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Three Quick Easy and Low Cost Ways to Add Curb Appeal to Your House

Updated on May 25, 2016
MarleneB profile image

Marlene is a California real estate broker/REALTOR®, selling property since 1989. California Bureau of Real Estate License #01056418.

A freshly painted house is a great solution to adding curb appeal.
A freshly painted house is a great solution to adding curb appeal. | Source

Quick Easy and Cost Effective Curb Appeal

When you live in your house, after a while, the little things don’t bother you; in fact, over time you tend not to notice your house’s imperfections anymore. But, now you want to put your house on the market to sell and suddenly you start to see your house from the buyer’s point of view. Suddenly, the marks on the door where little Fido scratched away the paint isn’t cute anymore. And, that failing porch rail is really quite noticeable. Now that you’re seeing your house from a buyer’s point of view, you see your house could use some sprucing up.

I started selling homes in 1989 and although I retired and closed my real estate corporation in 2008, I still maintain an active REALTOR® license, allowing me to enjoy consulting with clients and writing about real estate on a regular basis. Curb appeal is the number one concept I share with sellers because curb appeal is the first impression a buyer receives when looking at the house from the curb.

You want to make your house attractive, yet if you are on a tight budget, you want to spend as little money as possible. Let me share three of the quickest, easiest, and least expensive ways to build curb appeal for your house. Yes, there are many more things that you could do to add curb appeal, but when you are in a hurry and need the best results with the least amount of money these three tips are truly effective.

White is Bright!

House with white trim.
House with white trim. | Source

Tip #1: Use Paint to Brighten up the House

You don’t have to paint the whole house. The first step, of course, is to wash the exterior of the house. The quick, easy, and cheapest solution is to paint only the trim. The color I suggest is white. Why? Because back in 1973 a bunch of psychologists and botanists got together and observed that the human mind is affected by color. Whether we realize it or not, we react to color.

Psychologists note that the color white is a color that people relate to pleasantness and cleanliness. No matter what color your house is, adding a white trim makes the house appear more inviting.

If your house is already white, there is nothing wrong with white trim on a white house. However, if you feel you must add a decorative trim, paint the trim an earth-toned color, such as beige, light brown, or a bolder terra cotta or green is attractive against a white house. When you are preparing your house to attract buyers, the key is to keep the house a color that is fairly neutral and accommodating.

Use Color Wheel Pro to Choose a Color Theme for Your Home

Use Color to Emotionally Invite People to Your Home

The people at Color Wheel Pro know all about color. Their software program is unique and may help you select a beautiful color theme for your house. You can try it free before buying.

Colors Conjure Emotions

The following table was compiled using information found on the Color Wheel Pro website. Visit Color Wheel Pro for more information about the positive and negative aspects of color.

The Effects of Color

Color:
Representation:
Red
Emotionally, red represents joy, passion, sensitivity, love, romance, friendship, vigor, leadership, and courage. Red is associated with harvest and fall.
Brown
Brown is a masculine color that represents seriousness and stability. Brown is usually associated with harvest and fall.
Orange
Orange represents prestige, wisdom, and wealth. Golden orange is usually associated with high quality.
Yellow
Yellow represents intellect, freshness, happiness, and joy. Yellow is a high energy color.
Green
Green is a color associated with nature. It is a soothing color. Aqua green is associated with emotional healing and protection and olive green is the traditional color of peace.
White
White represents perfection. White is associated with goodness, innocence, cleanliness, and purity.
Visit Color Wheel Pro for more information about these and other colors on the color wheel.

How-To Video: Painting the Exterior and Trim

The following video shows a few tasks that some home owners neglect when painting the house. Watch to see how easy it is to get great results when painting the exterior and trim.

How to Paint Exterior Trims and Windows

Trim Hedges and Trees

Trim hedges and trees so buyers can see the house.
Trim hedges and trees so buyers can see the house. | Source

Tip #2: Clean Up the Yard

Clean, clean, clean! I can’t stress this enough. Pick up trash. Get rid of clutter. Trim bushes and trees. People can’t see the house when you have stuff all over the place. Most likely you already have cleaning supplies on hand, so it shouldn't cost any money to clean. So, that’s cheap. Right?

  • Trash: This seems like such an obvious thing to do, but it’s worth mentioning. Pull the trash cans off the curb and place them where they can’t be seen from the front of the house. Pick up cigarette butts; better still, remove the ashtray from the front porch. Pick up the fast-food bag and soda bottles that some passerby rudely dumped on to your yard. I know you didn’t put it there, but a person driving by your house will see the trash before they see your house.

