A Few Tips On Exterior Home Improvements for Resale

Selling your house can be an expensive endeavor. Even though nearly all of these costs come later in the selling process, there are some expenses that come much earlier — before you list your home. Between cleaning, staging, landscaping, painting and other tasks, sellers that hire professionals spend nearly $5,000 getting their homes ready to list for sale.

While often forgotten or left at the conclusion of the to-do list, your home’s exterior is the first thing buyers see, so it is crucial to make a great first impression.

How important is curb appeal when selling a house?

Curb appeal is important because it can have a positive impact on your home’s resale value, and it is something that many sellers address before listing.

Seventy-nine percent of sellers make at least one improvement before listing their home. Landscaping ranks as the 2nd most popular pre-listing upgrade. What does that mean for you as a seller? This means your competition is paying attention to curb appeal, so you should too.

Although the majority of buyers (79 percent) utilize online resources to search for homes, your curb appeal really does make the first impression. Most agents use the exterior photo of your home as the first image in your internet listing, and some local MLS systems actually require an outdoor shot to come first.

What’s more, 89 percent of buyers take private tours in person, so if your home’s exterior appears neglected, you may never get them through the door to see the rest of the house.

Does curb appeal add value to your home?

Based on the location, curb appeal can add value to your home. Your return on investment is contingent upon the market itself, how much buyers value the improvements made and the total spend about the upgrade.

There are all types of things you can do to the exterior of your home, from simple landscaping into a completely new roof and new windows.

Roof repair

If your roof needs repair, your choices are to repair before listing, leave as-is and decrease your listing price, or be prepared to offer a buyer credit as part of the negotiation procedure.

If you will need a full roof replacement, it can be expensive. A midrange roofing replacement together with asphalt shingles prices an average of $20,939 nationally, and it garners a 68.4 percent ROI at time of sale — or $14,322. That makes the unreturned price for the seller $6,617.

Siding repair or replacement

Another evident defect buyers may notice is damaged or neglected siding. A bit cheaper to replace than a roof, a midrange siding replacement has an average national cost of $15,072, using a 76.7 percent ROI ($11,560). The unreturned cost for the seller is $3,512.

New windows

Expect buyers to pay careful attention to the windows and doors, especially in older homes. They may do it on the first tour, on a subsequent visit or through their inspection. If your home needs new windows and you opt to replace them before listing, it can be a huge selling point — especially if you opt for energy-efficient windows that will reduce heating and cooling costs for the future homeowner.

Both wood and vinyl windows provide better thermal resistance (meaning better energy efficiency) than aluminum, but the glass and glazing matter also. Insulated, low-emissivity coatings, spectrally selective coatings, and gas fillers all help enhance energy efficiency. Be aware that awning or hopper windows (hinged at the top or bottom) and casement windows (hinged at the side) are less prone to leakage than sliding windows.

As far as cost, an upscale vinyl window replacement prices $15,955 on average, using a 74.3 percent ROI ($11,855). An upscale wood window replacement costs $19,391 on average, using a 69.5 percent ROI ($13,477). The unreturned costs for the seller are $4,100 (vinyl windows) or $5,914 (wood windows).


Inspect your windows to see if any must be repaired or replaced. You can also try these tips for improving the efficiency of your existing windows:

  • Check for air leaks.
  • Replace caulking or add weather stripping.
  • Add storm windows.
  • Add solar film.
  • New front door

A more affordable improvement, a new front door can give your home’s facade a completely new appearance. A midrange steel entry-door replacement costs an average of $1,471 and can get you an impressive 91.3 percent ROI ($1,343). The unreturned price for the seller is just $128. Before you replace your front door, though, see if a new coat of paint it will do the trick on that later.

New garage door

If standard repairs (such as a chain/track repair or repainting) don’t attract your automatic garage door up to par, you may have to replace it. Luckily, an upscale garage door replacement is the highest-ROI job.

Cosmetic exterior home upgrades

Cosmetic updates are things that don’t necessarily need to get fixed, but they’re worth doing. Remember — your home’s exterior is the first thing buyers will notice, and you have one chance to make a good first impression.

Pressure wash

Pressure wash all hard surfaces near your home’s exterior, such as sidewalks, curbs, pathways and driveways to remove dirt, grime and moss.

Paint the outside

Whether your home is desperately in need of a new coat of paint or you just want to freshen up the look before listing, repainting your home’s exterior is a fairly common task, together with 21 percent of sellers completing the job before listing.

Neutral paint colors appeal to the broadest group of buyers. Ultimately, the best exterior paint color is dependent upon your home’s style, the exposure to sunlight and the outside materials.

Spruce up landscaping

Another popular task about the pre-listing to-do list is landscaping the yard — 29 percent of sellers do some landscaping job before they sell. Trim overgrown trees, branches, bushes and ground cover, then plant colorful seasonal flowers and add fresh mulch.

Paint the front door

As long as it’s in good working order, you can simply paint the front door instead of replacing it, and it will cost less than $50. Homes with black or charcoal front doors market for $6,271 more than anticipated, which is the highest sales premium of all the rooms and color combinations the study analyzed. Another great choice is to add a pop of color to your home’s facade by painting the door red, yellow or another bold color.

Add stone veneer

To give your home an upscale appearance, consider adding rock veneer to the outside. It is a more expensive upgrade than some of the others, but it could help your home compete if you reside in a community with a high price point. According to Remodeling magazine, midrange manufactured stone veneer costs $8,221 and nets an impressive 97.1 percent yield ($7,983), leaving an outstanding seller cost of $238.

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