10 Ways to Increase Curb Appeal and Home Value

The typical homeowner is familiar with curb appeal either directly or self-consciously. For example, even if you’re not looking to sell you may dislike that the siding on the facade is deteriorating or the windows look old and grungy. It’s your curb appeal telling you something looks detrimental. When it comes time to sell, REALTORS are going to talk a lot about curb appeal. They may cite varying studies related to the subject, some of which claim it can improve the return on investment (ROI) by 150% or more. What are the ways that you can improve curb appeal? Here are 10 practical, affordable ways to enhance the look of your home and even its value…

1. Maintain the Lawn

Landscaping is one of the most common things that gets neglected in the front of a home. The yard hasn’t been watered in forever and is dying. Or it’s so overgrown it looks like you’ll need a chainsaw to mow it down. The thing with maintaining a lawn is that it’s not all that difficult to do. All it requires is some time and energy on your part. If you truly don’t have the time, hiring a professional landscaping service can help with the property, especially if you don’t live there full-time. In addition to maintaining the lawn, if you’re considering selling the home, other subtle yet important details like weeding, edging, pruning trees and trimming overgrown shrubs go a long way.

2. Make the Front Door Look Impressive

After the landscaping, the second thing most buyers are going to notice and consider is the front door. The door is the gateway to the rest of the house and should not get neglected. Often, sellers will consider buying a replacement entry door just to make sure the curb appeal is far stronger. If you decide to stick with the old door you should consider repainting or staining it for that little extra “wow factor”. Other small things that make a difference include updating the sealing and insulation around the door, as well as making sure it doesn’t open or shut too difficultly.

3. Repaint the Exterior

It’s a more costly option than some of the other suggestions on the list (unless you do it yourself, of course), but definitely worth it. It’s truly amazing how much paint can liven up a structure and make it look brand new. Meanwhile, faded and peeling paint looks awful. New paint will dramatically improve curb appeal. One suggestion though – try not to make the color too bold. Some buyers are picky with their colors, so it’s best to just repaint with the same color or go with a relatively neutral color that doesn’t turn off prospective buyers. There are also renovations gallery contractors that can help you revamp your space.

4. Clean Up the Exterior, Not Just the Interior

When it’s time to sell, a lot of homeowners go into overdrive to make sure the interior looks spotless, which is a good thing, but you should also remain mindful of the exterior. Dirt and grime build up on siding and brick. If you know someone with a power washer (you can also rent one), an hour spent scouring the exterior walls can really clean up the exterior. Just make sure you don’t get too close to the structure or it’ll chip away paint. The walkways can also get a boost from blowing them off the day you are expecting to have a showing.

5. Don’t Overlook the Roof

While the roof is up high and it may not seem like a big deal for curb appeal, experts will disagree. According to appraisers, it’s one of the first things they check when evaluating a home. Some buyers will also make note of the condition of the roof because they know roofs are expensive to replace. If the condition of the roof is bad, making the decision to replace or not is far from an easy one. New roofs are expensive. However, if you think it’ll help get the price you want, it’s probably worth it. At the very least, consider removing debris from the roof and repair any immediate issues.

6. Add Plants, Then More Plants

Another issue that experts tend to agree upon is the importance of plants. Since adding new shrubs and trees can be very expensive, most realtors actually suggest you just stick to putting more planters in windows, or outside the front door. It’s a simple yet effective suggestion for easily improving curb appeal.

7. Install a New Mailbox

It may sound like something to scoff at yet there are plenty of insiders that claim it’s a subtle, yet terrific way to improve curb appeal. Decorative mailboxes will only set a homeowner back a hundred or two, yet help compliment the style of your home and look pleasing. Old mailboxes, on the other hand, tend to look ugly and droop down from years of neglect.

8. Avoid Clutter in the Front of the House

Clutter doesn’t look good anywhere, especially in the front of a house. If your garage is overcrowded with junk, at least make sure the door is shut when people show up to view the place. Too much outdoor furniture does not always look pleasing to the eye, especially if it’s old and looks stained. No, people are not inheriting your furniture but believe it or not, it can self-consciously tell them the place is dirty and not worth pursuing. However, if you invest in ample, good quality stuff from Charming Bench Company, it might actually help in gaining traction.

9. Hide Electrical Fixtures

They’re trivial matters, yet when it comes to people spending six figures or more on a house, they’re going to nitpick everything. So even though an electrical box in the front of a house is something you can’t do a whole lot about its placement, you can do your best to hide these curb appeal ‘flaws.’ For example, home improvement stores sell decorative boxes that you can place over an irrigation backflow or electrical box. You can also paint over the box with a camouflage paint (usually your exterior paint color) that at least blends it better.

