Before you even think about selling your home, you have to make it sparkle—after all, prospective buyers will be peering in every corner, closet and cabinet they can get into looking for some curb appeal.
That being said, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the first (and arguably, most important) space buyers will judge: the outside. So, you’ll want to make sure and present a good first impression by getting your exterior in top shape. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to cost a bundle. It’s entirely possible to add instant curb appeal using less-expensive means.
Here, Realtor.com offers six ridiculously easy ways to boost your home’s curb appeal—all for $200 or less.
Make your exterior sparkle with a pressure wash
For potential buyers, the walk up the driveway is their first look at your home. Repaving the entire driveway would be nice, of course. But on a budget, pressure washing—which will cost between $80 to $200, on average—will do wonders. Driveways can turn green and black with dirt, and you might not even notice it because you see it every day. White driveways and sidewalks really pop.
Max out your use of mulch and drought-tolerant plants
It’s easy to rack up the bills with elaborate landscaping, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Completely dead, neglected front yards can be converted into buyer magnets for around $200, especially if you’re able to do some of the work yourself. The secret? Put down fresh mulch in the front yard and gardens, and add easy-to-care-for plants such as ornamental grasses, bushy lavender and salvia plants—all of which are drought-tolerant and affordable, and can make a dramatic pop against dark mulch. Mulch not only brightens up the exterior of your home, it also can reduce the weeds and fill in bare spots so your lawn will look neat and tidy.
Lure in buyers with fresh honeysuckle
Try planting some honeysuckle along the path to the front door. This hardy plant is heat-tolerant and also thrives in the shade, and it can be used in various ways—as a bush, vine or ground cover. The sweet nectar also brings in beautiful hummingbirds, and of course, the fragrant smell also helps when potential buyers are viewing the home.
Add symmetrical planters
Savvy home stagers and landscapers rely heavily on visual tricks to draw buyers’ eyes to the right places. One of their biggest secrets? Symmetry. Try anchoring each side of your front door with pots filled with bright flowers such as hydrangeas. Having one plant by your door will look lopsided to potential buyers. Note: Don’t use plastic containers. Ceramic or terra-cotta pots will add a special touch and give your home that luxe factor.
Freshen up the front door
Adding a fresh coat of paint to your front door is an easy and inexpensive trick that can transform your home. Buyers sometimes stand at the front door for a couple of minutes while the agent is getting the key out of the lockbox, so make those moments count. You can’t go wrong with a shiny new coat in a classic color such as black, gray or red, but if you’re feeling a little daring and really want to stand out on the block, opt for a cheery pastel hue like a light green or orange-pink.
Roll out the welcome mat
A new welcome mat and an elegant wreath are inexpensive yet inviting ways to enhance the exterior and welcome potential buyers in for a home tour. Look for a cheery welcome mat, or if your sale is happening during a holiday, go for something seasonal.