Scoping it Out
Related: How We Found Flip #5
When we went to look at this house as a potential flip, the curb appeal did not scream at us nor was it the first time we had seen it. We would often walk by when we did the ‘long loop’ with the kids and noticed it’s potential despite the lack of curb appeal. As I mentioned in the previous post, this house is only 1/4 mile from our home! There would often be different things out for sale in the front yard that we would look at while walking by. The man who lived there was in poor health and got to the point that he was unable to maintain the outside.
In looking at the picture above, what do you think is missing? What can be done to improve its curb appeal without spending a fortune? Can you name at least 5 things? Here are my top 5!
My rule of thumb when it comes to pruning trees: if you have to duck to walk under it, it needs to be trimmed. Branches that are lower than your head height (I am 6′ tall) are too low. Once you have them pruned up, you can walk through your yard and also see your house! Once you have pruned those branches up, look up! Are there any limbs hanging on electrical wires or on your roof? The tree in the front corner of this house was hanging on the roof. Over time, branches on the roof will damage the shingles and cause leaks. Keep up with your pruning to preserve your roof, prevent electrical problems, and you will have less leaves to rake too! 😉
#2 Front Entry
The front door to this house did absolutely nothing for it. It is far from inviting especially with a broken glass screened door in front of it. There is only one railing on the super dank, dirty, dingy stairs which is falling over, leading up to the front door that is faded and rotten. The etched glass in the door is quite dated, and the oversized light to the side of the front door is hanging on by one screw. Sounding like a house you would want to go inside of??
#3 Siding & Shutters
The siding on a home is a huge part of curb appeal. Does this mean you have to re-side the entire house? Absolutely not! That would cost thousands of dollars which will cut into your profit. So what can you do to make your siding look better? Power wash!! The exterior on this house is very dirty because again, the man who lived there was unable to maintain the exterior as his health declined. It does not take long for exteriors to lose their charm if not maintained. So with a little power washing, I think it will shine again.
If your siding is oxidized and beyond washing, consider painting it yourself. You will need to power wash, prime, and then paint—possibly even 2 coats. We did this with our very first flip. It cost us approximately $200 in paint, but it is unrecognizable! Check it out here!
An easy and inexpensive way to update the look of this house will be to paint the foundation to give it some dimension against the house as well as paint the shutters. A few sets of shutters are actually mismatched–one set right on the front of the house. We hope to find a matching set and replace these as well as paint them. They can easily be painted with spray paint in a variety of colors to give your house a clean look, but lets not get crazy with colors!
#4 An ‘Edge’
Nothing drives me more crazy than not knowing where the grass ends and the landscape begins. Plants, weeds, and grass and together looks messy. It does not cost a single penny to get out your straight edge shovel and create an edge to separate the lawn from the landscape. Please do not waste your money on black rubber edging either. I would rather see a clean, straight edge than cheap rubber edging that doesn’t stay in the ground.
#5 Plants & Mulch
Oh how I love plants….especially perennials!! Now, I am not one that is outside meticulously snipping at my landscape. I am a busy full time working mother of 6 and do not have time for that kind of maintenance. I am all about having a variety of perennials so that there are a variety or colors and sizes to always have something in bloom. Best part of perennials is that they come back bigger and better every year! After a few years, most perennials are large enough to be split into multiple plants! Many plants on this property are big enough to split, so I plan to spend $0 on plants. BOOM!
There is some red mulch sparsely spread over the ‘landscape areas’, but I am not a huge fan of red. I feel it is kind of harsh and takes away from the beauty of the plants. I often lean towards shredded mulch for my flips to keep it neutral. For my own home, I have black mulch, but that is more pricey. Mulch is a slight investment and we will need quite a bit–approximately 10 yards so we will have it delivered (an additional charge). This will run us approximately $200 total because we will need to lay a fairly thick layer.
Can you imagine the difference though? No weeds, fresh plants, and mulch?
How Much Will Improving The Curb Appeal Cost?
Do you long for your yard to look like the ones you see in magazines or on TV? Do you hesitate because you do not have much to invest? Are there things you can do that will not cost a thing? Absolutely!!
- Sweat equity= $0
- Get out your straight edge shovel out and create an ‘edge’
- Pull out all weeds
- Trim back any overgrown plants
- Consider removing any ginormous bushes that are hiding your house
- Look in your own yard if you can rearrange or split any plants to re use or reach out via social media if any of your friends have plants to split!
- Power wash the siding
- Edge your driveway with your favorite straight shovel or edger if you have one
Can you envision the difference yet??
- Invest some money in the following areas: maybe $100 (if mulch does not need to be delievered)
- Perennials if needed (hostas, day lilies, iris, smoke tree, weeping cherry tree, beach grasses)
- Paint for foundation and shutters
We will do all of these things along with replacing the front door, adding new railings and replacing the light fixture.
What are your best landscaping hacks?