Cindy Lin, Founder, Staged4more

Hi, Welcome to Our School of Home Staging!

After a successful, 12+ years run as a home staging company in San Francisco Bay Area, STAGED4MORE is now an online school that focuses on home staging education for home stagers, home sellers and real estate agents.

Please take some time and check out all the free resources and tips available on our blog & podcast, as well as our courses selections.

9 Simple Projects You Can Do This Afternoon to Boost Curb Appeal

9 Simple Projects You Can Do This Afternoon to Boost Curb Appeal

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Hello, March!

This is the time when the real estate market is heating up. Everyone is getting ready to put their listings on the market. While preparing your home for sale, curb appeal is crucial in getting potential buyers through the door for the open house. Remember, the buyer’s first impression is the only impression (tweet this!).

Worry not - here are nine simple projects you can do in an afternoon to boost your curb appeal without breaking the bank. Even though these projects may seem like small actions, they will go a long way in boosting your curb appeal. By working to boost your curb appeal, you are showing that you take pride in caring for your home.

1. Paint your door and add a welcoming wreath.

An attractive door can not only make a statement about the home, it is also the focal point of the face of the house. It draws the buyer’s attention in, and it is the first thing they will see up close before they even set foot inside of the home. A welcoming front entry is the biggest factor for setting the tone for the open house.

Want to see some inspiration for your front doors? Check out our Pinterest Board here.

Paint is going to your new best friend when it comes to preparing your home for sale. A fresh coat of paint is the quickest and simplest face lift you can give to your home. According to a HomeGain 2012 study, painting the interior will give you a 107% of ROI (return on investment) and painting the exterior will give you a 55% ROI.

A gallon of paint will cost you between $15-$30 and a couple hours of your time (depending on the project), which is very affordable. You can not only use paint to change the color and touch up interior walls, trims, and moldings, you can also use paint to refresh exterior hardware (such as the mailbox, house numbers, light fixtures, flower boxes, etc.)

Not sure what colors to paint? Here is an article that can give you a few ideas: What Colors Should I Use to Paint My Front Door?

You can also add an attractive wreath to welcome the buyers. It’s going to set you back about $20-$50.

2. Refresh the exterior hardware if needed.

Things like house numbers, the mailbox, front porch lighting, and even the door knob and the door knocker can be impacted by wear and tear of outside elements. If the conditions are still pretty good, you can touch up or repaint the hardware to refresh it. If the overall style is outdated, you can install new ones very inexpensively.

Depending on the style and the brand:

  • Individual house numbers can cost you between $5-$20

  • A new mailbox can cost between $10-$100+

  • You can also get wall sconces for the porch for $35-$50 (or much more expensive ones if you have the budget)

  • A new door knocker can cost between $10-$55 (or even more if you want to splurge)

 3. Welcome your new buyers with a friendly door mat.

We highly recommend switching out your doormat if it’s no longer in presentable conditions, especially if it’s covered in dirt and mystery stains.

A welcoming doormat is not going to break your bank. On average, a doormat costs around $10-$20 at a big box retail store. If you are a real estate agent or a home stager, you can also have branded doormats made for your open houses.


4. Use symmetry to up-level attractiveness.

Symmetry, or balance, is an incredibly important technique when it comes to styling. Our brain perceives symmetry and balance as attractiveness. It calms us. By creating symmetry in your entryway, you will instantly put the buyers at ease.

This is why there are usually wall sconces on each side of the doorway - to create balance. Oftentimes, you will also see the front door bookended by identical potted plants. This is a very classical and effective arrangement.

If you do a quick search on Instagram, you will see the some of the most popular posts have this exact presentation.

5. Trim overgrown bushes and plants & do some landscaping.

There is a saying that if you can’t see it, you can’t sell it. If you have a lot of shrubs and trees blocking the house, it’s best to trim them back so that buyers can see your house.

When it comes to landscaping, if you don’t have the budget to put in fresh sod, mulch is going to be your best friend. Based on Home Advisors’ 2019 Guide to Mulch Prices, “The average price of bulk mulch is between $15 and $65 per cubic yard, though some bags are priced to cover more than one cubic yard.

Comparing to the cost of sod, based on an article by Angie’s List, “Rolls of sod cost about 28 to 45 cents a square foot, depending on the type and amount bought. For a 2,000-square-foot-lawn, that's between $560 and $900. If you decide to go with a pro for installation, the cost increases to $1 to $2 a square foot, or $2,000  to $4,000  for 2,000 square feet.

Have a listen to Patty Hume, a real estate agent and a landscape designer, on our podcast. She gave some easy and quick tips to landscape your home. She was especially a big fan of mulching. It’s the easiest way to make the yard look neat and well-maintained without spending a lot of money.

6. Add lighting.

It sounds old-school with how easy it is to view listings online nowadays, but many buyers still do drive-bys at different hours of the day, including in the evening, on their way home after work.

Unless you live an ultra-exclusive neighborhood where it is purposely not lit at night, having low-voltage landscape lighting along your driveway, walkways, paths, garden gate, etc. can make a great first impression driving by at night.

Not only it’s easy on the eyes, it is also practical for the safety and security for you as a homeowner. For more eco-friendly options (and wiring-free options), you can also opt for solar-powered.

The lower-end range of pathway lighting or landscaping is about $10-$20 for each light. Many big box stores often sell them in packs.

7. Line your walkway with lighting, stones, or bricks.

A raw edge around your lawn may make any pathway or walkway in your backyard feel unfinished. This is easily fixed by adding a stone or brick border around the edges. You can get these materials by buying bulk from garden supply stores or any home improvement stores.

8. Add color with plants.

Is your home’s curb appeal looking a bit lackluster and flat? There is no life nor colors?

Trim and cut down any brown/yellow/dead, unhealthy, and overgrown trees, shrubs, and bushes. You can also add lots of colors and natural fragrance by adding flowering plants.

Lavender, for example, can repel fleas, flies, and mosquitoes. It also has a pleasant and calming fragrance. Same with lemongrass, which is another great option that also repels mosquitoes. Chat with your local nurseries to see what the best options are for your budget and planting needs.

You can also add flower boxes. They can add charms and architectural interests to your home. You can have someone custom make them for you, or you can buy them ready-made. These can range around $8-$100, depending on the type of materials and brands.

Check out our Landscaping and Gardening board on Pinterest here for some inspiration.

9. Pressure wash everything.

You can rent a pressure washer from a big box retailer for about $30 for four hours, which is very affordable. You can pressure wash everything (siding, exterior of the home, fences, driveway, stairs, deck, tile flooring) and it can be strangely satisfying to see all the dirt and grime disappearing right in front of eyes.

The possibilities are endless and it’s such a small investment for a very visually pleasing results. (You can check out this Buzzfeed article here about how effective pressure washing is. Buzzfeed writers are strangely obsessed about how awesome pressure washing is. 😂) When I was managing rental properties, pressure washing and painting were our two best friends when the homeowner didn’t want to cough up any budget.

Any of these nine projects can be easily done in an afternoon or over a weekend, and none of them are big financial ticket items. Most of them can be accomplished well under $100.

What do you think of these nine projects? Do you have any to add? Tell me in the comment section below.

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