  • Clutter: They’re cute, but if you are trying to create curb appeal, it’s best to remove the garden gnomes, ceramic squirrels, owls, scarecrow, and such. Even though you may know the story behind the décor, someone driving by and looking at your home will be clueless. Your house may be beautiful, but the extra stuff you put out on your lawn to “express yourself” may drive someone away from being interested in seeing more of your home.
  • Trim: Trim the hedges. And, when you trim the hedges, trim them straight across the top or into a basic geometric shape such as a rectangle, triangle, or circle. These are recognizable shapes that people can immediately identify with when looking at your house. When people see something they recognize, they are comfortable, which makes your house more inviting. In other words, it welcomes them to your home.
  • Clean: Pull weeds and rake the lawn. Wash the dirt off the exterior of the house, porch, and sidewalks.

How-To Video: Trim Hedges and Shrubs

The following video is produced by Black & Decker and shows you how to trim hedges and shrubs.

How to Trim Hedges, Shrubs and Bushes

Add Curb Appeal to Front Yard Garden

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Plant flowers along the front of the house for added curb appeal. Decorative pots are also an easy solution.Pebbles can replace grass as a creative way to beautify your landscape.Redwood bark is a beautiful land cover in a flower garden.
Plant flowers along the front of the house for added curb appeal. Decorative pots are also an easy solution.
Plant flowers along the front of the house for added curb appeal. Decorative pots are also an easy solution. | Source
Pebbles can replace grass as a creative way to beautify your landscape.
Pebbles can replace grass as a creative way to beautify your landscape. | Source
Redwood bark is a beautiful land cover in a flower garden.
Redwood bark is a beautiful land cover in a flower garden. | Source
  • Pizzazz: If you have funds to devote to prettying up the front yard, purchase a few potted plants in bright, pleasant colors. If the pots are also colorful, you can simply place the pots directly on the ground instead of digging and planting them into the dirt.

    Depending on how far you want to stretch your curb appeal budget, for extra pizzazz, purchase some pebbles or redwood bark. Pebbles and redwood have earthy qualities. Placing them strategically in and around flower beds give focus to the area, providing a neat and tidy appearance.

Check Your City Ordinance Regarding Fences

Check with your city ordinance regarding fences. There may be a requirement to have a fence between property lines. In this case, your only alternative would be to fix or replace the fence.

Tip #3: Fix It or Nix It!

Old broken down dilapidated fittings are not attractive and turn some people away.

  • Fences: Fix or nix broken fences. If you have a broken fence and you don’t have the funds to fix the fence, then remove the fence.
  • Porches: Fix broken porch steps and stair rails. A nail here; a nail there; it’s not that expensive.
  • Hose Caddies: Fix tattered hose caddies or remove them. It's actually better to move the hose to the back yard or storage shed instead of storing it in the front yard.
  • Walkways: Repair cracks and even out the walkway. Not only does this improve the safety of visitors to your home, it looks more inviting to have a safe path to the doorway into your home.

If you are preparing your house for sale, look at it from the buyer's point of view. When a buyer looks at your house and sees impending repairs, it's a quick turn-off as the buyer begins to add up the cost of repairs before even taking a tour of your house's interior.

Add Color, Pizzazz, and Repairs for Curb Appeal

Whether you are preparing your house to attract buyers or you just want your house to be the envy of the neighborhood, paint what needs to be painted, add a little pizzazz where you can, and fix what needs to be fixed. These inexpensive tips help you add the kind of curb appeal that draws people to want to see more of what your house has to offer.

"Real estate information; clear and simple!"

Although retired from actively selling real estate,
Marlene Bertrand maintains a current Broker/REALTOR® status.
Calif. Bureau of Real Estate Lic. #01056418.

SOURCES:

Psychology Today - Why We Prefer Certain Colors

Psychology Today is a publication with editorial contributions from renowned psychologists, academics, psychiatrists, and authors in the field of psychology.

Color Wheel Pro - See Color Theory in Action

Color Wheel Pro is a software program developed by color expert Johannes Itten.

© 2014 Marlene Bertrand

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    • MarleneB profile image
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      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello peachpurple. Yes. Sometimes, just washing the house makes all the difference in the world.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i agree that painting and washing the old house could fetch a better price

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      You're so right, Perspycacious. If I could sum it up succinctly I would say, neat and tidy is the way to go.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Most of these same tips (except the garden hose!) can often apply to what potential buyers view inside the home, too. Good Hub.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello Margaret Schindel. Thank you for such a kind comment. Often, people don't think about adding curb appeal just for their own enjoyment.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Even though we have no current plans to sell our home, I am definitely interested in adding curb appeal to our house for our own visual enjoyment. You've packed a tremendous amount of valuable and practical information on how to do that in this superb article. Much appreciated!

