3 Major Curb Appeal Projects for Your Fixer-Upper

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Real Estate

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Guest article by Clara Beaufort


It doesn’t matter if you’re selling, renting, or plan to stay in your home forever. Curb appeal matters. Great curb appeal gives you a sense of pride in your home, attracts high-quality tenants and buyers, and drives up property values for both you and your neighbors.

Unfortunately, fixer-uppers aren’t known for their curb appeal. And while small touches like a freshly painted front door and blooming flowers can have a big impact on a home’s appearance, they don’t make up for chipping paint, drooping gutters, and other major curb appeal issues. 

If you really want to give your fixer-upper a curb appeal facelift, zoom out and focus on these big-picture curb appeal projects.

1.   The Siding
Aging paint and siding aren’t just unsightly. They also spell big problems for your home. Damaged paint and siding expose your home’s structural elements to moisture, mold, and rot. Aging siding also drives up your utility bills due to reduced insulating ability.

When it comes to exterior damage, the first question homeowners ask is whether they can simply repaint their siding instead of replacing it. While costs vary based on the home’s size, height, and the material being painted (e.g., painting wood costs $1 - $2 per square foot less than brick), most homeowners spend between $1,710 and $3,988 on exterior painting. Meanwhile, new siding costs anywhere from $6,000 to $23,000.

Repainting is a good solution when the siding itself is in good condition, particularly when it comes to wood and aluminum siding. However, if the siding itself is damaged or you see signs of water intrusion, a full replacement is due. Luckily, replacing siding is among the remodeling projects with the best return on investment. Homeowners recoup around 75 percent of the cost of new siding when they sell.

2.   The Gutters
There’s no surer sign of a neglected home than mossy, overflowing, and sagging gutters. After cleaning debris out of your new home’s gutters, assess their condition. Are there one or two areas of localized damage, or are cracks, sagging, and damaged fasteners a widespread issue?

While minor gutter damage is a relatively simple fix, trying to repair major gutter problems is rarely worth the effort. Reattaching fallen gutters is difficult and can lead to much bigger problems if not done correctly. Luckily, this project typically won’t break the bank. It typically costs just under $2,000 for a complete gutter replacement, while a replacement for a small home may cost as little as $350.

3.   The Masonry
If your new home has masonry, count yourself lucky. Masonry is beautiful and durable and raises your home’s value. However, even long-lasting materials like stone and brick are affected by the passage of time. Sealing masonry on a regular basis prevents water penetration and cracking, but what can you do if masonry is already showing its age?

Minor cracks in masonry can be repaired by handy homeowners. However, if you have widespread issues with deteriorating mortar or cracked masonry, it’s important to consult a professional. Not only does cracked masonry tend to worsen with time, but it can be a sign of structural problems, too. Repairing cracked mortar and bricks ranges from $400 to around $1,300. But if masonry cracks are merely a symptom of foundation issues, expect to spend upward of $7,000 for foundation repairs.

There’s nothing wrong with quick fixes that make your home look better in the short term. However, if you really want to turn your fixer-upper’s curb appeal around, you need to plan for the big projects, too. Even if they don’t happen overnight, putting these three projects on your renovation to-do list will put your fixer-upper on the path to becoming the neighborhood showstopper.