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Budget-friendly ways to boost curb appeal

You’ve no doubt heard the cliche “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it’s time to list your Huntsville home for sale, buyers will see it once, and maybe only once — unless that first glance is appealing. It doesn’t take a lot of money to boost your home’s curb appeal to entice them to return.

Home values in Huntsville have risen over the past few years, and they’re on target to rise again over the next year. Listing prices vary based on size, location, and property valuation, but getting the highest offer for your home is always the goal. So it’s time to spruce it up!

The front lawn is the first thing people see when they check out the “for sale” sign. A well-manicured lawn is an absolute must. How short you cut it depends on the grass type you have. It must look trimmed, green, and edged along the driveway, sidewalk, and shrubbery beds. If the grass has a patchy area or two, consider adding a bird bath. Prune nearby trees, shrubbery, and large bushes so that they don’t block windows.

The front door is like the cover of a book, and people will judge your house by it. Faded and chipped front doors are a turn-off to buyers and may cause them to see the house as a fixer-upper. A few gallons of paint and an hour or two of your time go a long way in sprucing up your Huntsville home. Pro tip: Painting the front door black can increase the offering price by as much as $6,000.

Light fixtures: When was the last time you updated them? Outdoor lights have changed over the years; there are newer and more modern units available that conserve energy. Head over to a home improvement store and check out the selection of porch, overhead garage, and backyard patio lights. If installing new lights is completely out of the question, consider applying metallic paint to the fixtures to hide the rust.

Potted plants and house numbers. Add them next to the front doorway and around the edge of the steps. Flowers and shrubs are always enjoyable, and they allow potential buyers to think about what they would do if they owned this house. Window flower boxes are also a nice touch — they bring a splash of color to the eye. Fancy house numbers may seem unnecessary, but they’re a visual draw to the front of the property. For about $20, you can remove those old and dingy numbers and replace them with ones that fit the style of the home. Here’s an idea: Paint your house numbers on the front of the flower pots and make sure they’re visible from the street.

Power wash the driveway and front walk. Yes, a complete repaving of the drive would be great but not practical (unless there are huge chunks missing). You can improve the appearance of the pavement with a power washer. Home improvement stores rent them out at a reasonable price. While you’re at it, clean the deck, patio and front porch steps.

The mailbox: Is it dented and are the numbers falling off? Chipped paint? Loose post? A new mailbox is always a good idea, but you must be sure that it is “U.S. Postal Service approved” and installed correctly. If you choose to paint your mailbox, look for something weather-proof that adheres to the box’s material.

Because the quality of life in Huntsville is a draw for folks who want a taste of southern charm, you want you home to be welcoming. You also want it to attract the best offer.

Terise Gold is a do-it-yourselfer who loves fixing up and flipping older houses. She has re-landscaped the yards of 14 houses in her career.

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