Whether you're planning to sell your house or it's just in need of an update, there are many things, both large and small, that you can do to give the exterior a makeover. Curb appeal (literally how your property looks from the perspective of the curb or street) is important, not just for the resale value, but for the overall value and look of the neighborhood.
Often, you can get overwhelmed because once you decide to spruce up your home, suddenly you find dozens of things that need updating, from the paint job to the front yard landscaping to the shingles on the roof. Keep in mind that even addressing a few small elements can do wonders for the look of your home, and once you see the great results, it's a lot easier to update the rest.
After reading this post or from simply walking around your house, create a list of everything you see that you know needs fixing, changing or updating. Once you've decided which items on your list are priorities, do your research and then note prices, how long an item will take, and which professional (if any) you will call to perform the task.
Related Content: Inspections Are Rarely Fun, But We Can Make Them Easier!
Here are 10 tips to update your house's exterior:
1) Do a Basic Cleanup
Over the years you might have let the front of your property get "comfortable," which could mean overgrown bushes or trees, unwieldily lawns, broken blinds in the windows, or a front porch that has transformed into an exterior toybox. Before you can truly see what you're working with, a simple spring cleaning will show you what is just temporary and what is an actual problem.
2) Follow with Simple Maintenance
Once you've cleared away renegade bicycles and baby carriages and fixed the porch light, follow this up with some simple maintenance. Give the lawn a quick mow. Trim back those bushes. Treat your house to a power wash. Replace that ratty old welcome mat.
3) Landscaping 101
If you're not interested in or able to perform some basic landscaping yourself, you can hire a lawn service or landscaping company to mow the lawn, trim the hedges, and weed and mulch the garden. You can also hang a few colorful flower baskets from the front porch to add color, texture and a touch of nature to the front of your home. If you're adding plants, get drought-resistant ones as they use less water and require less maintenance.
4) Freshen up the Paint
Giving the exterior of your home a fresh paint job is one of the easiest (and biggest) ways to update the look of your house. Professional designers usually recommend using a two- or three-color palette:
- Field color - the main color
- Accent color - for the doors and shutters
- Trim color - for the lines around windows, railings and roof edging
It's recommended that the accent color for the exterior of your house be the darkest of the three colors and the trim color be in contrast with the field color.
Another thing to keep in mind is the architectural style of your house, as a Victorian home, Craftsman bungalow or midcentury modern all call for different color palettes. Not to worry though, as many paint stores offer historically-based palettes to choose from.
5) Maximize Energy Efficiency
Not all tips to increase the curb appeal of your home are those that can be seen. An attractive feature for any new home buyer is a utility bill that doesn't make your jaw drop. Obviously that bill will vary depending on personal use, but you can, for example, use energy-saving bulbs that are recommended by the Department of Energy.
You can also hire an electrician to upgrade your electrical system. And most local government agencies offer financial incentives if you update to energy-efficient appliances (check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency for incentives in Missouri).
Related Content: 10 Energy-Saving Tips to Reduce Your Utility Bill
6) Repair, Replace or Ramp Up the Roof
If you don't know what to look for, hire a professional contractor like Signature Exteriors for a free inspection and estimate to make sure that there are no leaks or missing shingles.
Even if your roof is in good shape, you should climb up there (or hire someone) to remove leaves and other debris from the gutters so that they don't clog up, overflow and cause structural damage. What to look for/do:
- Remove leaves, twigs, needles, etc. from the gutters.
- Use a hose to clean downspouts.
- Look for buckled, blistered or curled shingles.
- Check for wear and tear around chimneys and pipes.
A roofing contractor can tell you about energy-efficient products that you can use, such as reflective shingle granules.
At Signature Exteriors, we proudly use these roofing materials:
Asphalt Shingle Roofing
Owens Corning Family of Roofing Products
Modified Bitumen Roofing
7) Add Window Shutters
Something as simple as window shutters can really brighten up the look of your home’s exterior and add to the curb appeal of your house. Depending on the color palette of your whole house, try using bold colors, natural wood or interior shutters — there are endless options to beautify your windows like the one pictured here from Lowe's.
8) Go Bold with Your Siding
Be sure to match your siding color with the rest of the house, especially the trim accents. Darker hues such as blue, green or maroon paired with a clean white trim can really make your house look fresh and new. Alternately, classic white siding with contrasting shutters of dark green or blue has become popular more recently.
Signature Exteriors offers siding installation, repair or replacement and you'll have a choice of siding options, including vinyl, insulated vinyl, fiber cement, cedar, hardboard, and cedar plank systems.
At Signature Exteriors, we specialize in:
- Free Inspections and Estimates
- Siding Repair and Maintenance
- Insurance Claim Assistance/Insurance Restoration
- Siding Replacement
- New Construction
9) Make the Front Porch Cozy and Welcoming
The front porch is the first thing that you or your guests will see upon approaching the house, so be sure to make it clean, warm and inviting. Add a porch swing, a pair of rocking chairs or a loveseat. Install a railing, some plants or a hanging lantern for that extra touch.
10) Hire a Certified Home Inspector
Don't wait until you're about to sell your house to hire a home inspector. It's a good idea to have a professional go over your house every couple of years to identify any health or safety issues before they get out of hand. A certified inspector will look at:
- structure (which includes the roof, foundation, insulation, walls, windows, doors, insulation)
- electrical system
- cooling and heating systems
- whether there's any evidence of termites
With the inspection you will receive a written report with recommendations. Even if you're not selling your house now, you may eventually decide to, and keeping these ongoing records of inspection and repairs will make future buyers very happy.
So there you have it! Ten ways to update your home's exterior and increase curb appeal -- whether you're selling your house or just looking for a fresh look.
And keep in mind that whether you want to replace just your roof or siding, or whether you’re in the market for a complete revamp, we encourage you to bring in any photos or magazine pictures when you meet us for a free inspection, and the Signature Exteriors team will help you turn your dream house into reality!