SELLING YOUR HOUSE STARTS FROM THE OUTSIDE IN WITH CURB APPEAL
Curb appeal will almost always have a powerful impact as to whether a prospective buyer wants to see the inside of the house you are selling.
Being the house on the block who needs to rent a goat just to mow through tall grass and weeds isn’t a good starting point for selling a house.
Put Yourself In The Buyers Seat
Imagine you’re ready to buy your first home and start searching only to be disappointedwhen you visit open houses with your real estate agent.
Buying a house is a big deal whether you are a homebuying newbie or have bought and sold houses in the past.
When you bought the home you are getting ready to sell think about how curb appeal enticed you to buy the home in the first place.
Perhaps there was a fancy water feature you loved or the lawn was lush and free from weeds.
Whatever sparked your interest in buying your home from the outside will attract home buyers when you come to sell.
Curb Appeal Matters
What does curb appeal mean?
Curb appeal is not only used to entice prospective buyers when you sell your home but it’s a way to say you have pride in your home.
Before you even consider putting your home on the market it’s important to understand you are selling from the inside out.
This means that any prospective buyers whether they come with a real estate agent or not will look at the outside of your home first.
Not only do buyers look at front yard curb appeal they take a peek-a-boo for back-yard appeal as well.
If they don’t like what they see they may cross your home off their list however some buyers may see past the weeds.
The problem with that is when negotiations take place because they may use your lack of curb appeal to bring down the price.
Keep in mind curb appeal is a marketing tool and one that may cost you big time if you don’t take advantage of it.
Curb Appeal Expenses
How to budget for curb appeal?
I’ve always said that you should save money for home maintenance in your projected expenses from the start of the budgeting year.
By this, I mean in January to calculate your home maintenance costs by setting aside 1 to 3 percent of the purchase price of your home.
This may seem like lots of money but buying a house is a big investment and not considering these costs can get costly in the end.
Another thing to consider is that home Maintenence covers everything from curb appeal, back-yard appeal and the entirety of your home.
I bet if you add up all of the receipts after one year you’ll see that the amounts in the chart below don’t seem so high after all.
If you need a new fence because it has fallen over, your wall colours need perking up or perhaps your siding needs to be cleaned these costs fall under home maintenance.
Don’t forget that just because you don’t use your maintenance savings each month that you won’t use them the next or even the following year.
If opening a separate bank account to save for your home maintenance savings will help keep your hands away from using it for something else, then do it.
So for example, if you purchased your home for $300,000 on the low-end you will want to set aside 1% of the purchase price $3000 each year.
Personally, I would consider three things when calculating how much money to save each year as costs could change.
- The size of my property
- How much work needs to be done (new roof, new deck, new fence, curb appeal, etc.)
- How to lower maintenance costs
If you are like us and plan to save for your home maintenance costs as a projected expense this would equate to $250 a month.
This is the reality of being a homeowner and why it’s so important to consider all aspects of home buying BEFORE you buy.
Home buying is more than just a mortgage payment.
DIY Curb Appeal or Hire Someone
When it comes to curb appeal you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the clean and well-manicured look that buyers crave.
In fact, when we bought our home the curb appeal sat around a 2/10 only because there was none but we had a vision.
On that note, we were able to negotiate a lower price when dealing with the seller so the lack of curb appeal was in our favour.
Over the years we would weed the front garden even though I dug and pulled every plant I could find.
We knew that we had to landscape the front yard but not before getting free curb appeal design advice from our city and quotes from local businesses.
The costs to add curb appeal the way we wanted was into the thousands of dollars from large rocks, new steps, plants, new sod, and a brick path.
The costs came at no surprise because as a homeowner you need to be prepared for these expenses.
What you don’t always have to do is get someone else to do the job for you.
If you’re a handy homeowner you can get jobs done at a fraction of the cost of paying someone else to do it.
I’m not saying that you need to be the plumber or electrician because those men and women train in skilled trades for years and are certified.
Don’t do that if you’re not qualified and it’s above basic level jobs. I don’t.
What I mean is simple updates to the outside of your home such as painting, washing windows, new sod, adding a rock garden, updating plants and shrubs and so on.
If you must hire someone to do a job you may be able to cut down costs by doing some of the work yourself such as tearing down and disposing of items.
For example, if I tore down my fence and disposed of it myself I was going to save us and the neighbours $1000 off the almost $11,000 quote.
In fact, I ended up tearing down the fence and building it for all of us for around $1000 -$1300 each based on measurements.
Talk about curb appeal though, wow.
The new fence looks amazing.
Related: Landscaping on a Budget
10 Cheap Curb Appeal Landscaping Ideas
Whether you want to improve curb appeal or add it to your home consider your budget and long-term plans.
You may find that the costs involved with simple curb appeal aren’t as expensive as you think.
