Before and After Curb Appeal 7

Flippers share cost-effective tricks 
to get the most bang for your buck

When considering where to spend remodeling dollars, the exterior is often last on the list. It is harder to deal with an outdated and sometimes non-functioning kitchen or bathroom than to invest in curb appeal.

Is curb appeal worth the investment? According to Remodeling Magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” report, some of the highest return on your investment comes from exterior remodels. Seven of the 10 top-ranked projects are in this category and include siding, window, or door-replacement projects and their cost-value ratio is an above-average 71.6%.

Marty and Jennifer Harris completely remodeled the exterior of their Draper residence in 2015. They flip homes for a living and share here their cost-effective tricks to get the most bang for your buck.


A well maintained yard has a big impact and is very cost effective. Trim back overgrown trees and shrubs; landscaping should enhance your house, not cover it up. Regularly edge and fertilize your grass; an expensive landscape company isn’t necessary–run down to the local IFA for what you need. A lush green, dandelion free yard makes a great impression.

The Wood’s South Mountain residence here emulates landscape perfection. From the trimmed boxwoods to the shrubs framing the lot borders, the overall look makes the house stand out.

Creating Balance

If you have a blank wall or something that offsets a home’s balance, a well placed trellis, shrub, window box or shutters can draw your eye away from that defect and make it a feature.

Sometimes creating balance means construction, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. On this 100-year-old Sugarhouse bungalow, the porch looked too heavy for the spindly metal posts that supported it. To mitigate this, Marty built sturdy pillars around the existing metal railing. He covered and trimmed with hardy siding, and painted. This inexpensive addition brought balance to the front porch and turned a weakness into a focal point.

On our home, the space between the front porch and ceiling was too large and the existing pillars did not have any character. By adding a beam and constructing interesting pillars, this became my favorite feature on our house.

The Power of Paint

Paint is the most powerful and inexpensive tool in your remodeling arsenal. It is the best way to refresh anything that looks neglected. Each one of the projects presented on these pages had the most impact from paint.

The Ogden’s Draper home with original dark brick and tan siding was transformed by two complimentary tones of grey with white accents.

The Sugarhouse bungalow had craftsman features and original wood windows that were hidden by a single off-white trim color. Adding three complimentary colors made these features stand out, revitalizing this once tired looking home.

On our home, we added interest and contrast by using two medium-to-dark grey tones along with a strong white accent on the trim and grid section in the center. Our old off-white stucco was brought back to life with the new paint.

Visual Interest

There are many options these days for siding, trim and brackets to update and add interest to your home. Trimming out a window or door can have amazing impact.

The Ogden’s home is a testament to finish carpentry. All we added to the garage side of the house was some trim and brackets under the eaves. The once seemingly too small window now stands out with an interesting trim detail.

To get an updated look on our home, we eliminated all of the arched windows and stucco trim. They dated the home. Replacing them with classic rectangular transoms, hardy siding and trim instantly improved the look of the house. The windows in the home were all still in good shape–keeping them saved thousands of dollars. Hardy board and batten, shingle siding and brackets were used to create different textures, highlight features and offset areas that lacked interest.

Exterior Lighting

One quick fix is to replace your exterior lighting. Oftentimes, lights around the garage are too small. Replacing these with larger scale lights has a big impact. There are many lighting options available to fit any budget.

On the Wood’s home, we replaced their standard builder grade lights with beautiful craftsman style lanterns.

Well placed yard lighting makes your curb appeal shine after dark.

Garage and Front Doors

Most of the real estate on our homes is taken up by garage doors. Painting your existing door is a great weekend project. We spent a Saturday on the Wood’s house painting the garage and front door a complimentary brown. This simple change made the home look warmer and more inviting. There are numerous options in garage door styles, from large investments for wood or contemporary metal and glass doors to budget friendly options of adding windows, hardware or faux painting your existing doors.

Your front door is a great place to make a change with a quart of paint and an hour or two. Choose a  non-traditional color to add interest.

Replacing your existing front door doesn’t have to break the bank. I found my antique, hand-carved door on KSL for $150.00. I stained it and added glass for a one of a kind look.