The top 5 curb appeal ideas – and tasks – that will add value to your home

Curb appeal can add value to your home, but be strategic – put your time and effort into these high-yield tasks

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You've probably heard all about the importance of curb appeal ideas when selling a house, but which add the most value? 

Adding curb appeal to your home is one of the best ways to add value to your home, but some elements are higher-grossing than others. While buyers will certainly appreciate any added curb appeal, they will only pay more for some features.

Top 5 curb appeal ideas

It turns out that you can take the guessing game out of deciding which curb appeal ideas will add value. Experienced realtors advise on the ones that are worth pursuing – and those that are nice to have but inessential. 

1. New roof

new roof will add value to your home

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A new roof is always appealing to buyers who tend to be wary of the potential costs of replacing an old or damaged roof. But, amazingly, this appeal translates into not just covering the costs of a new roof if you replace yours, but making a profit when you sell. 

The National Association of Realtors® Remodeling Impact Report found that while the average cost of new roofing is $7,500, sellers recover $8,000 on resale, 107 percent value recovery value. Moreover, over a third of realtors said that a new roof helps close a sale. So, if you only invest into one element of curb appeal improvement, make it the roof.

2. A clean house exterior

curb appeal tasks that add value to your home

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Just washing your house can add thousands to its value, as much as $10,000 in some cases. We're not talking about washing the odd window or porch here but giving your whole house a dedicated clean. 

This can be accomplished by renting a power washer (around $100 per day) or hiring professional cleaners to do the job ($250-500 for a house siding and extra $200 for the driveway). Professional cleaning will be faster and you won't have to do anything, and you'll still recoup the cost many times over when you sell.

3. A landscaped front yard

curb appeal to add value to your home

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Beautiful front yard landscape ideas don't just make the right impression on buyers – it makes them want to pay substantially more for a property. According to Realty Times, the average landscaping job will cost around $500, but the value it adds is $1,932 – an incredible 258 percent return on your investment. You can, of course, do it yourself for less, but higher a professional landscape gardener will give you much better results.

4. An impeccable lawn

sustainable garden

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A great-looking lawn will take your curb appeal further. Betsy Ronel, a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Compass in Westchester County, New York, says that keeping your lawn neat and tidy creates a 'welcoming, clean, bright and uncluttered' impression on buyers. She advises to have 'nothing overgrown and over taken by unruly weeds (dandelions excluded as they are a critical source for bees and our food chain).'

And don't forget that a lawn looks even better with some colorful front yard flower bed ideas along the edges – 'add pops of color with annuals and perennials so that there is an orchestra of color playing all year', Betsy concludes.  

5. A freshly painted front door

Slender cypresses underplanted with olive shrubs

(Image credit: Christopher Lee)

Exploring new front door ideas is always a good idea when you want to sell. A newly painted front door, almost in any color, is appealing to buyers who will see that you look after the home. 

But if you really want to maximize value, you should paint it a glossy black. Black front doors were found to add an impressive  $6,271 to the resale value of your home, according to Zillow. A matte dark gray was also found to be a good option if you don't like black.

The curb appeal features that don't add value

Replacing wood windows and painting the exterior are two big jobs you might think will add value, but neither offers very impressive returns – you'll recoup give or take half of what you spend on these expensive curb appeal improvement tasks. 

Of course, keeping your exterior paintwork and windows in good condition is important, but regular maintenance and spot improvements will give you just as good a result – at a much lower cost. 

Anna K. Cottrell is now a freelance writer, having previously been a Content Editor for Future's homes titles. She writes about interior design, property, and gardening. On H&G, she specialized in writing about property – buying, selling, renting – sustainability and eco issues.