The annual Cost vs Value Report for 2020 for the New England area, showed that 11 of the top 15 home renovations that gave the best return on investment for your home were renovations done to the exterior of the home.

A good curbside appeal can add value to resale to a property of up to 20%!

Having great curbside appeal is more important than ever in today’s real estate market. 90 % of buyers starting their home searches online so that the headlining photo has to be a scroll stopper!


Real Estate tycoon Barbara Cocoran states “Buyers decide in the first eight seconds of seeing a home if they’re interested in buying it. Get out of your car, walk in their shoes and see what they see within the first eight seconds.”

Act like a buyer. What catches your eye as you do some slow drive-bys. Even drive by some active listings in your neighborhood to compare first impressions. A good first impression gives a hint to the buyer as to how well the rest of the home has cared for.

Contact a real estate professional. Their advice is free and not only will they give you a fresh set of eyes, but they can also help you prioritize your projects, and let you know which will give you the best return on your investments.



For the eastern US area, (closest to Nova Scotia) replacing garage doors gave a 107% return on investment with adding stone veneer coming in second at 93.8%.

While this is the cost vs value report other studies show that landscaping will give you an 83% return on your investment and will help to sell your home on average 6 weeks faster.



The average Buyers do not have time for fixer-uppers, or properties that need immediate maintenance. Today’s Buyers either do not have the time, the know-how or it is of more value to them to have a move-in ready property.

Buyers typically over-estimate the cost of repairs because of a lack of knowledge or because they subconsciously give value to their time and effort to carry out such repairs. Therefore, if they do make an offer, they will offer a lower price or not offer at all because they do not want to deal with such repairs.



Painting – Nothing shows the age and wear on a property than chipped or faded paint. So adding fresh paint is the most effective way to add a fresh look to a property, both inside and out. Start right from the roadside with your civic signpost and mailbox. Next, you should focus on window and door trim, as well as fascia boards.

Remember the key to a good paint job is prep work, so do not forget to scrap and replace any rotten boards. Do not be shy about painting metal gutters, doors or outdoor furniture. Re-staining/sealing decks or add sealants to driveways can also go a long way to showing a prospective buyer the dedicated maintenance the home has received.

If the home itself requires painting, it is best to choose a neutral color with a white trim, that has shown to appeal to the greatest number of buyers. At the most, three different colors should be used, with a third being added for a bit of contrast to the front door. A darkly painted door increased the home’s value more than the color yellow, which decreases the home’s value.



Upgrades – While adding new garage doors will get you the top return on investment and then some, adding new doors would not be well spent if your roof is leaking.

Your focus should be on the front of the house and the first impressions of the curbside appeal. While a stone veneer can give you a 93 % return on investment, do not dismiss the value of investing in a formal pathway leading you to a welcoming entrance.

Consider relaying your pathway pavers if they have become unlevel, lose or weed bound. Or remove those 12 x 12 cement squares and invest in an updated, curved walkway. Take it up another notch by lining with low gardens and lighting.

The front entrance should be your focal point and emphasis put on drawing the buyers’ attention to its welcoming feel. The bare minimum would be to add fresh paint, hardware, lighting, and some plants.

Going to the next level would be to replace the door itself and add side windows, giving the overall entrance a grander feel. Adding new light fixtures such as a pendulum light at the entrance and then some pot lights to other areas of the deck will add warmth.

If your entrance lacking in curb appeal or had none to start with, then investing in a porch or deck would really change the look and feel of your house overall.



Landscaping – One of the most obvious (and most impactful) ways to boost curb appeal is to invest in your front yard. Fortunately, much of this investment can be your sweat equity. From scrub trimming, weeding, mowing, and watering, your front yard is where you will get your greatest return on investment because it is labor-intensive only.

Where you may want to put your money is in adding some color and texture, with flowers or shrubs. The average buyer would be looking for low maintenance plantings, long flowering or even plantings that offer colors at different times of the year. Consider investing in a mature planting, such as red maple, or blue spruce. A piece that will grow with the new owners and provide eventual shade and seasonal beauty.

A patchy, weed-ridden lawn should be addressed as well. A green lawn is a huge part of curb appeal in temperate climates. Investing in fertilizers and a watering schedule may be enough, but you may have to consult a lawn care expert if you think you make have a destructive bug problem.

Adding a natural double, ground bark mulch to your garden beds will take your curb appeal to the next level. See my video on bark mulch installation to see how to get a professional look. Bark much will help keep weeds at bay and help retain moisture for your plants.

If you do not have the time or money to spend on putting in a garden an easy alternative to add color to your curbside is to add planters and window boxes, using them to accent focal points such as windows and entryways.



You will not get a second chance to make that all-important first impression. Nowadays that first impression begins with online marketing. If you are planning to list and are getting the house photo-ready, keep in mind that it includes the exterior as well.

A REALTOR® is a good resource to use for advice on where to focus your efforts and investment when getting your home ready to sell. There will sure to be plenty of tasks that should be and could be done, but a real estate professional can inform you which of these tasks will be seen as a priority to prospective Buyers and give you the highest price when selling your home.


return on investment



  1. Civic Numbers – These are the first thing buyers will see when coming for a viewing. They will be watching for the appropriate address numbers. Make sure they are highly visible, in good repair and clean. (App. $50)


  1. Under Pressure – Clean everything that can be cleaned. Pressure wash the driveway, walkways, siding, decks. Remove any moss growth from roof shingles. Any mildew from siding and cobwebs from porches and light fixtures. Wash windows. And clean out gutters. (Free or cost of pressure washer rental)


3.Trim and Tidy – Trim and cut back trees and bushes to open up greenspaces and to make landscaping look groomed. Remove juniper and plants with offensive odors from walkways and paths leading up to the entryway. Weed gardens; divide and transplant overgrown plants if possible. Mow and water your      lawn. (Free)


  1. Container Plants – Add a splash of color to your entryway with hanging plants or container plants. These may appeal to buyers who do not want to have a large garden to maintain or commit to. They can also be changed and dressed up according to seasons. ($50-100)


  1. Hardware and Lightbulbs – Update doorknobs and knockers by replacing or painting. Make sure all exterior lights have working lightbulbs. You can add solar lighting to your walkway cost-effectively as well. ($25-100)