10. Make Any Last Second Home Repairs

After considering all of the above suggestions, one last tip is to take five minutes to stand outside the front of the house and study every feature. Does anything stand out in a bad way? Are there any basic repairs that you’ve been putting off that could make a difference? For example, maybe one of the numbers posting your home address is missing. Quick and simple fix, right? Burned out bulbs, ripped screens, areas with some missing paint – all can make a difference and influence the prospective buyer’s decision moving forward.

Stay On Top of Your Curb Appeal

Though studying the numerous things that can detract curb appeal may make you feel like there are countless things going against you, and that your home is not worthy of the price you’re asking – this logic is incorrect. While looking at ways to improve curb appeal with existing features, you can also take the time to realize what the front of your house already does so well. Now that you know these features, highlight them. By making a few basic repairs and adjustments, you can produce a high quality curb appeal that’ll improve home value and get the price your home truly deserves – or simply be the envy of your neighborhood!


August To Do List

I love the month of August. Maybe it’s because Fall has always been my favorite season, or with my birthday being in September, I always feel like August is my time to re-set for a “new year”. It’s a great month to lazily (yes that’s a thing) get organized and set yourself up for a stress-free holiday season. And for anyone who just had a minor panic attack at the thought of the holidays in August – start using YOUR August to melt that stress away.

One of my favorite things about August is the slow down. There’s finally time to think about what the last 4 months of the year will look like. So grab your calendar and pencil it all in.

  • Football season/Holiday prep – calendar out when your favorite team plays, any holiday travel and pre-planning. Make sure to include downtime where your only plans are a big pot of chili and game day at home.
  • September, October, November, December – think about how you want these months to feel. If you want to be able to enjoy a hot (maybe spiked) cider and a pumpkin patch in October, find a local farm and pencil it in.
  • Holiday shopping – I like to make my holiday shopping list now. Just open up a note in your phone, make a list of everyone on your Christmas list and as you think of/run across items you think they would love, make a little note next to their name. This will make holiday shopping that much easier.
  • Farmer’s Markets – a TON of fruits and vegetables reach peak season in August. Shop local and enjoy the seasonal splendor of summers end.
  • Salads and soups – start slowly detoxing from the summer, while taking advantage of all the incredible fruits and vegetables in season.
  • Freshly baked – all the things. Use your leftovers for pies, tarts, cakes, etc. Share with friends and family. Just because you’re detoxing, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a muffin or a little bit of cobbler.
  • Fall cleaning – you’ve heard of spring cleaning, but a nice fresh start before Autumn is key. Start decluttering your home from the bustle of summer.
  • Linen closet refresh – with all of the upcoming entertaining and hosting, wash and press your guest linens (if they haven’t been recently) and stock up on impromptu guest room/hosting items.
  • Closet/wardrobe refresh – because of back to school, August can be one of the best times to invest in new clothes for the upcoming Fall season. Go through your closet and edit out what you haven’t worn for at least 2-3 years. Decided what “staple” items might need replacing.

This should be a low-key type of planning. The kind where you enjoy a coffee, after picking up fresh sunflowers. It’s designed to organize your thoughts and create an intentional “wish list” for the last bit of the year.

What are some of the ways you enjoy August?

Practical Tactics | Semi-Homemade Sanity

When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows (that drove my mother insane) was Donna’s Day. Donna’s Day was a TV show on, I wanna say… PBS. It was the pre-HGTV era of “Do It Yourself” and I found her FASCINATING. I also demanded we do everything Donna did. Like, make homemade pretzels, or homemade ice cream using two old coffee cans. Donna also taught me how to drive my mother to the brink of insanity, one craft project at a time. As I got older, my attention turned to Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee. She was an even more fabulous Donna, with a kitchen that matched every episode’s theme and cocktail time to round out the program. Sandra was a pre-Pinterest Pioneer, and I was obsessed with her.

If two of my childhood idols being DIY/home heroes doesn’t tell you most of what you need to know about me, I don’t know what will.

What I loved most about these women, is that they took everyday events or items and turned them into tiny parties/celebrations. I absolutely love that. Just ask my cocktail napkin drawer. (Yes, I have a drawer, full of cocktail napkins – at the ready, and tbh, you should too). And what they really instilled in me was: every day can be a party, if you want it to be, it just needs to be easy.

