You’ve heard it said a thousand times before that, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” It’s sound advice worth following, whether you’re networking, interviewing for a job or meeting people for the first time.
It’s also good advice that you can apply to your home. In just seconds after pulling up in front of your home for the first time, your visitors will form an opinion of your property that could last forever.
To make sure you create that first impression you’re striving for, all it takes is a little curb appeal.
You don’t have to bust the budget to pull it off, either. A few fixes here and a few touches there, and you’ll set the entire neighborhood abuzz.
Ready to get started? Here are 10 ideas to make your home pop with pride:
Walk the walk
Cracked or narrow walkways are turnoffs. They also aren’t a great advertisement for the rest of your home. To create a more inviting home, repair the path or create a new one with more visual interest. If the latter, break up the path with bands of bricks. Also, avoid straight lines or monotonously lining your path with Malibu lights. You’re not landing an airplane, after all.
Keep it light
Start by cleaning and shining all the light fixtures leading up to and around the front door. It’s amazing what your work will reveal. Also, consider swapping out dull or lifeless lightbulbs for ones that cast a warmer glow.
Go with the flow
Choose upgrades that keep with the style of your home. Don’t fall into the trap of buying something that may work functionally but is a disaster aesthetically — even if you can get it for half off. For example, don’t mix double-hung windows often associated with Craftsman-style homes with sliders found in Mid-century-style homes. Pick materials, shapes, colors, and textures that complement and enhance the theme of your home.
Let it breathe
When dressing up the front with hedges, trees, and shrubs, resist the temptation to create an instant, lush landscape. Space your plantings far enough apart so they have room to spread their wings.
Create a showstopper
Give your front door a new coat of paint. Add a contrasting color for the trim. Be bold. If you don’t like the results, experiment with other colors. Paint is still relatively inexpensive.
Master the details
Why not accessorize that freshly painted door with a new doormat or doorknocker or a porch bench? For another touch of brilliance, add some shiny new brass address numbers to the lamppost.
Declutter, fix, cut and clean
Remove tired or faded chairs, couches, and other eyesores, and, by all means, box up any decorations that overextended their holiday stay. Fix gates that don’t properly close or latch. Mow the lawn and trim the trees, bushes, and hedges. Lastly, power-wash the driveway, walkway, porch, gutters, eaves, and railings to free your home of grit and grime that can easily accumulate, especially if you live near a freeway or busy intersection. When power-washing wood and vinyl surfaces, reduce the water pressure to avoid chipping painted surfaces.
Consider adding a multi-trunk tree, like an olive tree or Japanese maple, to create more visual interest and excitement in your front yard. An attractive tree can serve as a living sculpture to welcome all your visitors.
Upgrade the garage door
According to “Remodeling” magazine’s 2018 Cost v. Value Report, it indicated that in 46 of the 100 individual markets surveyed, an upscale garage door replacement actually recoups more than 100 percent of the cost. If you feel your garage door already enhances your home, spare the expense. Just make sure it’s clean.
Come full circle
Consider adding a few ribbons of grass or stone to break up that monolithic slab of concrete, otherwise known as your driveway. To tie everything together, play off the highlights and improvements you made to your walkway.
If you invest the time and elbow grease to give your home more curb appeal, your efforts may be rewarded with a higher home valuation, which could help you receive a higher payout on your reverse mortgage loan and/or a better offer if and when you decide to sell your home.