We’ve all hear the term “curb appeal,” but does it really help sell your home?

Homes that look good from the street - that is, homes with good curb appeal - should help you get a higher price and take less time to sell. To improve your curb appeal, you don’t need to make a bunch of renovations to the exterior of your home. We’re talking about **regular maintenance and some extra beautifying tasks that will go a long way. **

The question becomes which projects will give you the best payoff? Here’s a list of what we think is worth your time:

  1. Wash the front of your house. Before you scrape any paint or plant more azaleas, wash the dirt, mildew, and general grunge off the front of your house. This will help show your house in the best light. A power washer is an ideal way to do this, but a bucket of soapy water and a long-handle, soft bristle brush can get the job done as well. Don’t forget to take care of the sidewalks and driveway while you’re at it! You should also wash your windows inside and out, wipe the cobwebs from the eaves, and wash out your downspouts. Don’t forget to wash off your garage as well.

  2. Freshen the paint job. After power washing or scrubbing the front, the most commonly offered advice I share with clients is to give the exterior of the home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it and appraisers will value it. Painting can be an expensive and time-consuming facelift, but it is usually well-worth the effort.

  3. Address the roof. The condition of your roof is one of the first things buyers notice when they drive up and that appraisers assess. Missing, faded, or curled shingles add nothing to the look or value to the house. If your neighbors have maintained or replaced their roofs recently, yours will look especially shabby. If the roof is in obvious disrepair, it’s in your best interest to bite the bullet and invest in new shingles.

“Doing these eight things will make your home stand out from the competition”

  1. Clean up the yard. A well-manicured lawn with fresh mulch and pruned shrubs boosts the curb appeal of any home. Replace your overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals, surround bushes and trees with dark mulch to give a rich feel to the yard, put a crisp edge on garden beds, pull the weeds and invasive vines, and plant a few geraniums in the pots. You also need to green up your grass with lawn food and water, cover any bare spots with seeds and sod, and get rid of the crab grass and mow it regularly.

  2. Add a splash of color. Even a little color attracts and pleases the eyes of would-be buyers. Plant a tulip border in the fall that will bloom in the spring, and dig a flower bed by the mailbox and plant some pansies. Consider placing a colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch as well. These colorful touches won’t add to the value of your house, but beautiful colors enhance the curb appeal and can help you sell your house faster.

  3. Spruce up your mailbox. An upscale mailbox, architectural house numbers, or address plaques can make your house stand out. You can get a really nice mailbox for anywhere from $50-150, or you can just repaint your current one and add new fresh home numbers to it as well. Just make sure any changes you make comply with the HOA guidelines for your neighborhood.

  4. Fence yourself in. A picket fence with a garden gate to frame the yard is an asset. Not only will it add visual punch to your property, but appraisers will give extra value to a fence in great condition. Expect to pay around $2,000-3,500 for a professionally installed gated picket fence. If you already have a fence, make sure it is clean and in great condition. Again, be sure to check with your local HOA before you make any purchases.

  5. Maintenance is a must. Nothing looks worse from the curb and sets off subconscious alarms like hanging gutters, missing bricks, or peeling paint. Not only can these deferred maintenance items damage your home, but they could decrease the value of your home by as much as 10%.

Doing these things will make your house stand out from the competition, and will help you put your best foot forward when you list your home on the market.