This article from RealtyTimes by Jaymi Naciri has some great and inexpensive tips for giving your home it's best "first impression." One idea is to walk across the street from your house and try to look at it as if seeing it for the first time. Does the house look as inviting as when you first saw it? Has the drought taken a toll on your landscaping; the sun faded your front door? Jaymi gives some great ideas to enliven your house's curb appeal. 



Written by Jaymi Naciri

When you spend all your time inside your house, it's easy to forget that what's on the outside is important too. Whether you are getting ready to sell or are just looking to make some critical improvements, improving your curb appeal is easier - and less expensive - than you may think.

"There are dozens of small, inexpensive home improvements that you can do to your house to add instant curb appeal," said DIY Network. "Adding curb appeal to your house not only makes it easier to sell, but it also gives your house that nice and finished look."

With a few bucks and a little elbow grease, you'll be standing out front with pride.

Redo your front door

Want an instant pick-me-up for your curb appeal? Paint your front door. And while you're at it, spruce up your hardware too. "Your home's front entry is the focal point of its curb appeal. Make a statement by giving your front door a blast of color with paint or by installing a custom wood door," said Better Homes and Gardens. "Clean off any dirty spots around the knob, and use metal polish on the door fixtures. Your entry should also reflect the home's interior, so choose a swag or a wreath that reflects your personal style." The finishing touch: a clean, modern welcome mat. [Make sure the key works in the lock. Most of us go into our homes through the garage and we may not be aware that the lock isn’t working like it should. The first few days your house is on the market are vital. Make sure agents can get in to show.—Deborah]

Replace your light fixtures

Old, tired light fixtures can make a house look, well, old and tired. Changing them out is an easy fix "that can be found anywhere from $20 and up," said DIY Network. New light fixtures can modernize your exterior, but remember to "consider both the style of the light fixtures and the function of them. You want your light fixtures to be able to adequately light up your entryway to your house and make it safer. Also, look for light fixtures that have the same mounting system as the current ones that you have to save yourself some time on this home improvement project.

Add lighting to your landscape

If your house is still dark at night, adding "low-voltage landscape lighting makes a huge impact on your home's curb appeal while also providing safety and security," said Better Homes and Gardens. Wiring can get pricey, and solar stake lights that can be found at Target or Home Depot for just a few dollars apiece to line your walkway.

Bring in the Flowers

Plant some flowers along the walkway or in beds near the front door to introduce some color and freshness to the exterior of your home. If you're not able to plant flowers in the ground, "a few container plants placed by the front door or hung from your porch's ceiling will give your home a friendly, finished look," said This Old House. [Flowers add so much life and for so little cost.—Deborah]

Pour the Mulch

According to MSN, one of the cheapest ways to jazz up the look of your yard is by laying down some mulch. "Mulch will cover up a multitude of sins, and the darker it is, the more effective it looks," they said. "Mulch makes an area look freshly landscaped, and it also saves water by reducing runoff and conserving soil moisture."

Get on the fence

Chipping paint or wood, fading from the sun, and water spots can make a fence look dowdy. "People don't pay enough attention to fences, but they are the biggest constructed element in your yard," said MSN.

If it’s time for a fence refresher, it’s easy to do it yourself. MSN recommends “using a semitransparent stain to even out signs of repairs and to cover stains and discoloration. Pull together the look of the yard by using that same stain to upgrade other wood structures on your property, including benches, rails, decks, steps, sheds and playhouses.”

Jaymi made some great points, and I love that she is cost-conscious. Remember that saying about first impressions!