If you’re planning to sell a home in spring, prepare now for the crucial (and fun) job of luring home shoppers. Homes that look loved and well-maintained get more attention — and first impressions matter: “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.
These six quick, budget-minded projects help boost your home’s curb appeal. Each takes a weekend at most, and starting early gives you time to prepare for your sale.
1. Pressure-wash the siding
A home and its porch, decks, steps and walks 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. Primp 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?’” 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; plants and potting soil, $40
3. Clean exterior windows
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. Shoot the solution on exterior glass, followed by a spray of clean water. Let the glass dry or squeegee it.
Budget: Cleaner, $10; squeegee, $5
4. Repaint the front door
Your home’s focal point is the front door. Repainting makes it sing. Watson says a premium one-coat exterior house paint pays off in time and effort saved, because it needs no priming. A semi-gloss 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 paint, about $35
5. Update 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, $30
6. Clean or replace porch lights
New porch lights 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 hard surfaces.
Budget: New fixture $30 and up; wipes $20