Let's say you live in a community (Central Florida) that was developed in the 60's and 70's. Homes between 1,300 and 1,500 square feet of living space are currently priced between $160,000 and $200,000. However, one of your neighbors has a house listed for $375,000. Most neighbors give it a weird look when they pass by. Not much to look at from the outside, the owners need to do themselves a huge favor by improving the curb appeal.
In fact, he did an amazing job with the interiors of his home. However, your first impressions will come as soon as you stop by. Even if it appeals to potential buyers, there's a mismatch between the visual appeal of the exterior and the quality of the interior.
According to Consumer Reports, if you're selling your home, adding exterior appeal can add 3 to 5 percent to the home's value. If you are a developer, you can increase the value of your entire neighborhood with proper curb appeal planning at the front end.
We suggest some ways you can start improving the curb appeal of your home or development to add even more value.
Improve Curb Appeal With Your Home's Exterior
Another time to improve curb appeal issues is when building a new home. Often, the models you can choose include multiple facades. The difference between the two base models is usually only a difference in the roof design. Obviously, once the builder has finished the house, you cannot change it. The third model adds HardieBoard siding to the front wall and gable, and stonework to the plinth and garage corner. Total upgrade cost: $1,500. Viewing the model side by side it's easy to see how much the planks and stone add to the appeal.
If you're a homebuilder, at least consider offering this kind of functionality as an upgrade, if not as standard.
Like the look? These models are available in the Lakeland, Florida area of Highland Homes.
Some Other Curb Appeal Ideas
- New roof/shingles: This is an expensive option, but if replacement is required, it will show up on the appraisal. It's best to get the work done before the sale and match the attractive shingle color to the house color.
- New paint: Whether you do it yourself or rent it, you can completely change the look of your home (for better or worse) with new paint.
- Shutters: Shutters can be functional or non-functional, but they can add texture and possibly another pop of color to the exterior of your home.
Using Landscaping to Improve Curb Appeal
When people see a well-maintained and well-thought-out landscaped lawn, they'll assume you're taking care of the rest of the house, too.
In the neighborhood we used above as an example, the landscape is attractive but small. HOA takes care of lawn maintenance. It creates the appearance of a community that cares about the first impression you get, but they can go a step further.
The minimal landscaping that comes with a home might only require $1,000 to $1,500 worth of work to match the sales office's model home. As a developer, neighborhood-wide differences make the whole neighborhood look classier. You can easily pass this cost on to buyers and increase the value of everyone's home.
Keep up with your lawn care even if you're not under the HOA's watchful eye. Trim it weekly until the end of the mowing season and it will look its best. If you want to take it to the next level, check out robotic lawn mowers. These will mow daily and you can set it up on a schedule. Your yard will look new every day without any effort on your part.
Here are some more tips:
- Trim your hedges monthly to help keep them in shape
- Trim the tree so the lowest branches are higher than the top of your head. This gives them a classic all-over look with plenty of room to enjoy the shade beneath them.
- If you haven't already done so, trim your hardscape. Your home will look cooler than without.
- Weeds! As far as I know, no one really likes weeding, but it will make your yard look so much better. Don't be afraid to use sprays — just make sure your spray is accurate so you don't kill your favorite plants.
- Fertilize your plants and grass to keep them looking full and bright. Use weeds and fertilizers on your lawn to help your grass take over.
- If you can afford it, hire a full-service lawn care team.
add exterior lighting
Ever drive through an affluent area? One of the ways you'll find they improve curb appeal is by adding exterior lights that point upward from the ground under windows and on landscape beds. It gives the impression of a safe, comfortable home and makes those features really pop after the sun goes down.
There are some solar powered lights that can help you create the effect, but hardwired options will give you brighter, more dramatic effects. It costs more to do so, but the results are impressive.