First Impressions Matter
Let’s say you’ve just brought a prospective tenant to view your Howard County property.
Put yourself in their shoes for a second – what’s your first impression of the property when you look at its exterior?
It might be tough to form an unbiased opinion, but envision your property and try your best.
If you notice several problems with the outside of your property that would stop you from wanting to live there, it’s time to make some changes that will add curb appeal.
9 Ways to Add Curb Appeal to Your Rental Home
1. Update the exterior paint
Nothing makes a home immediately look unattractive quite like chipped or outdated exterior paint. You don’t want to make a bad first impression with your tenants, so make sure you paint the exterior of the property as needed.
2. Install new exterior shutters
Houses with worn out, outdated, or brightly colored shutters are another turnoff for many renters. Updating the shutters can give virtually any home a quick and inexpensive facelift. Choose a neutral color such as black or white, depending on the siding and trim of the rest of the house.
3. Update the front door
The front door can add an appealing pop of color to the property or it can make potential renters not even want to go inside.
Not sure how your front door is affecting potential tenants’ opinions of your property? Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the door painted an attractive, modern color that goes well with the rest of the house?
- Is the door hardware (knocker, doorknob, etc.) up-to-date and in good condition?
- Is the door free of damage and/or chipped paint?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, consider updating the front door to add some extra curb appeal and let high-quality tenants know that you care about maintaining the property.
4. Add flowers
A garden full of bright-colored flowers lets potential tenants know that you care about the way your property’s exterior looks.
However, planting a garden isn’t as simple as choosing any flowers you want and sticking them in the ground.
In Howard County and other areas around the Mid-Atlantic, it’s best to choose perennials because they are hardy and low-maintenance.
Here are a few options for perennials that you can plant on your property:
- Veronica – These plants are usually blue, but they can also be white, pink, or purple. They require such little maintenance that you’ll even find them growing by the side of the road!
- Astilbe – These plants come in many different colors and need very little care to thrive on your property. They can grow in either sunlight or shade, making them a great choice for any area of the yard.
- Cranesbill – These plants vary in color and can thrive in either full sun or some shade. They require very little care and are rarely susceptible to pests.
- Coral bells – These easy-to-maintain plants are typically bright red, pink, or white, and they thrive most when growing in the shade.
Once you’ve planted your perennials, make sure you maintain them by watering as needed, pulling up any weeds, fertilizing/mulching, and inspecting for pests. That way, your garden will stay in top condition and your property will be more likely to attract high-quality tenants.
5. Plant trees
Adding trees to your property is a great way to make it look more attractive while also boosting its value. Once you’ve picked a tree, here are the steps you can follow to plant it properly:
- Dig a hole for the tree to be placed in. The hole will need to be at least two times as wide as the root ball of your desired tree.
- Remove the tree from its container and carefully place it in the hole.
- Move the tree around until it is positioned where you want it.
- Fill the hole around the tree to stabilize it. Throughout the process, make sure your tree remains straight and in the desired position.
- Trees that aren’t very sturdy will need some extra stabilization. Do this by adding stakes in the ground around the tree and tying the tree to the stakes.
Once you’ve followed these steps, remember to maintain your new tree properly.
You’ll need to water and prune the tree consistently after planting it, but eventually it won’t require as much maintenance.
You’ll also want to add mulch to the planting area – just make sure it stays two inches away from the trunk of your tree.
Whatever you do, make sure you choose the best trees for your specific environment. You may need to do some research and/or talk to a local Howard County arborist to pick the right tree.
Also, be sure to plant your tree a safe distance from your home to avoid roots growing towards your home’s foundation or driveway.
6. Maintain the lawn
It isn’t enough to just mow your property’s lawn every once in a while – you should also weed and water the lawn regularly to make sure it looks appealing to everyone who views the property.
If you don’t have the time or resources to do this, hire a trusted contractor to take care of it for you.
Otherwise, your unkempt lawn could scare top-quality tenants off before they even set foot in the home!
7. Trim overgrown shrubs/bushes
Overgrown shrubs and bushes are susceptible to disease and pests and can make your property look neglected. Avoid these problems by following some simple tips for keeping your shrubs and plants trimmed regularly:
- For most bushes, you’ll want to prune in the late winter or early spring. Avoid pruning in the late spring or early summer since doing so increases your likelihood of damaging the plant by removing new growth.
- When pruning, always use a sharp, high-quality pair of clippers or gardening shears.
- When you cut a branch, make the cut at its base.
Some shrubs/bushes may benefit from specific pruning techniques, so do your research before you start cutting and find out exactly what the plants on your property require.
8. Keep trash/debris off of the property
Not only does debris on your property look unattractive – it promotes plant disease on your lawn! So, make sure you regularly clean up any branches, leaves, and trash on your property to keep your lawn healthy and your tenants happy.
9. Use a pressure washer
A dirty exterior can make even the most attractive paint job look bad and can even make newer homes look much older than they really are (not to mention neglected). If you notice bird droppings, insects, or dirt on the outside of your property, grab a pressure washer and start cleaning.
Follow these tips for boosting curb appeal, and your prospective tenants are sure to take notice and envision themselves living happily in your property.
If you need help hiring a reliable contractor to perform these tasks for you, feel free to reach out to our property management team.
Whether your property is in Elkridge, Columbia, Fulton, or somewhere else in Howard County, we’d love to help – contact us today!