Selling your home? The experts at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate say these projects make the best outdoor investments.
By Jessica Bennett and Kit Selzer
A home's value is highly dependent on its square footage, number of rooms, and other interior features, but what's outside counts, too. Having a well-maintained yard, an attractive exterior, and functional outdoor living spaces can all add up to a big boost in value. And it's often the small details that make the biggest difference to a potential home buyer.
If you're looking to increase your home's sellability, tackling a few simple projects can help your home make a good impression without having to do a complete exterior overhaul. And if you're not ready to sell quite yet, investing in outdoor upgrades you can enjoy now often produces a high return on investment later. We spoke with experts from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate to determine the best outdoor updates to boost home value. Start with these projects to revamp your exterior and build equity at the same time.
CREDIT: DAVID TSAY
1. Make your yard more functional.
Adding function to your backyard is one of the best things you can do to boost home value, says Jessica Poulos, owner of the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Northwest Home Team in Tumwater, Washington. "Can you entertain? Can your kids play? Can you exercise? Can you tinker on hobbies or in a garden?" Use landscaping, hardscaping, outdoor furniture, and other add-ons to create zones that can accommodate various outdoor activities.
CREDIT: KIM CORNELISON
2. Clean up the exterior.
As the first thing potential buyers see when they pull up to your home, the exterior needs to appear clean and well-maintained. "If a buyer drives up to a home and the yard is neglected, they will begin to think it's too hard to take care of," Poulos says. "First impressions are everything." Prep your home to show with simple spruce-ups like pressure-washing the driveway, cleaning the roof, mowing the lawn, and adding edging around flower beds. These easy projects can often make a big difference in your home's perceived value.
3. Attach an outdoor living space.
When it comes to outdoor living, easy access is key. According to a recent survey from Rocket Homes, an attached outdoor living space, such as a deck or porch, can add almost $20,000 to the value of a home. Consider your area's climate and weather patterns to determine which type of outdoor space might bring the biggest boost. For example, in the Pacific Northwest where rain is common, "a covered porch with an outdoor kitchen, dining area, or sitting area has a high return on a home's value," Poulos says. In sunnier climates, an attached deck with a pergola can offer valuable open-air living space that provides some relief from the harsh sun.
CREDIT: GREG SCHEIDEMANN
4. Simplify your landscaping.
Most buyers want low-maintenance plantings. Hosta and daylilies are hearty perennial options for simple landscaping. Putting down mulch or groundcover also makes for easy upkeep. If you want to go with something temporary, put colorful annuals in pots. Add mulch, pull weeds, and trim hedges around the yard for a clean and effortless look.
5. Fix damaged siding.
Residing can be a long and often pricey process. Show buyers that your siding is in good shape by repairing any cracks, missing pieces, and surface chips. For a fresh look without painting, consider a professional pressure wash. If the exterior is brick, fix thinning areas of mortar.
CREDIT: PETER KRUMHARDT
6. Dress up your front door.
A new coat of paint in a color other than white or black can make the front door memorable for potential buyers. Go with a color that stands out, but also complements the style of the home. Replace the handle if it's tarnished or looks dated. Spray paint the handle if it just needs a quick update. Accessories like door numbers and knockers give a welcoming feeling, so play up the hardware.
CREDIT: KIM CORNELISON
7. Repair windows.
Even a little damage to one window gives the impression that there could be more problems. A few quick fixes will reassure buyers that the windows are nothing to worry about. Fix caulking around frames and glazing on panes for a like-new look. Replace cracked or foggy windows to make the best impression. If there are built-in window boxes, repair them and give them a fresh coat of paint. Then fill with pretty annuals.
Courtesy Better Homes & Gardens
Jessica Bennett is the digital assistant home editor at Better Homes & Gardens. With a knack for writing and editing, she covers decorating, home improvement, cleaning, organizing, and more for BHG.com.
Kit Selzer is senior remodeling and projects editor for Better Homes & Gardens magazine. She has more than 30 years of experience covering building and remodeling topics, especially kitchen and bath design and do-it-yourself.