Your home’s exterior plays a huge role in attracting buyers. Even in a seller’s market, it’s important to commit to the kind of curb appeal that will make a great first impression. Fortunately, there are ways to improve curb appeal without having to commit to huge home improvement projects. Let’s look at five ways to create curb appeal on a budget, from easiest to hardest to do.
1. Buy a nice, welcoming doormat ($5–$150)
The easiest way to create curb appeal is as simple as throwing down a nice, welcoming doormat. While you could go big with doormats priced at $150, you can also find less-expensive doormats at your local big-box store that do the same thing.
Something as simple as a doormat that says Welcome is a great way to start building curb appeal. It shows buyers that they’re welcome in your home—a home that could be theirs—which builds both trust and comfort.
The only thing to avoid if you purchase a new doormat is personalizing it. Keep the message simple and generic (or choose no message at all). That way, you’re adding an element of kindness while still depersonalizing the home.
2. Tidy up your lawn by cutting and cleaning ($0–$20)
Your home’s landscaping is one of the most important parts of creating curb appeal. And unless your lawn is in extremely bad shape, you likely won’t need to hire a landscaping company to create strong curb appeal.
An easy and free way to create curb appeal is by simply cleaning up your lawn and landscaping. Regular mowing and edging—especially around any walkways—can help keep your lawn looking strong. And if you own a mulching mower, you can let grass clippings lie and return nutrients to your lawn.
This is important because even in a seller’s market, buyers will still hold out on a home if they think they have to do a lot of maintenance once they move in. A healthy lawn provides buyers with confidence.
If you have trees or shrubs in your front yard, make sure you prune them. You may need to buy yard waste bags for this kind of job, but those are inexpensive.
3. Power wash your exterior surfaces ($50–$1,000+)
Dirty or grimy walkways and driveways can be a big turnoff to buyers. Over the years, your exterior surfaces have likely dulled from dirt and weather. A quick power wash is an excellent way to brighten those surfaces and improve curb appeal.
Consider using a power washer on concrete sidewalks and front porches, aluminum and wood siding, and especially wood decks.
You could buy a power washer for $1,000 or more, which may not be budget friendly. Fortunately, many local hardware stores allow you to rent a power washer for a daily rate, sometimes for as little as $50 a day.
Just know that many homeowners like to power wash in the spring. Plan ahead if you intend to rent one, since availability can be tricky during peak seasons.
4. Clean your windows and fixtures ($20–$300)
If there’s anything to keep spotless, it’s your windows and outdoor fixtures. Dirty windows can make even the best-kept homes look drab and uninviting. Grimy or cobwebby fixtures can reduce light and make the home look like a haunted house!
A common mistake that homeowners make when washing their outside windows is using a garden hose for hard-to-reach spots. Hose water usually has lots of minerals in it. Those minerals can wear your panes down and leave residue. Instead, you want to use purified water ideally, along with a microfiber sponge or cloth to dry. Check out our window-care article for more tips.
Of course, foregoing a hose can be challenging for out-of-reach windows. If you can’t safely reach outside panes, you may need to hire a professional to get the cleanliness you need for great curb appeal. Fortunately, the average cost of a professional cleaning runs about $40 to $75 an hour.
As a final note, make sure you change any outdoor lightbulbs before they burn out.
5. Clean your gutters, and repair or replace them as necessary ($0–$2,220)
Another way to improve your home’s curb appeal is by cleaning your gutters. Gutters stuffed with debris are easy to notice. They’re also an invitation for serious mold and structural damage problems. If a buyer notes unclean gutters, they may wonder how long they’ve been like that and how that affects the inside of the home.
Cleaning your gutters is a routine part of home ownership (and free if you have or borrow a ladder). For tips on how to best clean your gutters, read our article, “How to Maintain Your Home’s Gutters.”
The hard part is when you need to repair or replace your gutters. It’s so important for your home’s curb appeal that your gutters look good and don’t hang in ways they shouldn’t.
While a few homeowners may want to make this a DIY project, we recommend calling a professional to repair or replace broken gutters. According to Angi (formerly Angie’s List), the average cost to replace gutters falls between $1,600 and $2,175. Though that’s a decent amount of money, it’s much less than having to resolve foundation or mold issues that poor gutter systems can cause.
Create curb appeal, and consider a home warranty
Creating curb appeal matters. There are several other ways to create curb appeal (e.g., replacing your front door and mailbox), but these are the least expensive and time consuming in general.
As you dedicate time to your curb appeal, consider a home warranty from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW). In addition to curb appeal, buyers prefer homes that work well when they move in. A home warranty protects major systems and appliances against routine breakdowns. That can go a long way in enticing buyers to consider your home.
2-10 HBW offers the most comprehensive home warranty coverage for homeowners. Let us help you protect your home.