Improving curb appeal

If you find that you do not have the spare cash to make major renovations when trying to sell your home you can still make improvements that will increase your chances of selling.

Curb appeal is a term used by estate agents to describe the attractiveness of the exterior of your house to potential buyers,if they like the outside they are more likely to get out of the car and want to take a look inside however create a bad impression with an untidy, unattractive exterior and messy garden and they will probably just drive off and never know the wonders inside.

It’s a good idea to go outside, step back and take a good critical look at your house and see it as others see it.

Think of your house as a product about to go on the market and whether it’s going to beat the competition.

Fix It First

If you need to make improvements to your home, do the work before it goes on the market people do not want to imagine how it will look once its finished.

Remove any clutter in your yard then repair any cracks in the driveway or any other walking surfaces.

If your lawn is not looking its best then apply some dressing and re-seed. Keep it mowed at all times. Prune trees and shrubs of dead wood. Weed any flower beds and add flower-filled planters to give extra colour and to make your property more appealing.

Make sure decks and walkways are clean by hiring a power washer then do the necessary painting, staining or sealing.

If you have a screened in porch make sure it is clean and there are no holes in the meshing.

The condition of your exterior walls directly affects the look and curb appeal of your home, if your exterior paint is looking a bit shabby with faded colours and cracked or peeling surfaces, you need to repaint.

If you are planning to do it yourself you really need to follow instructions carefully to get a professional looking job.

As with any painting job, preparation is the key and reading and understanding instructions on how paint should be applied.

Paint should be applied to a clean, dry surface but a lot of people ignore this advise and wonder why the job turns out bad. If you are using a pressure washer to clean the outside remember they don’t always remove all of the dirt. Let the water dry and then wash with soapy water using a sponge and/or mild scrub brush to remove any dirt left behind by the pressure washer.

Water pressure tools can inject water behind the exterior skin of your home and the water that is driven deep into the structure will eventually make its way back out as a liquid or a gas and can cause bubbles, blisters and peeling in the brand-new paint, so wait a few days to make sure it is all dried out before painting.

Once all loose paint has been scraped off, look for cracks where water can enter the skin of your home. Caulk these cracks and wipe the water-based caulk with a damp sponge to produce a professional looking joint. Priming new masonry surfaces or bare wood is very important. Even more important is covering the primer as soon as possible with the finish paint.

Mickey Ramnarine, sales administrator at A.L Thompson’s says that one of the best exterior paints on the market at the moment is Valspar as it includes a self-priming formula that saves time and money on priming. Other bonuses he says are that, “Valspar is acrylic and very flexible which means it hides minor surface defects and cracks as it is put on. It’s also very fast drying and has resistance against mold, mildew and algae growth as well as maximum UV protection.” They also come in a large range of vibrant colours and the paints are extremely durable.

When using any paint avoid painting in direct sunlight as it can cause rapid drying which creates a skin over the freshly-applied paint. As the remaining water in the paint dries, the paint develops bubbles. Wind causes paint to dry too quickly and can stop some paints from achieving the best bond to the surface being painted.

The best paints are ones that form a weatherproof barrier against heat and rain. Most stucco and masonry structures expand and contract in response to the weather and structural stresses,the best of modern paints such as Valspar, will actually fill and bridge hairline cracks as they go, helping to prevent damaging water penetration.