Front porch appeal is just as important as a well-manicured lawn as are clean windows that only need Windex and cloth to shine.
I also want to point out that not all homeowners have a front garden but curb appeal still applies to you.
Let’s explore some budget-friendly curb appeal landscaping ideas you can use to help sell your home fast.
I’m a climber so every year I get on the roof of our home and clean the windows with a bucket of hot water and soap.
Once I’m done that and they are dry I go over the inside and outside of each window with Windex to make them shine.
You can use any cleaning product you fancy but the idea is to ensure your windows look like you take care of them.
A simple check in the phone book and you’ll likely find businesses in your area that clean windows for a reasonable fee.
Also, consider hiring students looking for summer work to earn money for school expenses in the coming year.
Pressure Wash Siding
If your home has siding then you should pressure wash it yearly to give it the shine it deserves.
Siding can look weathered and dirty easily and everyone will notice, even buyers.
You can rent a pressure washer for cheap at Home Depot or other hardware stores or perhaps ask a friend for a favour.
This task may be challenging if you aren’t up for heights so consider whether you should do the job or contract it out.
The costs for cleaning siding are minimal and your house will look brand new again.
Paint and spray paint is one of the least expensive ways to spruce up the curb appeal on your home.
A simple coat of paint from your front door, mailbox, garage door to siding and even window shutters and trim will spruce it up.
Painting is an easy home maintenance chore that can add value to yoru home and won’t cost your budget too much money.
I even went as far to clean and spray paint our black light fixtures, urns and iron-clad table and chairs on the front porch.
The costs a few cans of black spray paint and a huge wow factor!
Over-grown plants, shrubs, and weeds are the first things that stand out when looking at curb appeal.
All you need is a bit of elbow grease (effort) to get rid of the weeds and dig up any dead plants lurking in your front garden.
Take note of any weeds growing on your driveway in-between inter-locking brick and the side-walk because it all adds up to the overall picture of your home.
One thing we noticed about our house was the homeowner had a spreading plant growing all over the brick.
It was horrible and hid the beauty of the home and not all home buyers are interested in this type of curb appeal.
Certain types of climbing plants that attach to your brick are also not good for the brick itself and are difficult to remove.
We know, we did it and it was a big job.
Fresh Green Sod
Nothing says curb appeal other than green grass that is well manicured and free from weeds.
If your grass is weedy and lacks appeal consider ripping it all out, digging weeds, roots from old plants and tossing any grass grubs to the curb.
The cost to lay fresh sod is inexpensive and will surely impress potential buyers.
Make sure to water your grass often when it is new to keep it green and lush.
Plant and Shrubs
I’m a huge fan of greenery especially living in Ontario where the winter weather can be harsh on your landscaping including your plants.
We went the green shrubs and bushes route to add curb appeal and in the summer we add potted ferns in coconut lined planted pots.
The plants hang on either side of our garage and at the front porch. Easy and cheap with each fern only costing $16.00 from Costco.
Maximize your plant and flower savings by asking friends to split what they have or even doing an online search for other homeowners selling plants for less.
If you already have existing shrubs ensure that they are kept trimmed and look pristine at all times.
Focus on symmetry when you are designing your landscape as it will tie it together better if it looks like it was a well thought out plan.
When I landscaped our property I went with a simple rock garden underneath each tree and on the sides of our shrubs.
Not only did it lend to the curb appeal it was inexpensive to do as we bought river rock in bulk from a local supplier.
Related: How to build a weed-free rock garden
Curb appeal not only means during daylight hours but also in the evening when the sun goes down.
For a small cost, you can update the lighting on the outside of your home so the lights look new and fresh in colour.
Lighting on a home at night makes a big difference to the curb appeal and don’t be shocked if buyers want to come around and see your house when it gets dark outside.
House Number Update
If your house number is cracked, broken or missing for a small price you can either purchase new house numbers or paint them on a rock or other DIY address project.
Make sure that everyone who comes to your house can easily locate your address and that it’s not covered by greenery so they don’t have to guess.
Adding porch decor from a simple table and chairs to a porch swing with colourful pillows add that extra curb appeal touch.
A wreath on the front door, welcome mat and bench go a long way in building porch appeal.
You can visit second-hand shops and you’ll find loads of outdoor decor, wall hangings and even planters for a fraction of the price of buying new.
Sell a House Not Your Home
When you list your home for sale just remember it becomes a house which means the buyers aren’t looking at what you have but rather hat you’ve done.
You will want to get maximum exposure and starting with curb appeal is the first step in the process.
Keep that in mind when you are prepping your curb appeal for real estate and you’ll see lots of potential buyers at your next open house.
Discussion: What other inexpensive tricks can add curb appeal to a home before selling it?
Leave me your comments below.