How to give your home kerb appeal

AFTER: When buying a fence, choose a style in keeping with your home. Go for subtle tones of flowers for your garden if planting against a plain white backdrop. Match the letterbox with the fencing and keep it clear of promotional pamphlets.
AFTER: When buying a fence, choose a style in keeping with your home. Go for subtle tones of flowers for your garden if planting against a plain white backdrop. Match the letterbox with the fencing and keep it clear of promotional pamphlets.

KERB appeal can turn the worst house on the best street into a bargain buy and astute investment.

Here's my experience of doing just that. I bought a deserted, country home in 2016 and allowed myself two years to convert it into a comfortable writer's retreat with an eye to being a solid investment for years to come.

Neighbours thanked me for the investment, knowing that a pride in my place would transfer to broader street appeal and have a knock-on effect to the value of their properties, too.

TIDY UP

First "to-do" on my list was a quick sweep and dust of windows, paths and veranda, which gave the property a "lived in" look.

Dust away cobwebs in and around your home, especially on windows. Dust between railings and under the eaves. If you have a weatherboard home, you might want to sponge the boards with warm soap and water.

Clean gutters of leaves and debris, rusted pipes should be removed.

PAINTING

Potential sellers often use a "lick of paint" to give their home a more appealing appearance.

Done well, this can add up to 10 per cent on the value of your property.

But if paint is applied unevenly, or as a cover up, it will soon start to peel, giving the new owners a headache.

You can call in the professionals, or, if your home is on one storey and you have that handy knack, you can paint it yourself.

Shave down any peeling paint with sandpaper, especially any window frames.

Use a weather resistant paint for all external walls. Here's a hint: paint any downpipes in the same colour as the home, using a primer coat first and specific metal paints. This gives your home a uniformity from the street; the eye is attracted to the overall building, rather than a detail.

Having said that, the modern trend in painting doors is to give them a "pop" with a stark, contrasting colour. When painting a front door, most renovators opt for a semi-gloss paint which is durable and gives a fresh sheen.

If you have an old-fashioned doorbell or door knocker, make it a feature by taking it back to its original metal, usually brass.

BEFORE: This turn-of-last-century cottage was a bargain buy at $325,000 in 2016. A new garden and white picket fence gave the property immediate kerb appeal.

BEFORE: This turn-of-last-century cottage was a bargain buy at $325,000 in 2016. A new garden and white picket fence gave the property immediate kerb appeal.

GARDENING

Rev up the mower and cut any grass. There are as many garden types as there are homes, so you might want to consult a landscape gardener before planting up.

I paid $90 for the advice of a professional and it was worth the cost. She advised soft, round edges as garden bed borders which provided a softer landscape for the front garden.

Gardens provide the context for your home and so are essential in terms of kerb appeal. They are also money (and water) guzzlers, so for an instant hit, keep your lawn mown, clear of debris and toys, hedges pruned and encourage plantings that already exist.

FENCING

Apart from deterring intruders and unwanted animals, a fence delineates your property. It can also be a source of friction with neighbours.

Before installing your fence, if you have a shared boundary you must agree with your neighbour about the height and type of fencing to be installed.

Different states have their own laws regarding fences, such as who should pay; check with your local council.

If you opt for a picket fence along the front, make sure the colour complements or matches that used to paint your home.

This story Kerb appeal puts your home streets ahead of the rest first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.