By Jay Betts
When it comes to Austin real estate, it pays to be pretty on the outside. Homes with good curb appeal leave guests and passersby with a positive impression. Houses that look good from the road also fetch higher prices and sell faster. Throwing money at any project can get you results. But savvy homeowners who play their cards right can give their curb appeal a big boost without breaking the bank. Here are seven budget-friendly ideas to boost your property's curb appeal.
Accent Features Are Everything
Adding a new color to trim or shutters doesn't require much paint. This makes it budget-friendly and time-friendly, too. Whether you opt for Classic Blue or burnt orange, buy the highest quality paint your budget allows. Exteriors are exposed to wind, rain, and sun. The better your paint, the longer it will hold up to these tough conditions. Plus, good paint means fewer coats and less work for you.
Keep It Local
Plants are a vital part of your property's curb appeal, and trees, shrubs, and flowers that are native to Texas are less expensive to maintain. Local flora thrives under the conditions your property already offers. It needs less water and less fertilizer to grow. Native species are also naturally resistant to local insects and diseases. With a little planning, your native plants will look better than any imports—and they'll need a lot less care.
Address Worn Out Accessories
The first thing a potential buyer or guest looks for is the numbers pointing them to your address. Are they worn out or hard to see? Replacing those numbers with large, bright, easy-to-see numerals is tops on most home stager's lists. While you're at it, consider replacing the mailbox and any old or rusted porch lights. For a few dollars, you can give your house a whole new facade.
Opt for a Pro Mow
Unless you've got a garage full of professional lawn care equipment, chances are your lawn could use a professional touch-up. Even the most vigilant homeowner has areas of their yard that can be improved. The pros have tools and experience trimming and edging that most homeowners just can't match. Many lawn companies offer a one-time service. This means you can give your lawn professional attention as needed and save by doing the upkeep yourself.
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Walk This Way
Paths and walkways are excellent places to focus when you want to boost appearances without spending a bundle. Gravel, brick, and stone are all classic choices that pack an aesthetic punch. Lining paths with lights or flower beds will also make a bold impression. Some materials cost more than others. Most walkways are small enough, though, that the total price tag is relatively small.
Less Is More
Some properties have a nasty habit of collecting junk. Piles form in corners. Leftovers are gathered and forgotten in out-of-the-way areas. Sometimes homeowners become blind to them. Getting rid of clutter is an inexpensive (sometimes free!) way to boost curb appeal in a hurry. This includes the garage, which is easy to fill with stuff we don't need. Give your property a good once over and scan to see if there are any eyesores whose welcome has run out.
Light Up Your Life
Life doesn't stop when the sun goes down! When evening falls, your curb appeal rests largely on your property's exterior lighting. Like accent painting, accent lighting allows you to create large effects without spending large amounts of money. Entryways and walks are excellent places to start since good lighting there improves safety as well as appearances.
Why Curb Appeal Matters
You want potential buyers to be attracted to your home from the moment they arrive at the property. The outdoor lighting, plantings, walkways, and overall landscaping can create an inviting atmosphere. When you pay attention to your home's curb appeal, you are going to make a great first impression. This will add value to your home and let buyers know that you take great care of your property. Curb appeal gives you the ability to show off your property, focusing on the things that matter to a potential buyer.
When the exterior of your home is well-maintained, and the property looks great, the value of your home will increase. You want buyers to understand that you have taken great care of your home and property, and this shows when you focus on the curb appeal.
Jay Betts is a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, a licensed real estate agent, and an avid gardener. He enjoys hiking in nature and following a minimalistic lifestyle.