A very neat American house with gorgeous outdoor landscape. Northwest, USA.

Whether you need to spruce up the yard or give the front door a color that pops, working on your curb appeal can have a big impact when trying to attract homebuyers. (Getty Images)

After investing a considerable amount of money in your home, you certainly want it to always look its best. This is especially the case if you're thinking about putting your house up for sale. Curb appeal is crucial when it comes to conveying a sense of taste and style for your home and is conducive to supporting a more premium price tag.

There are eight exterior home improvement tactics that you need to seriously consider to enhance the curb appeal of your home. Many of the strategies presented here can be undertaken as relatively easy do-it-yourself projects. Others can be accomplished with professional assistance in a short amount of time and within a reasonable budget.

[See: 7 Tips for Updating Your House in an Up-and-Coming Neighborhood.]

Improve the Entryway

When it comes to curb appeal, many people focus on the entryway. The reality is that potential buyers visiting your home will spend more time at your entryway than anywhere else at the front of your residence.

If the door or anything else at the entryway is in disrepair or worn, the time may have come to replace the front door – and make the fix soon. At a minimum, you'll want to consider giving the entryway to your home, including the door, a fresh coat of paint. If you want to change the look of your exterior, merely changing the color of your front door can be enough of an alteration to result in your house's facade having a whole new look.

You also want to add a few other attractive touches to your entryway or front porch. Depending on the size, add a couple of well-crafted chairs and a complementary table. Small additions including a wreath or potted plant are also smart and understated options.

When sprucing up the porch and entryway, keep in mind that this is the passage point between the outdoors and the heart of your home. Make certain that your entryway selections harmonize with what you have done with your interior decor as well.

Install Landscape Lighting

If you're like most homeowners, you've spent at least some time and money on landscaping for the front of your house. You may be interested in making at least some landscaping-related improvements. One of the simplest and most impactful steps you can take is to install landscape lighting.

Landscape lighting offers you a wide array of placement options: Elect to install lighting that will highlight trees on the premises, illuminate a walkway or light up the exterior of the house itself.

You can elect to have landscaped lighting hardwired. This may constrain your efforts to some degree, but taking this route ensures steadier and more reliable illumination.

The alternative is to install either battery-powered or solar-powered lights. With either, you have more flexibility as to where and how you install landscape lighting on your property. However, be mindful that the lights have a consistent power source. A missing or broken light within a series of lights can really stand out, and not in a flattering way.

Add Security Lighting

The addition of security lighting at your residence can enhance curb appeal in a practical way. In this day and age, people are becoming more security conscious.

Consider placing lighting around the perimeter of your residence itself, adding floodlights or spotlights at key locations around the property including walkways and entry points, and schedule them to turn on and off at specific times or by motion detection.

Security cameras have become relatively affordable and are a worthwhile investment to provide comprehensive monitoring of the home, even remotely, and deter unwanted intruders. Although many of the newer models have night vision capabilities, it would be ideal to install these within proximity of the lighting coverage.

[Read: 6 Tips for Properly Caring for Your New Construction Home.]

Add Easy Landscaping

While on the subject of landscaping, perhaps the front of your house is a bit lacking when it comes to foliage. You can go the container garden route to increase and coordinate the placement of vegetation around the front of your home. The local garden store will most likely have an array of different types of containers that you can mix and match to create a beautiful presentation around the exterior of your home.

In most cases, an asymmetrical and staggered approach to placement results in a stunning, vibrant look. In addition, adding landscaping in this manner represents another curb appeal enhancement strategy and can be undertaken as a DIY project.

Make Over the Mailbox

If your mailbox is at the curb of your residence itself, take action to enhance curb appeal by giving the mailbox box a makeover. A mailbox project can have an understated, positive impact on the look and appeal of the front of your home.

The options available to you in regard to making over your mailbox can be as simple as replacing the box itself. There are plenty of fun and stylish options available at most home improvement centers like Home Depot or Lowe's. You can also consider having a mailbox custom designed to be a replica of your house.

Another step you can take to enhance the appearance of your mailbox and your home is to plant a small garden around the post, transforming the mailbox into a pleasing anchor to a garden that can feature vibrant flowers.

