Rejuvenating the outside of your home in slow real estate market

Ownerly

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Luxury house with beautiful landscaping.(shutterstock/ppa)

Sprucing up the front of your home shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Putting in the extra effort for outdoor renovation makes a great first impression and can pay off during resale, particularly in times of market slowdowns. Realtor Magazine reports the extra elbow grease can add up to 7% to your home’s value compared to similar homes without the same touch-ups.

Looking to jump in but aren’t sure where to start? Consider these DIY options:

Paint your front door

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your front door. Check magazines and keep an eye out for other area homes to see what colors are in style for your neighborhood. While the popularity of some colors may come and go, being aware of what’s hot can help give you an edge when rejuvenating the outside of your home—particularly if you’re looking to list it on the market soon.

“Adding a new front door colour and a touch of black to the exterior of a home can renew the overall feel of your house immediately as door colour catches the eye, and any black element like planters, a door knocker, or a number sign add a grounding touch so it feels more stable or secure,” said Jane Lockhart, Principal of Jane Lockhart Design.

Update hardware and house numbers

Crisp and clean door handles, deadbolts and house numbers can make a big difference when viewing the outside of your home. Weather, day-to-day handling and time all take their toll on these components, and refreshing them brings fresh energy to your doorstep.

Add some green

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Baskets of hanging petunia flowers on balcony(shutterstock/Helen Sushitskaya)

Potted plants, trellises with climbers and hanging baskets are all great ways to spruce up your front step without spending a fortune. Some of these pieces may be seasonal and are a temporary investment, but fixtures and well-made pots can be reused and repurposed from season to season.

Add a doormat

It’s a simple touchup, but it can work wonders welcoming people to your home. Plus, what better way to help keep your floors and carpets clean than by having guests wipe their feet upon entry?

Update your mailbox

Adding a mailbox is a fun way to personalize your home with a permanent fixture you’ll use for years. These can be basic, simple features or they can lean on your favorite hobbies for inspiration.

With a range of options that fit various budgets, the sky and your creativity are the limits when choosing what to install. You could even use leftover paint from retouching your front door to help your mailbox match your home’s motif.

Add window boxes and shutters

Window boxes are a great way to personalize and rejuvenate your home with lasting curb appeal. Choose a window box that matches your home and has a large, deep basin with drainage holes, so plants stay well watered throughout hot summer days.

Realtor.com suggests adding plants that wow by following the rule of “thriller, filler, and spiller,” so you’ll have plenty of colors, a full box and a dramatic pour-over effect that’ll look great throughout the season. Once your window box is well established for the year to come, make sure to follow up with regular watering and fertilizing.

For ambitious homeowners open to adding additional, permanent fixtures, what’s better than installing shutters on either side to help frame your new greenery?

“There is almost nothing worse than seeing an item that is supposed to accent a home looking faded or in disarray,” said Devon Bullard of Bullard Exteriors. “Shutters are one of the easier things to paint as they are usually only one color and are accessible on most homes. Whether you have a professional do it or you choose to take a few hours and make it happen, the results will be worth it.”

Put up door decorations

Whether you’re considering a seasonal wreath, a monogrammed installation or something ritzier, door decorations are an excellent way to spruce up your entryway without breaking the budget.

Hang a flag

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traditional style clapboard house with large porch and American flag(shutterstock/Spiroview Inc)

Hanging a flag doesn’t have to be an all-day project, and it can be added to your home via a flag pole or a wall-mounted bracket. Installing this fixture can easily help take your front step to the next level. Show off support for local sports teams, schools, political causes or the good old fashioned red, white and blue.

Light up paths and walkways

Adding lights to paths and walkways creates a welcoming, safe route straight to your front door or backyard. This looks great and helps prevent any trips, slips or falls during inclement weather, thanks to the boosted visibility.

“Sometimes all a space needs is an ambiance refresh, and well-planned outdoor lighting is the perfect way to do that,” said Allison Vaccaro, co-founder of brick&batten, a virtual exterior design company. “The right combination of outdoor fixtures will highlight your home’s assets, showcase the landscaping, and create appealing and welcoming curb appeal.”

What’s better is it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Solar lights can easily be installed for a budget-friendly price. For more ambitious homeowners who would prefer a wired installation that isn’t weather dependent, there are plenty of DIY kits out there to take advantage of alongside educational YouTube tutorials.

If you have the budget for a professional installation and don’t feel comfortable with the level of effort involved in a DIY job, it’s worth reaching out to a landscape-lighting specialist for a quote and their recommendations.

Add a garden bed

Add a garden bed and make use native species while you’re at it. According to the US Forest Service, native species are hardier and better suited to local climates. They are less water intensive than non-local counterparts and promote biodiversity while reducing air pollution. They even have the extra benefit of supporting native bird, bug and bee populations!

Polish up your walkways

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Manicured House and Garden displaying annual and perennial gardens in full bloom.(shutterstock/fotocraft)

Does the walkway leading to your front door look startlingly naked and barren? Take a stab at livening it up by digging up the nearby grass and laying brickwork or masonry, mulch and perennials. Perennials are plants that are sure to return year after year, giving a beautiful first impression to guests, family and prospective buyers.

“Cleaning up is the first and cheapest way to rejuvenate the exterior of your home,” said D. Shane Whitteker of Principle Home Mortgage. “If you have unsightly landscaping that needs to be tamed or if you just need to clean up outside, or both, this can make a big difference in the curb appeal of your home. Next would be cleaning the siding and exterior windows. You can buy a spray to do this with a garden hose or power washer, or you can make your own mix. There are also contractors that will come to your home and provide exterior cleaning services.”

Maintain your lawn (and edge garden beds, too)

Maintaining your lawn and keeping weeds to a minimum goes a long way when rejuvenating the outside of your home. It shows pride, love and care in your yard. The extra step of edging along any stonework, fencing or your home itself can take a nice lawn and make it truly posh.

Make way for nature

Bird feeders, bird baths, birdhouses, bee and butterfly hotels and more are all great ways to support local wildlife while adding curb appeal. Not only can you bring native species to your door, which is great for the environment, but it also makes for a picturesque view while enjoying your morning coffee.

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