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Thank you for your feedback FunScavengerHunts. Yes. Color is one of those things that can make a huge difference in how a house looks and feels.

    • FunScavengerHunts profile image

      Brett 2 years ago from Asia

      These are good practical tips that many people overlook. Color is a big factor. Despite being easily changed, I think people view the paintwork as a reflection of how well the house has been cared for.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hi Eiddwen. Thank you for your valuable feedback. I am glad this was helpful.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Interesting ,well informed and useful .Voting up and looking forward to many more.

      Eddy.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Thank you for your feedback, Writer Fox. You're right. With the number of houses to choose from and limited time to search for homes, buyers absolutely judge a house by the way it looks on the outside.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Your advice is excellent and often the curb-appeal can be the difference between a home which sells and one which does not. A house with deferred maintenance on the outside signals a buyer that there is more of the same thing on the inside and this can prevent potential buyers from even wanting a tour of the home. Enjoyed and voted up!

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hi randomcreative. Yes, they are quick and easy, also quite effective. Thank you for your positive feedback.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great resource, thanks! Useful tips and practical suggestions all the way around.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello DDE, it is amazing that such a simple element (painting) can add a lot of appeal to a house.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Three Quick Easy and Low Cost Ways to Add Curb Appeal to Your House has valuable information and is helpful to sales a definite point.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello CrisSp! Orange is one of those colors that people are normally afraid to try. But it is truly captivating. Your living room is going to look quite warm and inviting. Thank you, CrisSp for sharing this hub. It means a lot to me.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hi MsDora! I really like white. Now, with confirmation from the color experts, I can see why.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hi ChitrangadaSharan! I was doing a lot of traveling the last few months of the year. I'm back now for a while - missed my HubPages friends. It's good to be back.

      Thank you very much for your feedback.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Great, useful tips! We sold our house last summer and happy that we've sold it well for the asking price (and a bit more) and one of the reasons is indeed, the curb appeal. The fact that it's a corner house and the front and side lawns were really well maintained--pride of ownership! Thanks to my hubby whose hobby is gardening and fixing stuff. :)

      This summer, I plan to paint our living room with a touch of orange and I love it's effect according to this hub: "Orange represents prestige, wisdom, and wealth. Golden orange is usually associated with high quality." ~

      Voting up, pinning and sharing.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Great suggestions! I love white inside and out, though it is not always practical, but the sense of clean is appealing. I like the color effect chart. Thank you.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great hub with brilliant ideas and advice!

      I have lived in many places and many homes. That' s the way it is in transferable jobs. Therefore I can relate to this article.

      Wonderful, well researched hub, with so many details! Thanks!

      Nice to see you after a long time.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Hi Faith! I've moved a lot of times, too. It's such a chore to spruce up the house. But it has to be done. I use to ask sellers to stand across the street and look at their house as if it was a house they would consider buying for their mother. It usually helped people to see their house from a buyer's point of view.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Marlene,

      So great to see you here writing! Yes, I went through this three times and it wasn't until the last home, did I realize about curb appeal. LOL They even say to spruce up or change out one's mailbox and add a new doormat to be more welcoming and so we did. I did the inside of the home too with the staging part of selling the house and it worked!!! If one cannot even get anyone to stop and come in, then forget about it. LOL

      Up and more and sharing

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Thank you for your feedback, Cre8tor. Yes. I have found that in a lot of cases, less is more attractive. A touch up here and there makes a big difference in curb appeal.

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Dan Robbins 3 years ago from Ohio

      This is great advice particularly to a seller. Simple and low cost but adds a lot.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      It's all about appearances... from the curb, that is. Thanks so much for your comment.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Not buying or selling but I like my house to look good from the curb, thank you for great ideas.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Thank you for your feedback, Bill. Over the years, I worked mostly with buyers. Hearing their comments and seeing what elements attract them is what gives me the perspective from the buyer's point of view.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Lord knows I have moved enough times; I should know this by now. I estimated a few weeks ago that I have moved over twenty times and owned nine different homes along the way...so I'm speaking from experience when I say you know your stuff and you are right on! Good info, Marlene, stuff that can make a seller a good amount of cash.

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