Curb Appeal ~ The First Impression

by Aaron Wilson

Despite our best efforts, we do judge a book by its cover, people by their attire and a house by its appearance. Like it or not, first impressions can set the stage for everything that follows. Houses with an attractive curb appeal sell for a higher prices in less time than those with a bit of sloppy out front. James Ulmer, founder of Back to Nature Landscaping & Construction, firmly believes: “Your home deserves to have a great first impression just like you do.”
Sprucing up and maintaining the space and landscape around your home, however, shouldn’t be about selling the property, although what it looks like from the street is always on the buyer’s mind. You should keep up the exterior space and landscape for yourselves, adopting a mindset like: “This is not only my home, but also represents my largest asset, and I intend to get the most from it while I live here and when I sell.”
While many organized neighborhoods have a Homeowners Association (HOA) with rules and covenants, not everything, like if your curtains or mini-blinds hang crooked, if your windows are dirty or the front porch light fixture rusts, can be addressed in a litany of covenants. It’s your responsibility to keep up with exterior maintenance on a regular basis. The largest slice of curb appeal may very well be the lawn, trees, bushes, flower beds, mulched areas and walkways. “At Back to Nature, we believe that a thoughtful plant design followed by a maintenance package is the best way to keep a home’s curb appeal in tip top shape,” Ulmer adds. “We plan – and plant – for the future with appropriate species and spacing and encourage homeowners to sign up for a maintenance package. This service can include mowing, pruning, weeding, mulching and turf care, so homeowners don’t have to lift a finger, their plants thrive, and their home is loaded with curb appeal.”
Once you have your lawn and landscape addressed, there are several other ways to enhance curb appeal. One of the often top-rated curb appeal upgrades is garage doors. Many new ones have horizontal windows and black hinges which add natural daylight inside and an attractive detail in a large, usually white, space. Other ways to boost curb appeal and enjoy driving up to the house yourselves are listed below, just in time to be incorporated into your spring cleaning routine.

• sweep cobwebs and loose dirt
• check gutters and drains for drainage and damage
• replace house numbers with classy, large ones
• touch up or paint anew the trim, porch railings, etc.
• stain decks and natural wood surfaces
• put up hanging baskets
• arrange furniture or accent pieces on porch or steps
• power wash everything
• kill mold and mildew
• add or replace a flag or banner
• fill cracks in driveway and seal
• put up a window box or two
• clean windows and check how window treatments look
from outside
• install new mailbox
• add matching porch and garage light fixtures
• paint the front door
• buy new door knocker or hardware or polish what’s there
• remove branches close to roof or siding
• check or install lightscaping along walkways
• neatly edge sidewalks and driveway
• put away toys, bicycles, etc.
• add color accents with a chair, flowers, pot, bench
• keep fences in good repair, stain or paint
• re-point bricks which have lost mortar
• replace any cracked glass
• wash and inspect shutters
• check foundation
• clean up after pets
• store trash cans, RVs, boats out of sight or off property

If you are planning to sell, remember that many buyers cannot see potential, and others are not interested in purchasing potential. The offer price goes down with every little thing, and they are on the lookout for small stuff to chip away at the price. On the other hand, not only will you enjoy the property more yourselves, but these are teaching moments for children and grandchildren, who can help, in maintaining things of value, and one’s home is usually the most valuable asset in a lifetime.
Back to Nature Curb Appeal Tips:

? Add color to your landscape by planting annuals in the
spring and fall
? Start with a good plant design for textures and seasonal
color all year
? Strategically place landscape lighting for ambiance and
to cast shadows
? Consider a turf care package paired with routine mowing
? Planning and maintenance consistency are key components
of curb appeal


Text by Joanne M. Anderson

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