5 Ways to Improve the Curb Appeal of Your Investment Property - Article Banner

Whether you’re renting out a single-family home or units in a building, a commercial space or a residential house – curb appeal counts. It creates the first impression that potential renters will have about your property, and that first impression carries a lot of emotional weight. 

Emotions aren’t always a part of your strategy when it comes to real estate investments. After all, you’re treating this like a business. But, the people who are looking for a place to rent want to form an emotional connection with the property they ultimately choose. 

Curb appeal gets them there. 

Wherever you happen to be in the metro Washington, D.C. area, make sure you’re prioritizing curb appeal before you list a property and start showing it. People will drive by. They’ll walk by. They’ll determine whether they even want to schedule a showing based on how things look from the street. 

We have 5 suggestions on how to improve the curb appeal of your investment property.

1. Spruce Up the Front Door and Entryway 

How do people enter the house? Typically, they walk through the front door. That’s your starting point.

It’s easy to focus on the front door and the entryway when you’re upgrading your curb appeal because it’s a small, contained space with a lot of possibilities. First, take a look at the condition of the front door. Is it covered in cobwebs and insects? Is there peeling paint? That’s not a great way to attract tenants. 

You’ll also want to make sure the door is in good physical condition. When you’re looking at the door from inside of the property, is there a lot of light coming through? If so, there might be a problem with your insulation and the weather stripping around the door. 

Decide if you need a brand new door or if a coat of fresh paint on the front door will be enough. When you have a new, modern door that’s attractive and colorful, you’re likely to make a great first impression. 

When your door is in good condition, a simple coat of paint is all you need. A freshly painted front door will not only increase your curb appeal – it will provide an entirely new look and feel to your property. Updated paint is also a good idea every few years because it increases the durability and the lifespan of that door. Think about what the front door takes on; there’s bright sunlight, rain, sometimes snow, and even wind.  

Install a brand new door if you notice that more than paint is needed. When your door begins to deteriorate, it’s better to replace it with a new door that’s already primed, painted, and ready to be installed. 

If the door needs neither replacing nor painting, there are still some curb appeal tweaks that you can make. Consider installing new hardware to the door. A new doorknob or a knocker can really make the door pop. Hang a wreath or put out a welcome mat.

2. Let There Be Light

Curb appeal requires good lighting. There should be a strong porch light and plenty of bright lights around the property so the home is easy to see if prospective tenants are checking out the neighborhood at night. Provide a well-lit property that’s secure and comforting. 

Other ways to upgrade your lighting with curb appeal in mind include:

  • Solar lights on a path that leads to the front door or along the driveway. 
  • Lights outside and inside the garage.
  • Motion detector lights on the house or any outbuildings, such as garages or sheds.

One of the reasons that lighting is such an easy curb appeal upgrade is that it comes in a wide range of prices and styles. You won’t have to spend a lot of money installing new lights. And, when you choose energy efficient lights, you can use that as a selling point. Tenants will have lower electric bills and they won’t have to replace bulbs every few months. 

Good lighting serves a functional purpose at your rental property and also an aesthetic one. Use them to create the right curb appeal in front of your house and around any outdoor space, whether it’s a balcony, a small patio, a large yard, or even a courtyard. 

3. Remove Trash and Litter 

You won’t have impressive curb appeal if the outside of your home or building isn’t clean. 

Have you ever driven through a neighborhood and been surprised to see trash bins rolling around in the streets or left outside for days after the trash was collected? It’s not attractive, and you don’t want bins and debris to be the first thing that people notice about your property. 

Clear away any debris from the front of the house, the yard, the walkway, and the driveway. If you detect trash on the sidewalk or even on the street in front of your property, clean it up. Tenants won’t want to see empty bottles and crumpled bags piling up in corners of the yard or against the property. They don’t want to see lawn debris pushing up against the garage. 

Make sure the outside of the property is clean. 

Once you have cleared away the dirt, debris, and dust. You’ll also want to power wash the entire house as well as the driveway, sidewalk, and any paths. Power wash the patio if you have one and the deck. It’s not expensive and it can be surprising how much dirt gathers over the years. 

You will notice the brighter, lighter feel, and this will help you attract tenants when they arrive for showings or drive by the home. 

If you’re renting out a commercial space, make sure the parking lot is equally as clean, evenly paved, and free of dirt and debris. Any common areas in multi-family properties also need this attention to cleanliness. 

After you’ve power washed the property, clean the windows, too. Windows will have a huge impact on your curb appeal. Tenants won’t want to pull up and see bent and damaged blinds in the windows. They won’t want to see torn screens. If the windows are too dirty, they won’t be able to see much at all. 

4. Invest in Low-Maintenance Landscaping

Landscaping is a big part of curb appeal, and you have to strike the right balance. You want the outdoor space to look healthy and attractive, but you don’t want to turn away good tenants who might worry that too much work would be involved to keep it looking great. 

If you have a yard, keep it mowed and green. Bushes should be trimmed and flower beds should be weeded. Think about how to make the outdoor space as low-maintenance as possible. Mulch can work wonders, and sturdy, regional plants and trees will thrive without a lot of work. 

Make the lawn and landscaping welcoming and inviting. Don’t plant 10 rose bushes, however, and forget the exotic koi pond and topiaries. Consider hiring a landscaping or lawn service to take care of the mowing in the summer and the snow shoveling in the winter. You can roll the cost into the rental amount and provide a gorgeous exterior without requiring your tenants to keep it up to your standards. 

5. Convenience Contributes to Curb Appeal

lawnIf you’re thinking like a tenant, you’ll know that good curb appeal is more than a freshly painted front door and a well-maintained lawn. It’s also about convenience and security. They want to keep up with the other homes in your neighborhood. So, install some things that those other homes have. 

That includes technology

Some of the things that tenants will appreciate when it comes to your tech-friendly curb appeal include:

  • Keyless entries. These types of systems allow your tenants to lock or unlock their home without using a physical key and lock. You might be using a system like this to enable self-showings. If that’s the case, keep the keyless entry on your door. Tenants won’t have to worry about misplacing keys or making new ones. Instead, they can open the door with a code or a phone app. 
  • Lights and even locks that are on a timer.
  • Video doorbells. Tenants love being able to see who is at their home before they answer the door. It’s a great way for them to keep tabs on the property when they’re not at home. They can be alerted that a package has been delivered, for example, even if they’re not there. 

These are the five best recommendations we always make to property owners who are trying to improve their curb appeal. But, we know that curb appeal is pretty personal. What works well for one home won’t necessarily work best for you. So, if you’d like us to evaluate your property and make some suggestions, we’d be happy to. Contact us at Stripe Management. We work with owners, investors, and both residential and commercial properties in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Washington, D.C., and anywhere in the DC metro area.