Install Window Boxes

If your overall residential design harmonizes with the addition of window boxes, consider installing some to complement the front windows of your home. With window boxes, you are able to present different types of plants on a seasonal basis, adding an eye-catching vibrancy to the property from the street.

Install Shutters

In the same vein as window boxes, if you have a residence with a style that harmonizes with shutters, consider adding them as a means of enhancing the curb appeal of your home. There is a wide variety of different types of shutters and designs you can typically find at your local home improvement center. In addition, if you're so inclined, you can even have shutters custom made and installed for your home that use sophisticated, automated mechanisms.

[Read: Can Your HOA Regulate Your Holiday Decor?]

Refresh Painting, Siding and Trim

An exterior home improvement tactic that applies to many houses is refreshing paint, siding and trim. Especially if you're planning to put your house on the market and haven't updated the exterior paint or repaired siding in a while, taking the time for these projects – which may require a professional to make sure it's done right – is a must.

If you're interested in making a more noticeable change to the look of your home, pick a different color for the exterior of the house, changing the siding or do something more subtle, like altering trim color.


The Best Time of Year for Every Home Improvement Project

A renovation project for each season

(Getty Images)

Homeownership comes with a never-ending list of home improvement projects, and being able to time them right can be tricky. Ultimately, the best time for a home improvement project is when you have the time. But if you’re eager to plan projects to set yourself up for success, consider which season has the right weather patterns, minimizes future maintenance issues and makes it easiest to hire professionals. Read on for the best time of year for 12 home improvement projects.

Interior paint

Interior paint

Close up of unrecognizable house painter pouring paint while preparing it for home decoration.

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Winter

The benefit of painting inside is that you have air conditioning and heating. “We paint interiors all year-round because of that climate control,” says Tina Nokes, co-owner of Five Star Painting in Loudoun County, Virginia, which is a part of Neighborly, a network of home service providers. Your biggest concern when it comes to a quality indoor paint job is humidity – so if you’re in the middle of a humid summer, it’ll take longer for a room to dry and it will dry unevenly. If you’re worried about humidity levels inside, paint your interior rooms during the winter, when the air is driest.

Electrical updates

Electrical updates

Electrician cutting wires in home

(Paul Bradbury/Getty Images)

Best time of year: Winter

Electrical work can happen just about any time of year, unless it’s during rain or a thunderstorm, for obvious safety reasons, explains Dennis Burke, owner of Mr. Electric of Southeast New Hampshire, which is also a Neighborly company. What truly makes winter a winner for electrical updates is that you’ll be avoiding the bulk of competing homeowners. Burke says late spring and early summer see a big influx of requests from clients, as well as late summer as people go on vacation. “Labor Day to Thanksgiving is also really busy,” he says.

Building a deck

Building a deck

handsome young man carpenter installing a wood floor outdoor terrace in new house construction site

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Winter

An outdoor project like a backyard deck seems like a natural undertaking for summer, but it’s actually just the opposite. Deck builders and contractors report that pressure-treated wood, which is best for building a deck, stabilizes best when humidity is low. Additionally, the increased sun exposure in summer can cause the surface of a deck to crack, and cloudier winter days help avoid early damage. If you live in a particularly cold climate, aim for early winter to avoid the bulk of snowfall and temperatures that are too cold for contractors to work outside.

Full-room remodel

Full-room remodel

New bathroom cabinets with granite countertopsBathroom renovation and granite installation

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Winter or spring

Remodeling or updating a well-loved room in your home can happen any time of year, but it’s best to be proactive and avoid higher labor costs or jampacked contractor schedules during the summer months. HomeAdvisor reports that July is the busiest month for bathroom remodel requests, with 48 percent of homeowners indicating they’re ready to hire and start work immediately. Avoid the rush by scheduling your remodel earlier in the year.

