Here’s eight basic do’s to help your home put its best face forward.
The way your house looks from the street, attractively landscaped and well-maintained, can add thousands to its appraisal and cut the time it takes to sell. But which projects pump-up curb appeal most? Basic maintenance and cleaning will give more than a 100% return and so does a dose of color.
Tip #1: Wash your house’s face
Before you scrape any paint or plant more azaleas, wash the dirt, mildew, and general grunge off the outside of your house. REALTORS® say washing a house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale prices of some houses.
A bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dust and dirt that have splashed onto your wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding. Power washers (rental: $75 per day) can reveal the true color of your flagstone walkways or wood decks.
Wash your windows inside and out, swipe cobwebs from eaves, and hose down downspouts. Don’t forget your garage door. If you can’t spray off the dirt, scrub it off with a solution of 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate—TSP, available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers—dissolved in 1 gallon of water.
You and a friend can make your house sparkle in a few weekends. A professional cleaning crew will cost hundreds–depending on the size of the house and number of windows–but will finish in a couple of days.
Tip #2: Freshen the paint job
The most commonly offered curb appeal advice from real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it, and appraisers will value it. Of course, painting is an expensive and time-consuming face-lift. To paint a 3,000-square-foot home, figure on spending at least $600 on paint and $1,500 to $3,000 on labor.
Your best bet is to match the paint you already have: Scrape off a little and ask your local paint store to match it. Resist the urge to make a statement with color. An appraiser will mark down the value of a house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition.
Tip #3: Regard the roof
The condition of your roof is one of the first structural things buyers notice and appraisers assess. Missing, curled, or faded shingles devalue your house. If your neighbors have maintained or replaced their roofs, yours will look especially shabby.
You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal; appraisers will mark down the value by the cost of the repair. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost of a new shingle roof is about $18,488.
Some tired roofs look a lot better after you remove 25 years of dirt, moss, mildew and algae. Don’t try cleaning your roof yourself: call a professional with the right tools and technique to clean it without damaging it. A 2,000 sq. ft. roof will take a day and $400 to $600 to clean professionally.
Tip #4: Neaten the yard
A well-manicured lawn, fresh mulch, and pruned shrubs boost the curb appeal of any home.
Replace overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals. Surround bushes and trees with new mulch, which gives a rich feel to the yard. Put a crisp edge on garden beds, pull weeds and invasive vines, and plant a few flowers in pots.
Green up your grass with lawn food and water. Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, get rid of crab grass, and mow regularly.
Tip #5: Add a splash of color
Even a little color attracts and pleases the eye of would-be buyers.
Plant flowers to accent your home and add pop. Dig a flowerbed by the mailbox and plant some pansies. Place a brightly colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch. Get a little daring, and paint the front door an attractive but contrasting color.
These colorful touches won’t directly add to the price of your house. But beautiful colors enhance it’s curb appeal, say you are invited and help your house to sell faster.
Tip #6: Glam your mailbox
An upscale mailbox, architectural house numbers, or address plaques can make your house stand out.
High-style die cast aluminum mailboxes range from $100 to $350. You can pick up a handsome, hand-painted mailbox for about $50. If you don’t buy new, at least give your old mailbox a facelift with paint and new house numbers.
These days, your local home improvement center or hardware stores has an impressive selection of decorative numbers. Architectural address plaques, which you tack to the house or plant in the yard, typically range from $80 to $200. Brass house numbers range from $4 to $11 each, depending on size and style.
Tip #7: Fence yourself in
If you already have a fence, make sure it’s clean and in good condition. Replace broken gates and tighten loose latches. For a new fence, expect to pay up to $3,500 for a professionally installed gated fence 6 feet high and 100 feet long.
Tip #8: Maintenance is a must
Nothing looks worse from the curb and sets off subconscious alarms than hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, peeling paint or a dirty, oil stained driveway. Not only can these deferred maintenance items damage your home, but they can decrease the value of your house by as much as 10%.
Here are some maintenance chores that will dramatically help the look of your house.
- Refasten sagging gutters.
- Re-mortar bricks that have lost their mortar.
- Clean and re-seal cracks in driveways and sidewalks.
- Straighten shutters.
- Replace broken windows.
You say you got this done and still want to do more? Go here for 11 small projects under $100 that will further boost curb appeal.
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We specialize as seller’s agents in South Tampa, SOHO, Davis Islands, Channelside, Hyde Park, Sunset Park, Beach Park, Harbor Island, Westshore, Culbreath Isles, Culbreath Bayou, Bayshore Boulevard and Plant High School district homes. Specialty zip codes 33606, 33602, 33611, 33609, 33629. We are seller’s agents for the rest of the Tampa bay areas including: Westchase, Country Way, Citrus Park, Fawn Ridge, Carrollwood, Carrollwood Village, Old Carrollwood, Keystone, Odessa, Lutz, New Tampa, Seminole Heights, Wesley Chapel, Land O Lakes, Avila, Lake Magdalene, North Dale, North Lakes, Lake Ellen and Forrest Hills. Zip codes: 33613, 33604, 33603, 33614, 33612, 33624, 33618, 33556, 33558, 33559, 33625, 33626, 33635, 33634, 33544, 33543, 33549, 33548, 34639.