Curb appeal counts. It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot when we’re talking about the Cleveland real estate market, and while it matters when you’re buying and selling a home, it also matters when we’re talking about rental properties.
Tenants want to connect emotionally with the home they’ll ultimately rent, and to do that, they have to be impressed with how it looks.
Curb appeal is the first impression your property is making. You can leverage the power of this first impression by really sprucing up what the outside of your rental home has going on.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to improving curb appeal, we are sharing 5 quick and easy ways to improve your curb appeal. This should matter to you because it can impact how quickly you attract good tenants. It can also influence what you’re able to charge in rent.
Try these five tips.
1. Focus on Cleanliness: Clear Away Debris and Wash the Windows
Good curb appeal starts with cleanliness.
We always tell rental property owners that a clean house is absolutely essential. No good tenant wants to move into someone else’s dirt. The same also applies for the outside of your property. It needs to be clean. When prospective tenants arrive for a showing or cruise through the neighborhood to get a look at the place before they schedule a showing, you want them to see a clean, well-maintained outdoor space.
Make sure all the debris is cleared away from the front of the house, the driveway, and the walkway. Even the sidewalk in front of your home needs some attention. Tenants won’t want to see trash gathering in corners of the yard or lawn debris pushing up against the garage.
When trash bins get left outside at the curb too long, they fall over and they could potentially travel up and down the street. That’s not a great way to attract new residents. Make sure those trash bins are stored away, especially when you’re marketing and showing your rental 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. Replace any window screens or window blinds that may be an eyesore. Clean the windows so they’re bright and transparent. Make sure there’s a strong porch light that illuminates the home at night.
2. Power Wash Your Property
As you work towards making your curb appeal clean, you’ll want to do more than dust away the dirt, debris, and collection of sticks, branches, leaves, and insects that you’re likely to find in strange places.
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 gunk gathers over the years.
If you don’t have your own power washer, they’re easy enough to rent, and it won’t be terribly expensive.
Tenants will notice the brighter, lighter feel when they come to see the home. Blow away any dead leaves, trim back any branches that threaten the roof or obstruct a view from the windows. Power washing and cleaning your property’s exterior are extra steps that tenants will appreciate. It will be much easier to love your property.
3. Put Together Some Simple but Pretty Landscaping
The climate in Cleveland is not always predictable. We have warm, sometimes hot summers, and cold, sometimes freezing winters. There’s plenty of rain, snow, and wind, as well as heat and sunshine. This means you’ll have to pay attention to your lawn more in the spring and summer, when things are blooming and growing.
Make a plan for winter landscaping as well. If you’re renting out a home in the winter, you want to make sure the snow is shoveled and the ice is cleared away from steps and walkways. This type of curb appeal is absolutely essential. You can’t have tenants slipping and falling on their way to see your home.
Tenants will want a nice looking lawn and outdoor space. This will catch their attention immediately. But, they don’t want to see anything overcomplicated that might look like extra work for them.
As long as your landscaping is neat, trimmed, and healthy, it’s going to look great. Your grass should be kept short and some kind of irrigation system should be in place to water it.
Cost-effective landscaping will include native flowers and plants. You don’t have to spend a lot when you want to upgrade your landscaping with decorative plants. There are a lot of options in Northern Ohio. Look for plants that are naturally found in and around our region. Look for different sizes, colors, and shapes, and position them strategically around the perimeter of your property. Maximize shade when you can.
Work with a lawn service or a landscaping contractor who is willing to keep up with your property for a low monthly fee. This will relieve your tenants of any outdoor maintenance responsibilities they might not be equipped for. You can include the cost of the professional landscaping services in your rental amount. A professional service will also keep your curb appeal looking great when it matters the most.
4. Make Some Front Door Improvements
Curb appeal should really include the front door, which is impossible for prospective tenants to avoid. They’re likely to walk through it at some point.
When your front door is covered in cobwebs and insects or it’s dirty and the paint is peeling, no one is going to feel thrilled about coming through it and entering the home. But, a new, modern door that’s attractive and colorful will help you make a great first impression.
Consider either paint or a new door. If you’re not sure your front door needs all that, consider new hardware to grab the attention of prospective residents:
- Paint your front door. You’ll be surprised at how a freshly painted front door will really make your entire home pop. Choose a bright color that contrasts with the color of your property. Not only does this help your curb appeal, it’s also good for the property. Updated paint is a good idea every few years because it increases the durability and the lifespan of that door. The most extreme weather hits your front door, whether it’s sun or heavy snow.
- 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.
- New hardware looks good, even on an aging door. Try a new doorknob or knocker. Hang bright lanterns or a wreath.
Don’t be afraid to decorate your front door. There’s no need to go overboard, but a simple wreath or a welcome sign on the door can go a long way in helping tenants to feel welcome and comfortable. Consider a pot of fresh flowers and make sure the mailbox is in good shape.
5. Curb Appeal Includes High Tech Amenities
When we talk about curb appeal, we’re mostly talking about aesthetics. Curb appeal allows your property to look prettier.
But, there’s also functionality, too. Having the right gadgets in place can also improve your curb appeal and foster good first impressions. Technology, for example, can now be considered curb appeal in many ways. Think about the technology your tenant will appreciate, and add it to your curb appeal.
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.
- 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.
- Smart home tech. When tenants can sync systems to their phones or an app on those phones, they feel great about their home. Setting the outside lights to go on at a certain time, for example, can be a great way to enhance your curb appeal.
These are five great curb appeal ideas that work for nearly every home. But, we know that your rental property is unique. If you’d like some customized ideas and suggestions, we’d be happy to make them. Please contact us at IIP Management. We work with owners in Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Parma, Solon, and South Euclid (Cuyahoga County).