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Curb Appeal

kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
We're refinancing our house, and it needs to appraise for $3,000 more than the initial appraisal 2 years ago.  We've since upgraded all of our faucets, upgraded the garage door and painted the entire home, so I think we'll be okay but would rather be safe than sorry.  

I'm hoping you guys will have some ideas for relatively inexpensive ways to improve the curb appeal from the front.  Our plan was to hire a landscaper next summer to raise the flower bed under the picture window, remove the rocks and plant shrubs and flowers, but it's a serious eye sore in the interim, especially compared to our neighbors properties.

These photos are from last fall on Google Earth.  The second one shows the rock bed under the picture window that is in the worst shape.


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Re: Curb Appeal

  • labrolabro Hotlanta member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    A real appraisal won't take into account any minor upgrades - faucets, lighting, landscaping, fresh paint, etc. I think all those things can add up when you're trying to sell your home because a buyer will look and see all of these nice things that they don't have to replace. However, an appraiser is going to look mainly at your area comps - what are other similar homes within the region valued at/selling for; key features such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms; square footage; overall home condition (basically is the siding falling off your house, is there mold, major visible damage, etc.).

    With that said, I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with some effort into boosting your curb appeal just because. I can't really see the rock garden well from any of your photos so I guess I don't get the eyesore aspect, but the shrubs I do see are kind of big and bulky. I'd trim them down a bit so they aren't almost taking over the bottom of your windows, and maybe fill in the inbetween spaces with some perennials. My neighbor told me about some irises that will re-bloom all season long rather than just in the spring. You could also go for a flowering shrub like knock-out roses, or toss in some hostas (seems kind of shady so that's why I'm suggesting them).



    kimmiinthemittenernursej
  • Appraisers are only interested in square feet, price of comparable properties sold in the past year.  The do not care about curb appeal.  They just do the math.
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  • labro said:
    A real appraisal won't take into account any minor upgrades - faucets, lighting, landscaping, fresh paint, etc. I think all those things can add up when you're trying to sell your home because a buyer will look and see all of these nice things that they don't have to replace. However, an appraiser is going to look mainly at your area comps - what are other similar homes within the region valued at/selling for; key features such as number of bedrooms and bathrooms; square footage; overall home condition (basically is the siding falling off your house, is there mold, major visible damage, etc.).

    With that said, I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with some effort into boosting your curb appeal just because. I can't really see the rock garden well from any of your photos so I guess I don't get the eyesore aspect, but the shrubs I do see are kind of big and bulky. I'd trim them down a bit so they aren't almost taking over the bottom of your windows, and maybe fill in the inbetween spaces with some perennials. My neighbor told me about some irises that will re-bloom all season long rather than just in the spring. You could also go for a flowering shrub like knock-out roses, or toss in some hostas (seems kind of shady so that's why I'm suggesting them).

    Agree completely with @labro. Aside from major renovations like she mentioned you don't have a lot of control over your home's appraised value. It is mostly going to depend on whether home prices in your area have increased in general. Also, although they have tried to crack-down on this generally, most appraisals for financing or refinancing come out at the number that is needed. 
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  • I can't tell from the pictures whether this matters, but our appraiser really cared about peeling paint. That seemed like the only thing they looked for. 
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Thanks ladies!  

    Our refinance guy said that curb appeal and new paint helps appraisals when I asked for tips.  Our outside is vinyl siding and needs a power wash which we'll take care of, but paint overall is good.  I'd like to make the house a different color, but that's just for myself.  I meant to take a better photo of the front window when I left, but was in a rush and forgot.
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  • We are actually facing this very issue right now.  We want to refinance our house that we bought a little over a year ago, brand new.  So, most of the comparables in our neighborhood are the brand new ones that have closed recently since we were one of the first people in.  Except, we have things like a concrete driveway, and front landscaping.  The new houses do not have those things, everyone has to add them after they move in.  But our loan officer pretty much told us that it's not really something that helps increase the value substantially over a similar home.  

    Now, when you go to SELL your house, things like curb appeal, new paint, etc. help then, because they are things that appeal to buyers.  I don't think I've ever seen a buyer choose a house because it has new faucets though. Like others have said, it just all depends on what comparable homes in your area are selling for.

    That being said, I think if you added some colorful flowers, and repainted your shutters and front door and garage door to a darker color would help the house pop more (I know you said you just painted the exterior, but the white just sort of blends in with the rest of the house).  I'd actually get rid of the shrubs under the front windows, and put flower boxes under the windows and plant shorter plants in the flower bed.  
    Married 9.12.15
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    kimmiinthemitten
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Since I do still want to add curb appeal, here are better pics (keep in mind it's April in Michigan so lawn service starts next week). 
    image
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Totally agree with PPs about curb appeal and small upgrades mattering. However, if you have replaced large appliance, HVAC systems, flooring (carpet to hardwood/tile) or laminate to granite countertops that would make a difference. I'm not suggesting you do those things, just if you have make sure you tell the appraiser.
  • badbnagdwaybadbnagdway member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited April 2016

    julieanne912 - I agree that shortening the height of the shrubs and adding window boxes would help a lot. Maybe in the meantime before you are able to take out the gravel under the picture window you could neaten it up a bit and add two Adirondack chairs - maybe even colorful ones.   
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    kimmiinthemittenMairePoppy
  • spockforprezspockforprez Virginia member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    We are having some landscaping done in the front yard too. Mostly it's to make room for the ramp but I'm taking it as an opportunity to get rid of the ugly boxwoods and install a prettier shrub (one that will flower!). 

    Tagging onto the idea of appraisals - we too are hoping to refinance soon after buying last year. We replaced all the carpet in the house with hardwoods when we bought the house. We are about to completely renovate both bathrooms; again, it's mostly for accessibility for H but there's no reason we can't put in nicer fixtures and tile while we are at it. We are also going to create a laundry room/pantry in our honker of a family room (450 sq. feet). Right now there is no pantry and the laundry is in the garage.

    Can any of the previous posters weigh in on whether these things would help our home appraise higher? We had $16k in equity the day we bought it, as it was priced below the appraisal and then our down payment, but I'm hoping we can squeeze out another $5-10k so we can get rid of our PMI. 
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We are having some landscaping done in the front yard too. Mostly it's to make room for the ramp but I'm taking it as an opportunity to get rid of the ugly boxwoods and install a prettier shrub (one that will flower!). 

    Tagging onto the idea of appraisals - we too are hoping to refinance soon after buying last year. We replaced all the carpet in the house with hardwoods when we bought the house. We are about to completely renovate both bathrooms; again, it's mostly for accessibility for H but there's no reason we can't put in nicer fixtures and tile while we are at it. We are also going to create a laundry room/pantry in our honker of a family room (450 sq. feet). Right now there is no pantry and the laundry is in the garage.

    Can any of the previous posters weigh in on whether these things would help our home appraise higher? We had $16k in equity the day we bought it, as it was priced below the appraisal and then our down payment, but I'm hoping we can squeeze out another $5-10k so we can get rid of our PMI. 

    Yes changing carpet to hardwood and renovating the bathrooms, adding a laundry room/pantry inside the house should help your home appraise higher. Those are permanent improvements to your home. When we had our house appraised for a refinance a few years back the appraiser asked if we had made any improvements to the house.
  • Something that is easy is adding woodchips or other ground cover in the rock beds. It makes it instantly look tidy. Add a few small pops of colour with some plants. It probably won't help with the appraisal value ...
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Paint the door a bright color. Add large planters on both sides of the door, fill with annuals. Put out a new welcome mat.
                       
    ernursej
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