20 Ideas to Catch a Buyer's Eye for Less Than $500

08 June 2016

Lots of experts have great ideas for improving the curb appeal of your house so you can sell it more quickly. Repainting your house often tops the list. But that can cost as much as $3,000 to $5,000 even for a smaller home.

So what are some low-cost ways of making your home stand-out, especially when you live in a subdivision where many homes look very similar? We came up with 20 ideas – each costing less than $500. Many are do-it-yourself projects. 

1. Renew Your Front Door

Have your front door refinished or repainted ($500). Replacing the front door would be nice, but that can cost up to $1,500 or more. So if you still like that front door, just refurbish it. (More here)

2.  Replace the Lockset

Make sure that the doorknob and lock work properly – you don’t want to make it too hard to get in for visiting potential buyers. Replace the lockset ($300-$400 for a higher quality set) if the old one looks worn and chipped.

rosie on the house paint garage door3. Repaint Your Garage Door

You will probably need a gallon of exterior paint ($30-$60) to do the average two-car garage door. It might take less than that, but go with a gallon. Wood usually requires more paint than an aluminum door. Go with eggshell or satin finish.

4. Paint the House Trim

Pick out a new color to paint just the trim on your house, like the fascia boards and edges around windows. You’ll need a 5-gallon bucket of exterior paint ($150-$200). That might also be enough to do the garage door, too.

5. Replace the Porch Light

Update your front porch light fixture or the sconces next to the garage ($100 or less per fixture).

6. Address Your Address Numbers

Replace or repaint the address numbers of your house. After all, the buyers need to find your house to put in an offer. (Less than $100 depending on what you do.)

7. Fix the Mailbox

Replace the beat-up mailbox or repaint it plus painting the old post that the box sits on (probably less than $100).

8. Trim the Landscaping

Trim the landscaping and pick up the debris in your yard. Remove dead plants and bushes. If you have the tools for this and you do the job yourself, it will cost nothing.

rosie on the house landscaping

9. Plant Something

Plant a tree, preferably a desert tree like a mesquite or palo verde ($250 for a 15-gallon tree delivered and planted). Many studies indicate that planting a tree increases the value of your home.

10. Rock and Roll

Buy one or two large boulders at a nursery to create a focal point for the yard; plant a bush or two next to them, maybe a sage or lantana.

11. Add Some Granite

Buy crushed granite and use it to enhance planting areas and create a more uniform look in your front yard. A couple of tons will cost less than $500 and that may include hauling and installing.

12. Keep the Heat Out

Repair or replace worn-out sunscreens on the front of the house (less than $500 for two or three).

rosie on the house replace rotten wood

13. Improve the View

Wash the windows and screens (less than $100).  Learn how to wash the screens here.

14. Replace Rotten Wood

Get rid of any obvious rotten wood visible on the front of the house (or the back or the sides). The price of this is going to be hard to estimate but it’s the kind of thing that needs fixing regardless of cost.

15. Light the Path

Replace any broken or missing pathway lights ($30 to $50 each) along the sidewalk leading to the front door. Installing a new system if you don’t have one would be nice but might cost more than $500.

16. Powerwash the Pavement

Rent a power washer to spruce up concrete walkways and driveway (about $150 or less for a day). It could also be used on the front of your house, but you don’t want to peel off any paint so forget about that. And when you power wash the sidewalk and driveway, put the machine on low pressure to start. Hopefully, that will do the job without going to a more-powerful setting on the machine.

17. Add Decorative Pots

Buy really big pots ($100 or less for each) to use near your front door and fill them with attractive plants ($30 to $40 for good sized plants).

rosie on the house trellis18. Improve an Obvious Eyesore

Set up a trellis and plant vines on it to block the view of the area where you store your trash cans or to hide pipes or wiring ($500).

19. Make it More Secure

Install a security screen door ($500 or less) on the front of the house. Do the installation yourself and invest in a door with a good quality lock and deadbolt.

20. Repair the Roof

Replace any missing shingles or broken clay tiles on your roof that might be visible from the street. This repair will pay off anyway because you’re going to have to do it before the close of escrow. Might as well do it now.






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