Enter, one of my favorite “life hacks” of all time: Publix bakery. (Fear not, I’m sure other grocery stores have bakeries that would also be able to fulfill requests like I’m about to share with you) Publix is amazing because you can use them to do 75% of the work FOR YOU and still feel like a bo$$.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES: When I was in high school, I was cheer captain and hosting a sleepover for the cheerleading squad. I thought it would be BRILLIANT to have our main activity be decorating cupcakes. My mother did not like the idea of baking enough cupcakes for a cheerleading squad, so I reached out to Publix and ordered 3 dozen un-frosted vanilla cupcakes. We picked up the cupcakes, a ton of blue and white icing and decorations and the cupcake decorating was a hit!

Last year I was planning a surprise for my friend’s birthday, who had hosted American Horror Story: Apocalypse screenings every Wednesday for a large group each week. After conspiring with several of the screening attendees, we decided we needed an Apocalypse themed birthday cake. I called Publix, ordered a perfectly square 2-tier cake, frosted but with no decoration – and we were able to make a very scary, AHS inspired birthday cake.

Recently, when preparing for my fiance’s birthday, I wanted to make him a LaCroix shaped cake. I went to Publix, asked for 4 sliced mini-cake rounds and a pound of white vanilla buttercream frosting. They charged me $11. I separated out the frosting, added food coloring and assembled my cake.

They will also slice bread to your liking from the bakery, sell you cakes in all shapes and sizes (frosted/unfrosted)… so really, at Publix, the world is your oyster… or your bakery!

Having a Moment | Black Houses

While the color of the year may be the bright, poppy Living Coral. There is another color having a serious moment right now. Black. Most homeowners tend to play it safe with color, there are a few bold pioneers painting the way, with black exteriors. I especially love when the dark hue, is mixed with different textures and finishes of woods and/or metals. See below for some of my favorite homes, featuring this bold, alluring trend.

Black/Dark Grey Exterior Color Recommendations

Image from Gardenista

Top row, left to right: Farrow & Ball Railings; Benjamin Moore Midnight Oil; Benjamin Moore Carbon Copy; Farrow & Ball Off-Black. Bottom row: Benjamin Moore Black Forest Green; Benjamin Moore Black Panther; Farrow & Ball Pitch Black; and Benjamin Moore French Beret.


A lot of people don’t realize, REALTORS®️ are all entrepreneurs. We are all self-employed, independent contractors. While our licenses hang with the broker of our choosing, our business is completely up to us. This means we wear all the hats you’d find in a traditional company: Sales, Marketing, Operations, Accounting, HR/Benefits, Public Relations, etc. Plus, play the role of: therapist, mediator, decorator and vendor Rolodex to our clients. And MAN, do our clients mean the world to us. We help guide them through, what is quite often, the largest purchase of their lives. It’s their home. A place where memories are made and cherished moments happen. As a REALTOR®️, I work hard to go above and beyond for my clients, because I rely on their referrals to grow my business.

If you ask my parents, I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit since I was little. When I was around 7, I started pedaling metal jewelry around the neighborhood, made with a kit that involved turning “silver” beads into molten hot liquid and then easy-bake-ovening them into molds and stringing the silver beads onto brightly colored cording. I’m pretty sure I named it Jackson Jewelry and had a jewelry stand at the top of our driveway and in the swimming pool parking lot.

Proof this was a real “toy” in the 90s.

Metal was really having a moment for me, because following Jackson Jewelry, was my genius CD greeting card business, which consisted of me supergluing a CD-Rom into its case, silver side up and carving designs into it with a crude stenciling tool I made from securing a thumb tack to an unsharpened pencil with electrical tape. I don’t have a picture of this, but trust me, it was terrifying and I’m shocked my parent’s allowed it.

only picture them with a hand-drawn design that reads “Happy Birthday” or “You Did It!”

Then there was my first ever “company”, Vintage Orange ?, that I started in middle school, where I took royalty-free images from the internet, reversed the image, printed them out on iron-on paper and then ironed them to white tank tops and canvas tote bags. I was selling so many at school, I got in trouble with the administration because apparently you aren’t allowed to run a small clothing and accessories business from your locker.

Once Upon a Daisy, was created for my mother, to market her children’s book ‘Upsie Daisie Doodle Bug’, a sweet story of a cute little bug and his adventures along the day. Doodle Bug’s world was one of magic and fun. The book follows along the day of a well behaved little bug, who does his chores, gobbles pancakes, rides a merry-go-round and plays with his friends.

