Tips for Boosting Your Home's Curb Appeal

Whether you plan to put your home on the market or stay for years, curb appeal is important to both home buyers and homeowners. Spring is on the horizon! It’s the perfect time to evaluate your curb appeal and make adjustments to improve your home’s aesthetic. Here are some tips to help you get started and avoid creating title problems along the way:

  1. Maintain your lawn: One of the simplest ways to enhance your curb appeal is to mow, fertilize and weed your lawn. Growing green and healthy grass isn’t just attractive – it also prevents the invasion of weeds like crabgrass and dandelions, which begin to pop up in the spring when temperatures are warm. To learn how to take care of your lawn and prevent pesky weeds, click here.

  2. Consider xeriscape landscaping: If you want a low-maintenance, sustainable yet beautiful front yard, xeriscape landscaping is the way to go. It’s a drought tolerant option that consists of planting native plants and trees with mulch, rocks and stones to conserve water and reduce yard waste.

  3. Pressure wash: A simple and effective way to boost your curb appeal is to make sure the front of the house is sparkling clean. A good quality pressure washer can clean vinyl siding, stucco, brick, windows, driveways, decks and sidewalks. Pressure washers can be purchased or rented from your local hardware store and are easy to operate, but you can also enlist a professional service to do it for you.

  4. Decorate the porch: Urns, pots and planters are the perfect way to add texture and color to the front of your home. By planting topiary evergreens or perennial flowers, you can add eye-catching height, dimension and vibrance. To add a more personal touch, use artwork and monogrammed signs. For ideas and inspiration, click here.

  5. Upgrade your front door: Your front door is a focal point and should not be overlooked when it comes to curb appeal. A quick and inexpensive way to add value is to paint it. Using a color that differs from your home’s exterior and trim but is still complementary is a great way to make your door the center of attention. Before you grab the paint, you may find it beneficial to do some research. According to design experts, the front door color speaks volumes about the style of your home, your personality and the meaning behind the color.

  6. Update your hardware: Revitalize your entryway with new hardware that adds to the character of the home – the door handle, door knocker, house numbers, light fixture(s) and mailbox. There’s a wide range of styles and finishes to choose from, like modern sleek stainless steel, rustic cast iron and antique brass.

  7. Improve your walkways and driveways: Cracked walkways and driveways are eyesores, and more importantly, they can cause people to trip and fall and damage car tires. Improving them is aesthetically pleasing and promotes safety. You may be able to get away with simple repairs, but larger cracks should be addressed, including determining the root cause. If a new look is in the budget, consider concrete pavers. They come in different shapes, sizes, patterns and colors that can be matched to your home’s exterior.

Important title tip: If you share a driveway with a neighbor, it may involve an easement for access to the property. An easement provides the right for an individual or entity to use a part of another person’s land for a specified purpose. It’s important to confirm that the property burdened by the easement was properly searched to determine that it was signed by the appropriate parties when created and that it runs with the land. The easement document should also include provisions that cover how the parties will share costs to repair, replace and maintain the driveway. If the easement was not properly created or there is a prior interest that could extinguish the easement, there may be no legal access to it or access might be cut off in the future. To determine if the easement was properly created and is attached to, and runs with the land, review your preliminary report/commitment, title insurance policy or contact an attorney for advice.

  1. Enhance your lighting: Lighting is about more than just the front porch. The architecture of the home, house numbers, landscaping and walkways could all benefit from illumination. Doing so can create ideal accents throughout the front of the home while also deterring trespassers.

  2. Purchase a new doormat: A doormat isn’t just about keeping dirt and allergens out of your home. It’s also an easy way to add color and texture to your front entryway. Layering a doormat over a rug adds an additional element of style. Personalizing it with a monogram or a greeting is a great way to make a unique statement. When choosing a new doormat, opt for one that is relatively easy to clean and maintain a consistent cleaning schedule.

  3. Don’t forget the garage door: If you have a garage, the garage door(s) deserve attention, too. A good pressure wash or fresh coat of paint can give it some extra shine. If you can’t get it cleaned to your liking, it may be time to purchase a new one. There are many trends to choose from, including glazed doors, glass windows and wood trim. For design inspiration, check out these before and after pictures.

  4. Install a fence: Installing a fence has the potential to not only boost your curb appeal but can also help to keep your kids and pets safe. There are several material options available, such as vinyl, aluminum, steel and wood. When choosing an option, consider the weather and how durable it will be where you live. Also, before you make any decisions, check for regulations put in place by your local municipality or Homeowners Association.

Important title tip: Before installing a fence, ask yourself these questions: (1) Will it impede access to a utility easement? A utility easement is a designated area on the property dedicated for utility companies to deliver, maintain and repair public utility services such as electricity, gas and water; and (2) Will it encroach onto the neighbor’s property? An encroachment is when one property owner builds or extends some feature that crosses over into their neighbor’s property. Review your property records or obtain a survey to locate the boundary of the property and to determine if an easement exists on your land before you begin construction.

  1. Add furniture: Expand your living space outdoors by adding furniture to the front porch. Doing so can create an ideal place to relax and greet neighbors while adding an overall welcoming touch for visitors. The use of furniture should be scaled to reflect the size of your porch area, so be sure not to add too much or too little.

Boosting curb appeal makes your home more attractive. And, if you’re thinking of selling, it’s a great way to gain the attention of homebuyers while also increasing your home’s value. Yet, if done improperly, it could lead to a boundary or access dispute between you and your neighbor that could make your title unmarketable, should you decide to sell. To avoid any mishaps, take the time to review your property records and consult with your neighbors. To learn more about title insurance and how it protects your property rights, contact your Old Republic Title representative today.