Low Cost Curb Appeal

Low Cost Curb Appeal

It’s easy to get carried away with renovating or updating the inside of our homes. We’re all guilty of this, even me. More often than not, when all is said and done, there’s very little cash available for what is potentially one of the most important components of any home improvement, the street perspective or ‘curb appeal’. Luckily, this can be achieved with minimal damage to your purse, chequebook or credit card.

The next time you arrive home or even now if you’re not busy, walk across the street to get a full view of your home and it’s surroundings.

o What is your first impression of your home and yard area?

o What are the best exterior features of your home? How can you enhance them?

o What are the worst exterior features of your home? How can you minimise or improve them?

o Is the visual approach to your home clean and tidy? What can you do to make it more attractive?

Honest answers to these questions will provide you with a list of problem area’s requiring thought and action. Divide your list into three main areas with the headings Clean, Repair and Replace.

‘REFRESH’

This is the cheapest method of adding curb appeal to any property. Remember that a cluttered perspective will always take the focus off what’s really important, ‘the home’; so keep it free of your belongings. Start by returning garden implements and toys to where they live when not in use. If there’s a car parked on the lawn, move it to either the garage or street. Allow a potential buyer, valuer, passer by or friend to appreciate the uninterrupted beauty of your home.

With your garden now free of all man made debris, I suggest mowing the lawns, and edging your driveway and footpath. If your neighbours have a relaxed approach to gardening then I suggest mowing their nature strips also. This move will only enhance what you’re about to achieve. Go on a weed pulling frenzy and remove all unsightly contenders. This applies to the weeds growing in your gutters also. Prune back over grown plants and trees and remove anything that’s dead or on its last legs.

With your front lawn and garden looking like it’s had the once over from the likes of ‘Backyard Blitz’, I suggest entertaining the idea of hiring a hi-pressure washing unit. You’ll find one at either Kennard’s or Bunning’s for a reasonable daily rate and it won’t compromise your local water restrictions either. With a firm grip, detergent and degreaser, you’ll soon have your grimy driveway, dirty weatherboards and brickwork, windows, facia and gutters looking like new again.

REPAIR

We all put up with the failings of our homes on a daily basis and it’s sad to acknowledge that they only increase in number as the years go by. Again, if you intend to sell or reap the rewards of revaluation, these daily reminders of complacency must be addressed. Start with your letterbox. Does it suit your home and is it visible from the street? Is it accessible at all? Make sure it is and have your street number clearly marked.

Ensure that your front and side fencing is in reasonable condition and replace missing or broken palings.

Check to see that guttering and down pipes are rust free and in good working order. If they have suffered the affects of tennis ball retrieval or general foolishness then I suggest replacement or a damn good panel beating. Limiting replacement to the front of your home will keep costs down and create the look you’re after.

If your home is a single story and has a tiled roof, I suggest a closer inspection to observe its condition. It’s always a great idea to replace any broken or chipped tiles and clean all sections visible from the road with either a high-pressure washer or compressed air. Due to height and safety, this is probably a job for your hubby, boyfriend or handyman, unless of course you feel the need to flex your equal opportunity muscle. Having your roof professionally restored may prove exorbitant, however it’s worth considering depending on existing roof condition and expected returns.

If your front entry light is missing its cover, then endeavour to replace it. Often second hand stores or demolition yards will have exactly what you need, at pocket change prices.
Repair any bent fly wire frames and torn screens. Your local window manufacturer will be able to offer you a cost effective solution to this problem.

REPLACE

Replacement of any home asset or feature should be a matter of last resort, especially at the end of a renovation or upgrade. However in some cases it can be the difference between a guaranteed sale and thousands in profit.

Features worth addressing are those that a homeowner will interact with or benefit from on a daily basis. These include the letterbox, driveway, entry lighting, security door, front door, TV antennae, and the obligatory fresh coat of paint. It is important to note that the financial attention you afford these amenities need not be significant. The art of renovating be it inside or out of the home, should always revolve around the idea that a thing or space should look expensive without having cost as much. This is what we call ‘perceived value’.

Achieving curb appeal will not always require you to replace or repair. Instead it will inevitably require you to remove and tidy. This action will always be a cost effective one for all concerned. If not for a monetary gain, at the very least, do it for yourself and family. Get heads turning for all the right reasons, with ‘curb appeal’.