In the field of real estate, looks and first impressions really do matter. Curb appeal helps the property value and can make a huge difference to neighbors when it comes to REO properties that might have a history of neglect. Even if a property is in less-than-stellar shape, and there isn’t a budget for a total overhaul there are still steps you can take to make important improvements. Here are four tips for curb appeal improvement for under $100.

It’s Time To Clean Up

Before starting with any actual touching up, make sure that the front (and back) yard are clean and de-cluttered, the porch is well swept and organized, that there’s no mess in the flower beds and flower pots, and that there are no unnecessary housework-related tools or junk lying around. The owners may have left behind various bits and bobs — tools, buckets, bags of cement; the usual household detritus that doesn’t make it out during the move. Clean it up. An organized yard is the foundation of every house sale. And it’s amazing what a difference clean windows can make, too.

Colors Speak Louder Than Words

After you’ve cleaned, step back and take a look. How do the front door, window frames, fence, etc. look?  These details go a long way when it comes to enhancing your curb appeal, and the edits are really inexpensive to make, with the use of your own manpower. There’s just one simple rule when it comes to choosing the colors: the facade or the wooden facings should have a uniform color that won’t clash with the look of the neighborhood; the same goes for the fence. A contrast color for the front door can add to curb appeal when done tastefully, even if it contrasts with the facade. We recommend using a strong color like red or blue.


As much as a good outfit can be made great with the right pair of shoes, a good watch or the perfect tie, so can a nice house reach perfection by getting the right accessories in the right places. People often forget about these tiny improvements, but they show attention to detail and add exactly the kind of touch that a house needs to help appear well-maintained.

Here are a few basic tips:

  • Replace the old house numbers
  • Get a new mailbox
  • Add a brand new doormat
  • Install new doorknobs and locks when rekeying
  • Place a few matching plants or pots on the porch
  • Upgrade the porch or garden lights

Tame the flora

A garden should be a caress for the eye, not a sore. If the yard looks like a jungle, any cosmetic touch ups you do to your house won’t be much use, because everyone will just see the bushy green all over the place. Your best bet is to trim the hedges and bushes in the garden. Weed the flower beds, and add fresh dark-colored mulch. Plant new trees and flowers or even herbs (rosemary, for example, grows into neat little bushes that look — and smell — great under the windows).

These touchups require more energy and notice than cost. And once the curb appeal goes up, the house will go up a few levels in the eyes of your prospective buyers and neighbors. It’s definitely worth the energy.