Home Mistakes You're Making That Wreck Curb Appeal

Whether you're thinking of putting your home on the market or you're simply trying to impress the neighbors, your home's curb appeal is important. It doesn't just set the tone of your own personal style, either. Your home's street presence also contributes to the first impression of your entire neighborhood. No one wants to live in or near the house that's known as the town eyesore, even if it looks like a palace behind closed doors.

Real estate powerhouse, Barbara Corcoran explained to CNBC that regardless of your budget, spending money on your home's curb appeal is always a good investment because just like with people, the first impression of your door, front walk, and even the state of your mailbox and driveway set the tone for the rest of your home. Expert and host of The Deed: Chicago, Sean Conlon agrees, he explained, "When people pull up, they should go, 'I could picture myself pulling up in the evening and this being my home.'"

Curb appeal can be improved with any budget as long as it's well thought out

When it comes to curb appeal, not all projects and improvements are created equal, however. You could have a very well-maintained home with absolutely no curb appeal because, according to Paula Monthofer, a real estate agent in Flagstaff, Arizona, it lacks contrast, balance, and symmetry. She explained to RealSimple, "Contrast dictates what our eye sees first, like a pot of yellow flowers against red brick." Balance and symmetry are a little more subtle, however. Properly placed shutters, matching window boxes, and even a well-planted flower bed help "convey stability" and give the home the balance and symmetry that Monthofer describes.

Don't start stressing about huge projects like installing new windows or an expensive front door, however. As Deb Cohen, who runs the popular Instagram account @thefrontdoorproject explained to the outlet, "You don't need a big budget to create outstanding curb appeal." Curb appeal can be as simple as choosing the right color combinations to match your aesthetic and keeping things tidy.

So, whether you're planning an open house, or just having friends over for the holidays, avoid making these exterior mistakes to your home that experts agree will negatively impact its curb appeal:

Your front door isn't very welcoming

Chipping and faded paint and old or tarnished hardware can make your front door seem like the setting for a haunted house rather than a charming cottage. A fresh coat of paint and an updated house number as well as a new door knocker and doorknob can take a drab front door to chic and stylish on a DIY budget.

According to Better Homes and Gardens, you can't go wrong with a classic neutral toned front door. It will stand the test of time and match any decor. Colors like brown, black, navy and even deep red never go out of style, but Jennifer Ames, a Chicago-based Coldwell Banker agent warned HGTV, not to get too extreme with your front door color choices. Purples and pinks might be a favorite for you, but not for the general public.

The same can be said for the dated house numbers that haven't been changed since the house was built. Christina Salway of 11211 Interior Design told Real Simple, "Replace your street numbers. Don't underestimate the impact of little details like swapping out junky old street numbers for something fresh and modern. It can be transformative and only takes about $15 and 15 minutes!"

Your mailbox is falling apart

That rusty mailbox that hasn't been straight since it got hit by the plow that one winter storm years ago might work for the sympathetic mailman, but it's not doing any favors to the exterior of your house. A toppling mailbox tells visitors and neighbors that you can be bothered with the little details around your house. If the box you have isn't repairable with a new post and a fresh coat of paint, it might be time to consider replacing the entire thing.

When shopping for a new box, be sure to choose a style that's sturdy and complementary to your home's exterior. Avoid anything too cutesy and go with something simple and traditional that can hold up to the weather. Black is always a good option if you are unsure of a style that will match your home, but don't forget to check with the USPS for any distance or size requirements before making a purchase (via My Suburban Life).

Your landscaping has been neglected

You don't need to pay a pricey landscape architect to achieve a well-manicured front yard. A little hard work, weeding, clean edges, and well-placed potted plants can transform any home's exterior. According to Pure Wow, trimming trees and shrubs is the first recommendation real estate agents will make to any new home sellers because it looks tidy and well taken care of. The same goes for mulching and edging flower beds. Fresh mulch and a weed-free bed ensure a pleasant look, but for real curb appeal, arrange plants in layers — the tallest in the back and the lowest ground cover in the front. A balanced garden bed creates that symmetry that is so important with curb appeal (via Real Simple).

If it's offseason, be sure your beds and yard are free of dead plants and leaves, and take advantage of seasonal touches to impart your personality and a sense of cozy charm to your home's facade. Tasteful wreaths, potted mums on either side of a walkway, and classic white holiday lights can add curb appeal without going over-the-top (via HGTV and Dig This Design).