Curb appeal is a top priority when it comes to selling your home, and that means your home’s exterior needs to be in optimal condition. In fact, 71% of prospective home buyers say a home’s curb appeal is one of the most important factors in their buying decision, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

Here are seven exterior home improvements tips that can increase resale value and help you sell your home even faster:

Exterior Home Improvements

This infographic was provided by LawnStarter

Replace Your Front Door

Believe it or not, a front door says a lot about you and your home. A quality front door can be a huge asset for your home’s value, and how secure your home feels upon entrance. Kelly Fallis, of Remote Stylist, says, “It’s the first thing a buyer walks through. Repaint or replace; their first impression rests on it.” According to HouseLogic, a standard 20-gauge steel door can cost around $1,230, but that investment can more than pay for itself with the amount of value it adds to your home. A quality front door replacement can bring you a return of around 102%, according to Remodeling’s most recent Cost vs. Value report.

Update Landscaping

Over 92% of prospective home buyers use the Internet at some point during their search process, meaning a lot of eyes are going to be looking for pictures of your home. Many times, the first photo prospective buyers will see of your home is the exterior. To showcase your property in the best light possible and to drive interested parties in for a closer look, make sure your landscaping is tidy and up-to-date.

According to Bankrate, a quality landscaping job has the potential to net you a whopping 252% return in increased home value. John Harris, a landscape economist, stated that updated landscaping can increase a home’s value by 28% and have it sold 10 to 15% more quickly.

New Paint

Most prospective homeowners tend to think about what they need to update or work on in the homes they’re looking at. Repainting your home can cause less stress for the buyer since they know the job is fresh and adds to the look of the home. That being said, don’t go overboard with color choices. Choose warm and inviting colors, such as taupe, tan or white.

“Individuals too often minimize the impact of a first impression,” says James Alisch, managing director of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. “The exterior paint job of a home greatly impacts how potential buyers feel about a place.” You want to make sure potential buyers can envision themselves inside your home, and having a neutral exterior color is appealing to a larger pool of buyers.

If you do feel the need to add some brighter colors, make sure they aren’t overpowering and can work well with the neutral base. It’s best to consult your local home improvement store to discuss your options and budget.

Add Home Automation

The home automation industry is expanding faster than ever. Nearly everyone has a smartphone with them at all times, so adding wireless automation to your home could be the feature swaying a buyer. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of adding home automation into your residence is around $2,100.

Clair Jones of LocalInternetService.com, says, “Most smart locks are available for under $250. For such a small purchase cost, homeowners can expect a full return on their investment when they sell their home, and may even see an opportunity to present their property as a ‘smart home,’ which is a hot market term right now.”

Like most technology products, the price ranges vary from cost-effective to break the bank, so weigh your potential return before proceeding.

Add a Privacy Fence

Having a quality fence can drastically change the look and security of your home and property. Depending on where you live, fences are on average four to nine feet tall and made of quality materials such as wood or stone. While a chain link fence is an option and may be secure, it may not look as nice or provide the privacy a wood or stone wall will. The average cost of a wood fence is $2,450, but homeowners can expect to get 100% back in updated home value, according to HouseLogic.

Updated Windows

Replacing old, single-pane windows is a great way to add a level of security, modernize your home and help bring energy costs down. According to Energy Star, you can save from $125-$465 per year on energy bills. While you may not recoup the entire cost of the new windows when you sell your home, many prospective buyers will see value in energy saving additions. New windows are a great way to give new life to your home without a ton of changes and can help influence a buyer’s decision.

Pressure Wash

Pressure washing is hands down the best bang for your buck in terms of rejuvenating the exterior look and feel of your home. Many people don’t realize how dirty their driveways and walkways are until they start pressure washing the surfaces and seeing the difference.

Bob Vila says, “If the paint is still in good condition, a light pressure wash will brighten it up and welcome visitors.” For the low average price of $236 (maybe more depending on lot and home size), you can have your home and property pressure washed. You also have the ability to rent a machine at almost any home improvement store and turn it into a weekend project for yourself.

There are multiple ways to increase your home’s value and even make a decent return on the original costs. Some projects can be done by you, such as pressure washing, and some may need an extra helping hand or financing, such as installing new energy-efficient windows. At Castle & Cooke mortgage, we’ve helped homeowners across the nation finance their home improvement dreams through cash-out refinancing or other renovation loan programs, and we hope to earn your business, too.

If you’re looking to start a home improvement project, contact your local mortgage lender or an industry specialist find out the best options for you and your home.