1. New Roofing 100%
    2. New Garage Door 100% 
    3. New Fiber-Cement Siding 86%
    4. New Vinyl Siding 82%
    5. New Vinyl Windows 67%
    6. New Wood Windows 63%
    7. New Steel Front Door 63% 
    8. New Fiberglass Front Door 60% 

    At first glance, these are wise investments overall. But, in your local market, some could take a big bite from your profit. Working with a real estate agent is essential to decide which projects make the most financial sense. 

    2) Clean-up and home maintenance are simple ways to boost curb appeal. 

    A pot of pretty flowers and a new doormat won’t disguise sagging gutters and dirty siding. Home upkeep is a significant undertaking, especially if only attended to right before a home showing, so you’ll want to plan for plenty of time to take care of the basics before attempting to dress up the curb appeal. 

    • Mulch and weed flower beds.
    • Add new flowering and green plants. Choose drought-resistant varieties if scheduled watering is problematic.  
    • Power wash siding, driveways, and sidewalks. 
    • Repair black top and cracked driveways.
    • Re-point brick walkways and porches.
    • Fix cracked window panes.
    • Clean and possibly repaint shutters. This tip instantly changes the look of the overall house façade. For example, an upgrade from black plastic shutters to quaint wooden farmhouse-style shutters automatically updates the look closer to a modern farmhouse, popular with many buyers. 

    tending to flowerbeds before home sale

    Photo from Canva

    3) Create a marketing plan with a purpose.

    Part of your marketing plan should include a vision of who your prime audience of buyers are and how you’ll tailor your home to their tastes, including the exterior. However, buyers appreciate curb appeal differently. In some cases, functionality is the main selling point, but family-friendly features take precedence for others. 

    Curb appeal doesn’t only apply to the front yard. Although backyards aren’t the first sight for buyers, attractive back spaces are extremely valuable for buyers who consider the outdoors an extension of everyday living space. 

    Take a look at some considerations to suit different sets of home buyers. 

    flowers and plants to add to curb appeal

    Photo from Canva

    Home Buyers Who Work Long Hours

    They’re likely looking for minimal maintenance and a “set it and forget it” type  arrangement. Cater to this crowd with exterior paint formulations that repel mildew and mold and choose siding colors that camouflage grime and dirt. 

    Next, minimize accessories that need cleaning, but don’t go too sparse. Although they work long hours, these buyers want a comfortable atmosphere when they come home. 

    Because the house is often empty, consider adding a lock box-type mailbox that deters porch pirates. These curb appeal qualities also attract single buyers, those who travel regularly, and empty nesters. 

    A big yard and swing appeal to families looking for a home

    Photo from Canva

    Families with Children

    Does your home for sale have the curb appeal amenities that attract parents whose top priorities are raising their children in a safe, welcoming environment? Parents look for clean, well-tended yards and secure fences to corral children and pets. These home buyers are also looking for landscaping that isn’t overgrown. Trim trees and shrubs lessen the chances of unnoticed crime occurrences.  

    Guide to Selling Your Home

    4) Emphasize your outdoor living space. 

    There’s a reason marketing photographs include multiple pictures of a backyard oasis. Home buyers aren’t looking at a backyard simply as a functional space to be maintained. Instead, a deftly staged patio or deck entices buyers to see themselves enjoying lush lawns and cool shade from colorful patio umbrellas. Add curb appeal to take advantage of your yard because the idea of extending living space outside continues to trend and doesn’t seem to be losing steam. 

    Take a look at 4 Landscaping Ideas for Instant Curb Appeal.

    Keep in mind a general overhaul to clean up the space is impactful. But these tips take your living space to the next level. 

    • Re-stain the deck wood and repair any loose or warped planks. 
    • Use a variety of outdoor rugs to designate multiple areas for seating and dining. 
    • Like the front porch, potted plants add interest and, if needed, privacy. 
    • Pile on weather-resistant cushions and pillows for more comfort and coziness.

    updated table and linens make the most of your backyard space.

    Photo from Canva

    5) Update the entryway. 

    An entryway encompasses a variety of elements, depending on the style of the home. For example, some properties include a long, grand walkway that leads to a spacious wraparound porch, while others simply have a brick or concrete pad that ushers friends and family directly inside.

    Take advantage of the space available and make it shine! The entryway is the dominant visible feature both curbside and in online photographs. Here are some ideas to make your entry stand out.

    Start with a fresh slate. Sweep, power wash, and scrub as many surfaces as possible. This includes cobwebbed corners, dirty light fixtures, glass doors, and porch floors.

    Repaint the front door. A paint refresh emphasizes personality with a bold but unusual front door color, such as navy blue. Touch-up coats spruce up the existing color by hiding chips and dents. 

    Choose new hardware. Pick a cohesive look with one or more finishes for door hinges and knockers, mailboxes, lighting, and address numbers. A little style goes a long way. 

    Accessorize. First impressions are vital to home-selling marketing plans, and the front porch sends an invitation to appreciate what is inside. Nowhere else in the house does a small budget boost the potential to sell relative to the space like the front entry.

    Pot blooming plants. Planters and stands add visual interest through color, height, and texture. Planting a scent to remember is a tried and true trick to keep your home in the running for a second look. Honeysuckle and lavender are two well-tolerated scents among the public.  

    Add outdoor linens. Choose fabrics such as rugs and doormats designed to withstand the elements and add visual interest to punch up the charm factor. If the square footage allows, purchase porch furniture and pillows. Who can resist a quick sway or two on a front porch swing?

    Updated entryway adds instant curb appeal. Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash

    Now that you know where to start, choose the curb appeal options that work best with your overall marketing plan for selling your home! If you need more inspiration, follow us on Pinterest, where we share curb appeal improvement plans and home staging projects.

    Find more help for home selling, buying, renting, and military life topics by joining our email list below. 

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    Add Curb Appeal Before Your Home Sale

    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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