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Add Instant Curb Appeal With Six Quick Fixes

Curb appeal is a buzz phrase that has been getting a lot of attention.

HGTV developed an entire show dedicated to the concept and real estate agents are quick to emphasize that it can make or break a sale. “Curb appeal absolutely remains one of the most important items on the ‘to do’ list when a homeowner is preparing his/her home for the market,” stated Nancy Wood, a Realtor with The Wood Team. “No matter the price point of the home, buyers formulate a first impression of home the moment they step out of their car.”

Below are a few suggestions on ways to maximize a home’s curb appeal.

Replace or Repaint Your Entry Door

The heart and soul of a home’s curb appeal begins at the front door. The easiest and most economical way to instantly update an entryway is to give the front door a fresh coat of paint. A number of options will make that front door pop. When choosing a color, just be sure to adhere to the color palette approved by your HOA. Wood also pointed out that it is important to pay attention to the door handle, which should be shined until it gleams or replaced if corroded. And don’t forget the doorbell. “At any list price, the plastic 20-year-old doorbells should be replaced! There are all kinds of pretty doorbells that cost less than $20,” Wood noted.

Replacing the existing entry door with one of the thousands of panel and glass combinations available on the market today can completely transform a home’s exterior. Prices vary from several hundred dollars for a standard steel door to several thousand dollars for a fiberglass entry system with decorative glass inserts. The good news is that entry doors offer the highest rate of return on the remodeling dollar.  According to the annual Cost vs. Value Report compiled by Remodeling.com, Tampa homeowners stand to recoup 149.9 percent of the purchase price of a steel door and 93.3 percent for fiberglass.

Update Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

“Coach lights (by the garage) and front door lights are also nice details that can really add personality and improve curb appeal easily and not necessarily expensively,” Wood stated. Lighting fixtures are available in a wide range of styles, finishes and price points and most can be installed relatively easily. “Try to coordinate them with your new door handle, if that is being replaced,” Wood advised.

Add Landscape Lighting

Curb appeal shouldn’t just apply to the daylight hours. That is where landscape lighting comes into play. Landscape lighting ranges from small solar lights that need no wiring to wall-mounted lights that are hardwired into a home’s electrical system. The type of lighting used will depend on the homeowner’s budget and desired effect.
When positioned properly, outdoor lighting can enhance a home’s architectural features and add a sense of drama to landscaping. Quality, low-voltage lighting can also extend the functionality of outdoor spaces after the sun goes down. Lights that illuminate the driveway, walkways and house numbers allow visitors to find a home safely and also help to deter would be intruders.

Make Use of Potted Plants

Potted plants offer a quick and cost-effective way to enhance existing landscaping and add a welcoming touch. The beauty of potted plants lies in their versatility. To add visual interest, create a container garden by grouping plants of various sizes and colors. Using pots in a variety of shapes and sizes will add to the effect. Or opt for eye-pleasing symmetry by flanking the home’s entryway with an orderly arrangement of identical potted plants. Rearrange the pots on occasion or add in seasonal plants to keep the look fresh.

Add Landscape Edging

In Florida, landscaping stays lush and green all year long – a definite plus for curb appeal. To enhance existing landscaping and give it a clean, defined look, consider adding landscape edging. Edging is not only attractive; it also keeps grass from encroaching onto garden beds, which reduces the amount of time spent on lawn maintenance.
Edging is available in a variety of options. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a material is to ensure that it will enhance the appearance of the home rather than compete with other elements.

Clean, Clean and Then Clean Again

When it comes to selling a home, a spotless interior is key; but cleaning on the outside is equally important. According to Wood, freshly pressure washed driveways and sidewalks, fresh and ample mulch, neatly trimmed shrubs and trees (palms and oaks), and neatly edged, healthy green grass make a great first impression.  The exterior of the home should be sparkling clean, or as Wood advised, freshly painted, and don’t forget the roofline. “Check those gutters and drip edges,” Wood recommended.  She also advises homeowners to take a peek at their front door and the entry way for spider webs and mud daubers.

Incorporating just a few finishing touches goes a long way when it comes to adding curb appeal. Whether it is simply adding a few potted plants or selecting a new entry door system, be sure to review your HOA modification guidelines and get the proper approval before making any changes to the exterior of your home.

by Karen Ring

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