Cleaning out gutters

Cleaning out gutters

Cleaning your gutters and inspecting your basement can help you become better-prepared for a disaster

(iStockPhoto)

Best time of year: Early spring and fall

The gutters along your roofline collect leaves, twigs and other debris over time. When they get too full, the drains can clog and cause water to sit along the edges of the roof and get inside the house or continue to weigh down the gutters. Avoid any problems by cleaning out your gutters in the fall, when leaves are most likely to make their way in, and again in early spring so the path for water is clear before April showers roll in. If you're not comfortable on a ladder or you have a high roofline, consider hiring professional help that will take proper safety precautions.

New floors

New floors

Man installing wood flooring in home.

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Spring or fall

The best time to install wood flooring is during parts of the year with the least extreme conditions. In spring and fall, you'll avoid peak humidity and dry air, both of which can cause problems like bowing and warped wood or cracking in too-dry conditions. Plus, you can open windows to ventilate the smell of wood stain or carpet adhesive, and you’re least likely to have the heat or air cranking in spring and fall.

Updating a deck or fence

Updating a deck or fence

Staining a brand new fence. DIY home improvement concepts.

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Spring, summer or fall

The wood on a deck may fare better in winter, but staining a deck or painting a fence often requires additional weather consideration. “Decks and fences are a little more finicky (than painting a house exterior). We need it to be even warmer, around 40 to 50 degrees,” Nokes says. A good deck staining or painting company will recommend a timeline specific to temperatures where you live to avoid an incomplete, delayed or flawed project.

Exterior paint

Exterior paint

Caucasian man painting house

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Late spring, summer, early fall

New paint will freshen up the look of your exterior walls, and painting is a doable project for a decent chunk of the year. Temperatures have to stay above 35 degrees for exterior painting, so in the early days of spring and late days of fall, weather-dependent work may be delayed if temperatures drop. For this reason, Nokes keeps clients on a watch list: “If we get a warm snap, I’ll call them right away,” she says.

Home addition

Home addition

Renovate and repair residential house facade wall with mineral wool insulation, plastering, painting wall outdoors. Remodeling House Construction with asphalt shingles roof. House renovation.

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Late spring, summer, early fall

For outdoor work, it’s best to avoid the seasons that will bring inclement weather and delay the project. Plan for the project to begin after the chance of snow in your region has passed, and shoot for a completion date before the frost returns in the fall to reduce the chances of delays. But be sure to schedule all professionals well in advance. In fact, Burke says a month to two months’ advance notice is often needed for electricians to complete an estimate, plan a contract and schedule work.

Roof repair and replacement

Roof repair and replacement

Installing new roof with  nail gun and shingles

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Summer, early fall

It’s a given that you don’t want people working on your roof in icy or wet conditions. As a result, the best time of year for roof repair or replacement is also when the professionals are busiest. Be sure to plan roof replacement a month or two in advance to avoid having to wait with possible leaks causing damage to the inside of your home.

HVAC care

HVAC care

Hands Changing Furnace Air Filter

(iStockphoto)

Best time of year: Early fall

Any repairs to your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system should be done as soon as you notice an issue, but if you’re planning to do routine maintenance, schedule a professional long before you’ll need to turn on the heat. That way, any potential problems that could leave you without heat are found and fixed before the first cold nights of the season. The same goes for air conditioning in the late spring and summer.

New appliances

New appliances

(Getty Images)

Best time of year: Fall

Consumers can expect everything from washing machines and oven ranges to refrigerators to sport discounts leading up to the holidays. Even if you’re not updating your kitchen until May (and your home can accommodate an extra oven or fridge for five months), keep an eye out for deals. Stores that sell appliances like Sears, Lowe’s and Home Depot are known to regularly offer holiday weekend deals.

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Tags: real estate, housing, home improvements, existing home sales, pending home sales


Sally Forster Jones is recognized as one of the top real estate brokers in Southern California. Forster Jones is an expert in the luxury real estate market in Los Angeles and internationally. Her extensive knowledge ranges from residential sales, luxury and architecturally significant properties to new developments and commercial transactions.

She is currently Executive Director of Luxury Estates with Compass in Beverly Hills, California. Her team, SFJ Group, is comprised of agents and a full-service staff ranging across experienced marketing, listing, transaction, and operation experts.

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