Top 5 exterior home improvement projects to consider before moving:

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The 2014 report from the National Association of Realtors ranked exterior home improvements as among the top home improvements homeowners should consider making when trying to sell their residences. The exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers notice when they visit an open house, tour your home with a real estate agent, or take an informal drive-by. Invest in these five home improvements to increase your home's value, reduce your time to sale, and earn more for the sale of your home.

1. Refresh the landscaping

Refreshing your landscaping means more than simply mowing the lawn all summer. Potential homeowners will evaluate your lawn, walkway, flower beds, trees and more. If your home isn’t visible from the road due to overgrown trees, if your brick walkway is crumbling, or if your home lacks any sort of aesthetic curb appeal, buyers will be immediately turned off. Hire a landscaping service to trim trees and shrubs, replace dead plants, tend to grass and make your home look charming. Then go the extra mile with pots of fresh flowers on the stoop. When buyers feel welcomed, they will be more likely to show interest in your home.

2. Paint your house

Does the paint on your home look worn, dingy or discolored? Is it flaking? If so, then having the house repainted can drastically transform your home's curb appeal and more than return your initial investment with a higher selling price. Have your home repainted in a neutral color before taking real estate photos. Look for a reputable exterior painting company that can provide a free estimate, recommend quality materials, and perform the work reliably and to your schedule.

3. Replace old, drafty windows

Not only are old windows often cracked and dirty, they are a major source of heat loss. Modern homeowners value replacement windows for their security, appearance and performance. Look for rebates on replacement windows that allow you to upgrade your home's exterior appearance for less.

4. Restore the roof

If your roof is sagging, crumbling or mossy, homeowners will see nothing more than a giant dollar sign when they look at your home. Knowing that's what they'll need to spend to restore the roof, they may not seriously consider your home. If you do sell your home, it will likely be for under asking price. Reduce your home's time on the market and increase your earnings by investing in smart repair by a trusted roofing company. A professional contractor can explain what needs to be done, help you choose the right materials, and complete the work to industry standards.

5. Resurface an old driveway

As potential buyers visit your home, will they drive up a crumbling asphalt driveway or park in an uneven brick drive? When their first step onto your property is on shaky, neglected ground, no wonder these buyers will quickly depart for homes that have been better maintained — even if the inside of your home looks great. Driveway resurfacing is a small project that can deliver big value.
These improvements may seem daunting, but rest assured they will pay you back when it’s time to sell. Set money aside and make these needed home improvements, then relax and know that you have done everything you can to put your home on the market in its best possible light, attracting the right buyer.
William Giakoumatos is the current Vice President of American Custom Contractors. They are a commercial and residential contractor company in the Washington, D.C. Metro area. Servicing businesses and homeowners for more than 40 years, ACC prides themselves with the added value from their work.

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