Your home is gorgeous on the inside — neat, updated, modern — because you’ve taken all the right steps to make it that way. All those trips to the local home improvement store and weekend warrior projects have finally paid off. At last, you have the home interior of your dreams.
Bring on the overnight guests.
But wait — have you taken a close look at your home’s exterior lately? Chipped or fading paint, a single shutter that hangs off-plumb, a lawn that’s just patches of dandelions interrupted by the occasional blade of grass — these are all negatives in the real estate market. And whether you’re hoping to sell your home in the near future, or you plan on passing it down to the next generation thirty years from now, problems like these need to be addressed, and quickly. Believe it or not, your property value affects the value of your neighbor’s home as well. And unless you want to be famous for having the tired-looking home on the block, you must pay close attention to your home’s exterior.
They call it curb appeal, and it’s more important than you think. If you’re a lucky condo owner, a property management company will maintain and beautify the amenities and common areas in your community for you. But if that’s not the case, don’t worry, there are five easy ways to improve your home’s exterior beauty that will bring you a decent return on your investment dollars.
Mow, Trim, Repeat
While there are no fast and hard numbers linked to the ROI when you focus on curb appeal, a conservative estimate runs between 5 and 20 percent just on landscaping alone, according to The Washington Post. But if you know where to spend your money wisely, it’s possible to glean a much higher ROI — as high as 1000 percent. While that’s not typical, it is possible, says John Gidding, architect, interior designer, and host of HGTV’s popular show, “Curb Appeal.”
Landscaping is huge when it comes to increasing your home’s overall value, and a rule of thumb involves spending a minimum of 10 percent of your home’s value on ramping up your yard if you want to do it right. But even if that type of project isn’t in the budget, there are still simple fixes you can make to your lawn to improve its overall appearance.
- Break out the weed trimmer on a regular basis and make sure all your edges are neat and tidy.
- Keep everything mowed on time.
- If possible, keep your lawn watered.
- Be aggressive with weed control –- preferably without the use of harsh chemicals.
- Invest in attractive mulch around edges and flower beds.
- Draw attention to your front entrance with potted or planted annuals to add seasonal color.
But if you do happen to have that extra little nest egg to invest in landscaping, hire a professional landscaping company. They’re the ones who know when to seed, aerate, and mulch your lawn to keep it looking its best year-round. They’ll also help you keep insects such as ticks and mosquitos at bay. Find more landscaping tips here.
Beautify Your Front Door (And Get a 75 percent ROI)
Front doors are relatively inexpensive, but do they ever pack a punch. If yours is tired and faded, you could paint it. But chances are if it’s old enough to look haggard and worn, it’s probably not energy-efficient. Today’s modern doors not only look nice, but they’re reinforced for safety and shave dollars off your monthly energy bill as well.
According to Houselogic, replacing a worn front door has a big impact — not only on curb appeal, but on resale value too. A moderately priced steel door can give your home added security and energy efficiency for around $2000. And up to 75 percent of that is typically recouped when you decide to sell your home.
Side with the Experts
How’s your siding? Is it peeling? Is it cracked? Are there holes where wood ought to be? If so, you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to improve your home’s appearance at an affordable cost. According to Realtor.com, replacing worn siding and windows are two of the most important exterior projects for homeowners who are looking to sell their homes at optimum market price. Done professionally, these two projects can net you up to a 78 percent return on your initial investment. And if you opt for fiber cement siding as a replacement, expect to get up to an 87 percent ROI. Fiber cement siding can be designed to mimic cedar shingles, stucco or clapboard, but with added longevity. This material never rots, is termite-resistant and won’t need to be painted again for a good 25 years, says Mother Earth News.
Deck Out Your Home
A deck addition ranked number 7 on the list of the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report compiled by realtors. This is a list of the top renovation projects that bring you the best return on your investment during a home sale. Adding a deck increases the square footage of your living space. It also gives you a nice setting for entertaining friends on a warm summer night. According to the report published at Remodeling, you’ll get more for your renovation dollar if you construct a deck made of wood as opposed to one made from composite. A wooden deck requires more maintenance, but if you use top-quality materials such as ipe (Brazilian Walnut) or mahogany, expect to collect at least a 75 percent return.
Add a Stony Exterior
Replacing the lower portion of siding with manufactured stone is another home improvement that ups your curb appeal. This project also made the Cost vs. Value report, coming in at a steady number 13. Covering the lower one-third of your home’s exterior in manufactured stone costs less than a roof replacement and can yield a ROI as high as 92 percent.
Probably the most important factor to keep in mind when conquering your home’s curb appeal is that improvements that add functionality have greater value than ones that are merely cosmetic. By maintaining a healthy lawn and providing a deck, you’re creating additional living space for your family and friends to spend quality time outdoors. Replacing doors, windows and siding improves your home’s energy efficiency. And manufactured brick or stone is not only attractive, but it has the added advantages of being fire resistant and requiring much lower maintenance than traditional siding, according to Angie’s List. If you take time to consider which renovation dollars will bring the most enjoyment both to your family and to future families who might live there, your home will quickly become the envy of the block.