Neighbors copy us and ask us for advice...so what updates have we done to the exterior of our house that long-time homeowners here are surprised to see? Here’s how a few low or no cost updates have transformed the outside of our house and set it apart from our neighbors’ homes.
We are fortunate that our townhouse backs up to a small lake in our neighborhood - it’s one of the reasons we loved this place when we first did the walkthrough. BUT living in South Florida we have dozens of ducks that enjoy roaming all over, including on our patio, and they constantly poop and chase us for food! So this has inevitably caused us to avoid using our backyard as much as we would otherwise.
To keep the many ducks off our patio, we put in a short, plastic fence about a foot high which does wonders keeping the ducks away. It’s small enough that it doesn’t take away from the view and just tall enough that they aren’t inclined to fly over it to get in. Finally, we are able to enjoy our backyard free of begging ducks and feces.
We also added several planters about 3 feet long to break up the small fence. It definitely looks better than just the plain fence and the plants add great color when they bloom!
Not only do we use our backyard much more now, but it looks much more beautiful and free of ducks. Our neighbors have complimented it and one even copied it exactly! That’s a compliment of the highest order. All in, this only cost us about $50, not a lot to pay to be able to enjoy our backyard much more.
Consider how you can spruce up the look of your backyard and make small changes so that you get more use out of it. Remember that it doesn’t have to cost a lot! This is also great for resale value when it comes time to sell.
Front of The House - Curb Appeal
Front Door Paint
You always notice small things about a property after you buy it - like 4 shades of tan on a front door! We (and by we I mean Tiago) painted the front door recently and it looks MUCH better. It’s one of those updates that guests won’t notice because that’s how it should look, which is a great thing. Granted, painting it did take a longer time than we expected so be aware of that before you take on this update. We only needed to buy a small can of paint since we had all of the other painting supplies, so this was only about $16.
We wanted to give our windows an update without spending a lot to do so. We decided to remove the grilles, which are the decorative metal bars that are vertical and horizontal to form a square pattern on the window. This wasn’t an easy task - which is easy for me to say since I was watching Tiago do it! But it honestly makes the house look and feel so much more modern - who knew you could do that without spending a dime?
Several neighbors have asked us if we replaced our windows (great compliment!) and after bursting the bubble about what we did, they of course asked us for advice about how to do it. We thought it looked great, but it’s nice to hear it from neighbors.
Landscaping & Cleaning
There’s not much that we need to do for landscaping because our homeowners association covers that. However, we do trim the bushes in between the regular trimmings that the neighborhood does.
We also like to clear the webs all around the porch and garage and sweep the porch. You might not think this makes a house stand out, but you would be surprised how few people do this.
The front of your house is the main place you can manage people’s first impressions, whether it is of guests or potential home buyers. So put some time into looking at it from different perspectives and you’ll be surprised what you can find to update. A great way to do this is by walking around your neighborhood and checking out other people’s houses. Keep in mind that there is a lot you can do to have the outside of your home stand out from your neighbors’ homes (in a good way) without spending a lot.