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

Updated on March 30, 2019
MarleneB profile image

Marlene is a California real estate broker who has been selling property since 1989. California Real Estate License number 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 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

Emotionally, red represents joy, passion, sensitivity, love, romance, friendship, vigor, leadership, and courage. Red is associated with harvest and fall.
Brown is a masculine color that represents seriousness and stability. Brown is usually associated with harvest and fall.
Orange represents prestige, wisdom, and wealth. Golden orange is usually associated with high quality.
Yellow represents intellect, freshness, happiness, and joy. Yellow is a high energy color.
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 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

The following DIY video is an excellent step-by-step process to show you how to trim hedges like a pro.

How to Trim Hedges (DIY Landscape Tutorial)

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.


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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