Why Invest in Exterior Improvements?

Why Invest in Exterior Improvements?

Do you look at the neighborhood when you are looking at a house? Of course you do! Are you looking at the other houses? The cars? The people? I hope you are saying yes, yes, and yes! Which houses are you noticing? The ones who have put time into exterior improvements? Or the ones that are dilapidated?

Who wants to buy the nicest house on the block? Not me! I’m looking at the dilapidated ones! Why you might ask? Because that would be a terrible investment! I would rather buy the ‘crap-tastic’ (I think I should make this a real word!) house on the block and put in some major sweat equity. How will you ever gain any equity if you buy the nicest house? You will not.

Where Do I Invest My Money?

A great realtor. Say what?? That will not improve the value of my home! It will not directly, but an experienced realtor will be able to guide you as to where you should invest your money. Not only can realtors buy and sell your home, but they should be able to tell you where to invest your money to get the most equity–including investing money on the exterior.

With spring just around the corner, I am getting the itch to get outside and get to work!

Invest in Exterior Improvements

I always recommend investing money in the exterior of the home. Whether you are looking to update your own home to stay in or you are looking to sell, make your house a stand out instead of a drive by!

Many people will sink lots of money into kitchens and baths, which is a great investment, but do you know what ranks a higher return on investment? Exterior improvements!

Here are some of the ‘drive by’ pics of our previous flips before we worked on the exterior.

Exterior improvements- 24th before exterior improvements 46th before exterior improvements graafschapexteror improvements bushes 100th exterior improvements- DIY weeds DIY exterior improvments porch

Would you turn your head as you drove by any of these? Most likely not…

Does fixing up the exterior cost a fortune? Absolutely not!

The very first house pictured was our very first flip. By day, I am an RN which is maybe why this house looked like a combination of urine and stool to me. Who would paint a house that shade of yellow and brown?? I cannot tell you how many hours we spent repainting every square inch of that house…not to mention that when we started I was 8 months pregnant with our fourth child. About half way through painting, I had our healthy baby boy. Within a couple weeks I was back at it with my little guy sleeping in the stroller. Every three hours we would sit under the tree to eat and then he would go back to sleep, and I would get back to work. Did I mention my other 3 kids were also there? Ages 4, 2, and 2. 🙂 We are raising our kids to know what hard work is (we have since had another set of twins)!

DIY exterior improvements painted siding

In case you missed out on how we transformed it, you can view it here.

Related: Deserted Drive by to Fabulous Farm House (for less than $200.00!)


What is the ROI (return on investment) for Exterior Improvements?

Now I am not saying that you have to completely overhaul your entire house with all new materials to invest in your exterior improvements because that would not be cost effective at all! We can be smart about it! Let’s break it down from highest ROI to least.

Landscaping: 105%!

Landscape is a HUGE part of curb appeal, but as I said, it does not have to cost a fortune! And with 105% return on investment….you cannot go wrong!

I absolutely LOVE to landscape. I have completely redone multiple landscapes for friends and family as well as my own. Landscaping can be as tedious as you make it. With my busy family and full time career (and side business), my plants are maintenance free. 

And guess what—perennials that are maintenance free you can often get them FREE!!

  • Hostas– there are so many varieties of hostas and they are hearty!  What is best about hostas?? Often times people will be splitting their hostas when they are doing their own exterior improvements! I have NEVER paid for a single hosta! HA!
    • Here is an example showing how many different kinds of hostas there are…..solid leaf, multi-colored leaves, big leaves, small leaves, there are plenty to pick from!
    • DIY exterior improvments hosta plant
  • Beach Grass– another great perennial that will give some great height to any landscape. I love using grasses on either side of a walkway, garage, or doorway. They are also great on corners or by water features. You can pick from various heights, colors and textures! These too can be split, so look to get them for FREE!!
    • Warning:  grasses come back bigger and better every year so be sure you plant them with ample space!!
    • DIY exterior improvement landscape beach grass   DIY exterior improvement landscape beach grass  DIY exterior improvement landscape beach grass
  • Iris– these are super easy to split and come in a variety of beautiful colors. They bloom in spring and last well into the summer. I have a huge cluster that I got for free (from a friend who was splitting hers) that help hide my air conditioning unit. 🙂
    • DIY exterior improvement landscape iris
  • Daylily– much like hostas, this perennial is super hearty and comes back bigger and better every year! Another bonus, you can usually find a friend who is willing to split some off theirs that you can score for free! These also come in a variety of colors, but I would stick to just a couple in an area otherwise your landscape might look like a circus. 😉

DIY exterior improvement daylily

  • Ornamental weeping tree– I love a weeping cherry tree. They do not get crazy tall, come in a few different colors, and they add height and interest to your landscape. Just be sure to read the tag and pick what is most appropriate for your space. I use them typically on a corner to help anchor and give definition to the space. Obviously, this is something that you would need to buy, but with getting everything else for free, you can spend $50-$75 on a great tree.
    • DIY exterior improvement weeping cherry tree

Siding: 93%

The siding of a home is a major part of exterior curb appeal. Your siding might be in great shape, but if it is the color of pee and poop (as was our first flip seen above), your house will NOT be the stand out of the neighborhood.

If your siding is in great shape and it just needs a power wash, prime and paint job— DO IT! You could hire someone to do it for you and depending on the size of your house is how much it will cost you. The house pictured above that is a standard 1.5 story would have cost me around $2000 to have done. Instead, we did it ourselves and spent approximately $300 on paint. I dare say I got more than that back when we sold it!

To replace siding is even more expensive, but we have yet to have to do that. Luckily, if we do, we know someone who does siding as a side hustle (because he used to do it for a living) that would be able to help us out.

No matter which way you go about it, this exterior improvement commands a solid 93% return on investment!

Roof & Windows: 80%

Roofs and windows are not exterior improvements that we much experience with. We have replaced a garage roof at one of our previous flips, but it was in December. FYI: do NOT do roofing in the winter….see the related link below.

We have also never had to replace windows, but we all know that windows are important when it comes to a home’s efficiency. Window issues can lead to leaks, drafts, and essentially be a deal breaker when going to sell.

My brother has replaced all of the windows in his own home and also tackled a garage roof! You can check him out at lifeandmyfinances.com.

Related: Nightmares from the Rooftop


Have I convinced you to get going on your exterior improvements? Not sure where to start? Email me a picture of your yard!! I would love to help!!

{Need other exterior ideas?? Visit our ‘exterior’ articles here!}




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