Improving a home’s curb appeal is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to boost its value. In its recent Remodeling Impact Report, the National Association of Realtors surveyed 2,000 realtor members to ask what curb appeal enhancements home buyers like best, what those projects cost and what return they expect on their investments. Here are what they say are the top five curb appeal boosters.
1. Standard lawn care program.
A standard lawn care program, including six applications of fertilizer and weed control, ranked high. Seventy-five percent of respondents report they have suggested a seller incorporate a standard lawn care service prior to listing a home for sale with 14 percent claiming the program helped close a transaction.
- Cost estimate: $330
- Percent of costs recovered: 303% ($1,000)
2. Overall landscape upgrade.
Renovating a front yard, which NAR members define as installing a natural flagstone walkway, adding a few stone planters and planting at least five flowering shrubs and one deciduous tree, is more extensive and expensive than a typical lawn manicure. But this upgrade promises not only a full return on investment but what some might consider a more invaluable benefit: homeowner bliss. Seventy-five percent of consumers say they “have a greater desire to be home since completing the project,” NAR reports.
- Cost estimate: $4,750
- Percent of costs recovered: 105% ($5,000)
3. New patio.
The number of realtors suggesting buyers install a new patio is small compared to other simpler projects, but that’s probably because not every home needs a new patio. For homeowners who have installed new patios, 75 percent say they increased their enjoyment while being at home.
- Cost estimate: $6,400
- Percent of costs recovered: 102% ($6,525)
4. New wood deck.
Four percent of realtors report installing a new wood deck helped them close deals because it makes owners want to be in the home more (77 percent) and it makes them happier while at home (51 percent). The most expensive project on the list also packs the most value punch.
- Cost estimate: $9,450
- Percent of costs recovered: 106% ($10,000)
5. Landscape upgrade: softscape.
Adding green can bring more green, according to the 25 percent of realtors who suggest sellers add more greenery to elevate a simple yard. NAR defines this as adding five trees, 25 shrubs, 60 perennials, natural edging and boulder accents.
- Cost estimate: $7,000
- Percent of costs recovered: 100%