By Sheldon Stewart

Our first impression of a house is made before we ever step foot inside – it’s made when we first see it from the street. That’s one of the reasons why homes with great curb appeal usually sell faster and for a higher price. But even if you have no plans to sell your house, an inviting exterior is a wonderful way to welcome your loved ones – and yourself – home each day.

If you’re thinking about giving your home’s exterior a facelift, spring is the time to do it. And we’re not talking major renovations. In most cases, it’s the relatively simple tasks that create the biggest impact.

From yearly maintenance to once-in-awhile decorative touches, beautifying your home’s exterior doesn’t have to be an all-consuming project. These are the five steps we recommend.

  1. Wash − Before you do anything else, give your house a gentle (but effective) outdoor scrub. A professional power wash will remove dirt, debris, and mildew – and it can be done without using chemicals that can be harmful to the environment or the people and pets who live in your house. Especially in our coastal climate, power washing your home has health benefits for you, too. Mold spores can sneak into your home through cracks and exposed areas, so cleaning the exterior on a regular basis will reduce your chances of having a mold problem.
  2. Repair − When the snow and colder temperatures check out for another season, it’s time to assess your home’s exterior for signs of wear. If you’ve already washed the outside surfaces, trouble spots – such as rotting wood, wobbly railings or posts, or peeling paint – needed repairs will be easier to detect. Taking care of repairs at this stage will help maintain the structural integrity of your home, since simply covering them up will only create future problems. After you’ve assessed the house itself, take a step back to get a good look at the big picture, too. Are there any crooked shutters? Sagging gutters? A pathway missing bricks or stones? Most are quick fixes and will dramatically improve your overall curb appeal.
  3. Paint − Oftentimes, new paint is really just cleaning up and touching up. This may not be the time for a complete repaint, but freshening up any areas in need of a little TLC will make it seem like you’ve done more. If you’re in the mood for a new color, consider repainting your front door. It can make a bold statement, and it’s easy enough to change it in a few years when you fall in love with a new color.
  4. Landscaping − You can’t talk about curb appeal without considering landscaping. Again, this doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul – even minimal maintenance makes a big difference. Regular mowing and weeding, fresh mulch, and pruned shrubs are all ways to freshen your landscaping on a budget. Plantings are great, but if you don’t have time to tend to them you can add splashes of color with container plants in key areas, like your entryway.
  5. Final touches − This is the fun part. Once your home is cleaned up and spruced up, you can add some finesse with decorative hardware. There are lots of options to choose from, either to echo your home’s style or to add a new design element. A new mailbox, new house numbers, or a new knocker on your front door are all great places to let your home’s personality shine. Improving the curb appeal of your home doesn’t have to be difficult or dramatic. It’s really just about keeping up with regular maintenance and paying attention to the details that make your home unique.

Sheldon Stewart is President of Stewart Painting Inc. in Hyannis. He can be reached at (508) 362-8023 or at sheldon@stewartpaint.com.

This article was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Health & Wealth.