Curb Appeal Ideas to Attract Home Buyers

Before selling your home, boost its curb appeal with a little elbow grease. Each of these curb appeal ideas costs less than $100.
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Written by Kate Wood
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Planning to sell a home? Up your curb appeal with these low-cost, DIY upgrades. These six quick projects can enhance your home’s curb appeal for under $100 apiece. Each can be accomplished in a weekend at most, and starting early will give you time to prepare before you sell your house.

What is curb appeal and why is it important?

Curb appeal is how your home looks from the street, that first impression a potential buyer gets when viewing the exterior of your house.

And that first impression matters. Homes that look loved and well-maintained get more attention when they're put on the market.

“A buyer makes their buying decision as they are coming up the front walk or walking through the front door,” says Pat Vredevoogd Combs, a former National Association of Realtors president based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Scrolling through photos of homes on real estate websites can also be a decisive moment. Since online listings almost always use the front of the house as the featured photo, it makes sense to put your home's best face forward.

Inexpensive curb appeal ideas

1. Pressure-wash surfaces

A home's siding — not to mention its porch, decks, steps and walks — will shine bright after you’ve sluiced away winter grit, dead bugs and cobwebs. Choose a washer setting powerful enough to blast mold and sludge but not so strong it lifts paint or splinters wood.

Budget: Renting a gas-powered pressure washer, about $80 a day

2. Tidy the porch

Did you realize that your home’s entry is a test? “‘If they can’t keep up the outside of the house, what are they hiding on the inside?’” is something Combs says she hears from buyers when confronted with dingy or messy home entries. Clean up your porch by removing household clutter and adding a pot of flowers or greenery.

Budget: Resin planter, $10 and up; plants and potting soil, $40 and up

3. Clean windows' exteriors

This job is easier than you’d think. Use an exterior window cleaning product that attaches to a hose, says Danny Watson, home and garden expert at The Home Depot. Spray the solution on exterior glass, then follow with clean water. Let the glass dry or squeegee it.

Budget: Cleaner, about $10; squeegee, $5 and up

4. Repaint the front door

Your home’s focal point is the front door. Repainting makes it pop. Watson says a premium one-coat exterior house paint pays off in time and effort saved, because it needs no priming.

A semigloss finish lets you wipe off smudges. Avoid high-gloss paint, which reveals imperfections. Consult your paint store or department for color advice and samples.

Budget: Gallon of premium exterior paint, about $45

5. Update the house numbers

New numbers are eye-catching. Go big and bold, at least 5 inches tall, Watson says. Decide where to place them by standing at the street and imagining you’re searching for your house.

Budget: Four numbers, approximately $30

6. Clean or replace porch lights

New porch lights can run as little as $30 each, Watson says. Consider a contemporary finish, such as black, brushed nickel or oiled brass.

On a strict budget? Watson likes using restoring wipes like those made by Rust-Oleum or Rejuvenate to renew oxidized, faded or dirty metal, resin and other hard surfaces.

Budget: New fixture, $30 and up; wipes, about $20

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