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Selling Your Home? 3 Ways to Improve Its Curb Appeal

Sprucing up the exterior of your house could increase its value—and shorten the time it stays on the market

YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE to make a first impression, and the same goes for your home—especially when you’re trying to attract buyers. Whether you’re looking to sell now or in the future, focus on upgrades that are worth the time and money, recommends Shawna Winter, managing broker of the Big Sky Real Estate Company in Big Sky, Montana. “Walk around your home as if you were a buyer, and ask yourself what needs fixing, updating or replacing.”

“Before deciding on a renovation project, talk to local real estate agents about what will attract buyers in your market,” suggests Marie Imundo, SVP of Mortgage Product Strategy, Global Wealth & Investment Management. Then consider how you’ll finance it. For small items, your savings or credit card may be the best option. For larger undertakings, either a home equity line of credit secured by your home or a flexible line of credit secured by your investments, such as Merrill Lynch’s Loan Management Account® (LMA®), might work best, Imundo says. “Your financial advisor and loan officer can help you make these decisions.”

“Before deciding on a renovation project, talk to local real estate agents about what will attract buyers in your market.” —Marie Imundo, SVP of Mortgage Product Strategy, Global Wealth & Investment Management

While you may be considering upgrading your kitchen or painting your living room walls, don’t neglect small improvements to the exterior of your house before you put it on the market.

“Your home’s curb appeal can help minimize the time it spends on the market,” says Winter. Below, she suggests a handful of high-value projects to consider.

Selling soon? “Declutter, declutter, declutter!” says Winter. Then, touch up your lawn and wash windows and deck areas. Also, canvass the front of the house for common offenders like eroded gutters or missing shingles. Once your home is in tip-top shape, hire a professional photographer—after all, most buyers’ first impression comes when they see photos from the online listing, not when they enter your driveway.

Thinking about a move in the next year or two? “Ask yourself, does the entry look welcoming?” Winter suggests. Changes such as a new walkway or entryway landscaping may be worth considering. Larger investments like a new roof can also add significantly to your home’s curb appeal, and a simple fix like upgrading your front door or garage door(s) could significantly increase your home’s value, according to Remodeling Magazine.

Below, Remodeling Magazine rates three exterior upgrades—and how much they might add to your home’s value.

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3 Questions to Ask Your Advisor

  1. What’s the best way for me to pay for my home renovation?
  2. How can I make good use of the money I earn from the sale of my home?
  3. Could downsizing to a smaller home help me prepare for retirement?

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