Older homes have their charm, but they also have their often-long list of needs.  Older appliances and components wear out, decor becomes outdated, and often what worked at one point in your family's life is no longer practical.  You could buy a new home that suits your needs better, but you may want to consider what more and more homeowners are doing:  remodel what you've got to make the space work.  That's especially true if you like the neighborhood and the location.

But that may mean you've got a number of things to tackle, so where do you start?  Real estate professionals are almost unanimous in their recommendation:  exterior before interior, front yard before back.  Improvements you can make which boost your home's appearance from the street (also called 'curb appeal') have the double benefit of adding value to your home while at the same time making it more attractive to potential buyers.  That's something to keep in mind even if you're not planning on selling in the near future.  The economy fluctuates, life changes, and you may find yourself in the position where selling your home is the smart thing to do.  That's where curb appeal can be most important, because buyers who don't see what they like when they drive up to your home are not likely to take a peek inside.  They'll assume that since the front looks neglected, the rest of the house probably is, too.

Here are some things to consider to make your home more attractive and valuable:

  • If your roof looks worn, it may be time to replace it.  Choose an energy-efficient, durable material such as a steel roof and you'll save money on your utility bills in the process.
  • Consider adding a porch or a front deck.  Sitting areas at the front of a home convey friendliness and a warm welcome.
  • Update your sidewalk, especially if the concrete is cracked or heaved.  Consider replacing it with flagstone, pavers, or brick for a distinctive look.
  • Replace your windows, and in the process don't overlook the possibility of enlarging window openings or choosing completely different styles.  You can totally transform your home's appearance.
  • Change your front door.  This is one of the most important changes you can make.  New energy-efficient, maintenance-free doors can boost your home's value, save you money, and add to the attractiveness of your home.  If you've got the space, consider adding sidelights or a transom to bring more light into the entryway interior.
  • Don't forget the accents.  Added touches such as window shutters, light sconces flanking the door, elegant mail boxes and house numbers, etc. can dress up your house like a piece of good jewelry.  No matter what the style of your home, there are things you can add to complement the overall look.
If you need some inspiration, one realtor suggested you drive around your neighborhood and identify the homes you are the most attracted to, and take note of the elements on the facade that most catch your attention.  You may find touches that will work for your own home. Quarve Contracting, Inc., is a full-service exterior home improvement contractor.  For three decades we've been providing quality services such as roofing, siding, and replacement windows and doors to Minneapolis/St. Paul area homeowners.