real estate

3 Simple Steps to Give Your Home Curb Appeal

Whether you are selling or staying put, here's how to make the outside of your house sparkle.

Step 1

Spruce up the exterior. The quickest and most efficient way to make your home sparkle is to pressure wash it. A pro will charge between $1,000 and $2,000 to pressure wash 2,500 square feet, according to www.homewyse.com. Or you can rent a pressure washer from Home Depot or Lowe's for less than $80 per day. Before you do it yourself, watch how-to videos on YouTube. Pressure washing is also good preparation for a paint job, which may be needed if the old paint is peeling, fading or chalky.

Step 2

Tame the landscaping. An unkempt yard irritates the neighbors and scares off potential buyers. Rake last fall's detritus out of flower beds and re-edge them. Add mulch, which will look good, help control weeds and retain moisture. Trim shrubs, and remove any dead wood. Reseed or resod thin or bare spots in the lawn, and keep it mowed. If you're not up for the job, you could hire a professional landscaper for a seasonal cleanup, which could run several hundred dollars or more, depending on the size of your yard. Or you could go cheaper with a neighborhood kid.

Step 3

Add color. Paint the front door and trim in an accent color that complements your home's overall look. Try out colors using online tools, such as Benjamin Moore's Personal Color Viewer, that let you upload and "paint" a photo of your home. Plant annual flowers in the landscape beds, window boxes or containers on the porch. Add a seasonal wreath or decorative flag, a new doormat, or pillows or a patio rug designed for outdoor use.

The Payoff

Your home will turn heads -- whether or not you're selling it.

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