Amp up your curb appeal

Two things I love: design and selling real estate. So between all my books/magazines/blogs/etc, I love any article that combines the two!

This month, I found a study on the best bang for your buck with curb appeal, so here they are:

1. Front door: From a coat of paint to replacing the whole thing and adding sidelights, the average cost is $1,200 and completely sets the tone for what’s inside. Think outside of the box, sometimes a vivid color really adds character- just don’t go too crazy.

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2. Windows: Wash them! This is by far the cheapest way to freshen up a house! You would be amazed what sparkling clean windows does for the atmosphere of a home. Hate washing windows? (duh- who doesn’t). I recently purchased Norwex cloths for windows- they are so simple, fast and work amazing. Are your windows too far gone to care about their cleanliness? Windows are expensive! So start now (don’t wait until you’re going to list the house). Replace the front of the house windows and work your way around the house each year. If you have shutters, replace or paint as well. If you’re painting trim around windows, monochromatic palettes are the trend.

3. Garages: I once had a client tell me he would never buy a house where the garage stuck out more than the house. He said it was like pulling your pants down and walking backwards- everyone’s got it, but you don’t want it to be the first thing people see! Newer construction homes almost all have a protruding garage, fact is our garages keep getting bigger, so we have to stick them in the front of the house to make them fit on the lot! Moral of the story, your garage is an obvious feature: so paint or replace. Average cost is around $1,500.

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4. Front porch: Awww, the front porch.. It’s an iconic symbol of American living. If you got one, take advantage and sell the porch as additional square footage by staging it as a beautiful, peaceful getaway. Will you ever use it? Maybe not, but it’s still an unbeatable atmosphere. *Always remember, live in your house as if you were going to sell it tomorrow and always have “atmosphere” in mind with each space. Depending on if your porch is exposed or closed in, I would suggest a dramatic chandelier, cozy rug, plants, and some sitting chairs for enjoying your morning coffee. Again, you may never use it, but at least you can tell yourself you have the option!

5. Driveway: Crack happens. Every driveway and sidewalk has cracks. A resurfacing costs around $2,000 or just patch the cracks. Also, try to clean up those oil stains with kitty litter or actual designated products.

6. After dark: Nothing good happens after midnight…. except how cute your house could look with the proper accent lighting. Outdoor lights are more affordable and convenient than ever. Have them shine on the house or accent your landscaping, and always remember to make your house glow! It’s such a welcoming feature and also a good safety feature!

7. Landscaping: That’s a no brainer, but get creative. Window boxes are making a comeback, and they’re great because they bring the good stuff closer to your eye level. Create depth and definition with different heights. Hanging plants are also great. A big, full fern hanging on your front porch/deck gives the house a fresh feel right from the start.

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