Curb appeal is the attractiveness of a property’s frontage when seen by someone passing down the street. It not only gives pleasure to the passerby, but it can give them an idea of the people who live in the house and affect its market value. Because of this, it’s important for the homeowner to make sure their curb appeal is, in fact, appealing. This means avoiding mistakes that can make the property a blot on the landscape and possibly lower its value. Here are six curb appeal mistakes to avoid:
1. A Car Always in the Driveway
If the neighbors notice that the family car never goes into the garage, they may get the idea that the garage is so cluttered that there’s no room for the automobile. If this is true, the garage needs to be decluttered. Potential homebuyers will notice the forlorn car when the house is for sale and photos of it are put on the internet and be put off.
2. Garden Gnomes
Idiosyncratic items such as religious statues, toys, tricycles and garden gnomes in the lawn are unsightly, especially if no one else in the neighborhood decorates their yard in this manner. Even more sedate yard design can be jarring if it is very different from the surrounding properties. This may be irritating to a homeowner who takes pride in keeping their front yard tidy, but it is something to consider.
3. Dead Plantings
Few things look as unappealing as dead shrubs or trees or wilted flowers on a property. They should be cleared away as quickly as practicable and replaced with live, healthy plants. Real estate professionals warn that no homeowner should ever install artificial flowers in their lawn, for they are appallingly tasteless. Since technology has advanced to the point where it looks realistic, artificial turf may be acceptable if it is kept immaculate.
4. High Maintenance Landscape
A front yard full of hedges, flowers, hardscape, water features, outdoor lighting, statuary and a dining area may be the pride of the homeowner and may even look attractive to passersby. However, a prospective buyer may only think of the cost of keeping such a landscape in order or the cost of removing it and starting over. The frontage should be attractive but low maintenance.
Some things can’t be seen from the street or can be covered up. But a person in the market for a new home will inevitably come close enough to see the crumbling asphalt roof shingles, the rotted wood of the window frames and shutters, the crack in the window pane hidden by the hedge, the split siding, the brickwork that needs to be repainted. Visiting friends and relatives are bound to notice that which is shabby. The household can grow used to eyesores, especially if they don’t affect their ability to live in the home. But a weekend spent painting, replacing, patching and repainting by a DIYer with basic skills can go a long way in sprucing up a house. A bit of maintenance makes it a place guests can remember fondly and want to return to. It also makes the house marketable when the time comes.
6. Crazy Paint Colors
Some home decor experts suggest that a front door painted a bold color can add to a home’s curb appeal. However, this applies only to the door, and the door needs to be surrounded by neutrals or pale pastels. A house with magenta walls, turquoise green trim and purple steps is just outrageous, especially in a neighborhood where all the other houses are painted in colors that are tastefully muted. It may even be better to have a modest house in a neighborhood full of Day-Glo colored monstrosities than the other way around.