I started a blog, Classic Southern Flair, in 2008, while I was in college that slowly puttered out around 2013, after nearly 300 posts and several very tiny sponsorships. This was before bloggers/influencers were a legitimate thing and/or income source. It was always more of a diary/catalog of my interests at the time. Trust me, if I believed in regrets, it would be giving up on my blog. Classic Southern Flair sparked several other businesses. The most lucrative being, Southern Flair, an apparel line that featured hand-drawn Southern inspired artwork, silk-screened onto American Apparel tanks and tees. When I was moving back from Baton Rouge to Atlanta, a company in New Orleans offered me $200 per silk screen design (there were either 6 or 8 designs), but I passed them up on their offer and sold them the rest of my physical inventory, on a royalty basis, instead.

AliceFaye Paperie was a line of Southern-inspired stationery. With images such as blue and white ginger jars and wayfarer sunglasses, that could be purchased with or without personalization and came in sets of 10. I did several commissioned invitation, calling cards and stationery designs via AliceFaye. Daily Pin-up was a spin-off of Classic Southern Flair, featuring a pin-up a day, “providing retro glamour in a modern world”.

It’s so important to support entrepreneurs and nurture entrepreneurship in young people. I truly believe that it is the unyielding support of my family and friends, through out my life, that has gotten me where I am today. Working everyday, as a entrepreneur, and a REALTOR®️, under the support and guidance of the largest real estate company in the world, Sotheby’s International Realty. I’m lucky to call Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, home and so very proud to be a REALTOR®️. Thank you to all who support and encourage me. And a very special thank you, to everyone for your referrals.

How to host a Girl Scout Cookie Wine Pairing

If you’re anything like me, you have probably been low-key hustled by the little girls in green, pushing cookies until mid-February, and have at least a dozen boxes of cookies headed your way from different friends/family/co-workers’ girl boss cookie saleswomen. Or maybe not and you actually have self-control (and no heart, you Girl Scout Grinch). Annnyyyway… if you do have an obscene amount of cookies on order, why not turn your impulse purchases into a fun excuse to get together with friends and drink wine.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Brown craft paper and/or signage – wrap your table in the kraft paper and simply write directly on the paper, in marker, anything that needs identifying (you can purchase a large roll at Dollar Tree)
  • Girl Scout Cookies – get at least 2-3 boxes of each flavor, depending on how many people you have at your tasting (find any local dealer, I mean Girl Scout via Facebook or your office – trust me, someone’s daughter’s got the goods)
  • Wine – we’ll get to which wine pairs with which cookie in a sec, get at least 2 bottles of each **remember this is a TASTING, so you don’t need to supply guests with enough for full servings of wine per every combo** (I typically purchase party wine at Trader Joe’s because the prices are ?)
  • Dump bucket – yes, that’s the official wine-world name for the bin where you pour any unwanted wine
  • Tasting cups – small 1.5-3oz cups, pre-poured for sampling, and arranged next to corresponding cookie
  • Wine glasses – once everyone has chosen their favorite combination(s), they can serve themselves a true serving of wine
  • Platters – separate each cookie flavor onto individual serving platters and position them next to the pre-poured tasting cups
  • Small plates and napkins – for the cookies (I got mine at Dollar Tree)
  • Water – because… drinking
  • Pairing Sheet – I made a very quick, version in Excel (it is not the most beautiful thing in the world) and shared it with everyone invited ahead of time, so they know what to expect and what type of wine will be available. Feel free to download and print. Link below.


Note: I apologize to anyone who is living a more “waste-free” lifestyle, all of the above is disposable/recyclable to maintain my sanity, but I’m sure there are waste-free alternatives available.

Office Supplies You Need in Your Kitchen

While some might argue, that if you have a home office, you don’t need duplicate items in the kitchen – because you can just go grab them from the office when needed. I couldn’t disagree more. Our kitchens are typically the Grand Central Station of our homes. Meaning, almost everything passes through the kitchen: mail, packages, groceries, gifts, notes, laundry/dry-cleaning, etc. Why not make the central hub of your home a one-stop shop? Here is a list of all the “office items” (plus a few extras) you need in your kitchen to make your life easier, save time and take control of the chaos.

  • Black Sharpie markers | they write on pretty much any surface and are a quick way to date leftovers, write names on lunch bags or leave a note
  • Sheet protectors and binder | if you’re a little old-school and prefer a printed recipe, keep them in sheet protectors and filed into a binder for easy reference
  • Scissors | duh. (confession: I keep a pair of scissors in almost every room of the house – including closets and bathrooms, because there is nothing more frustrating than lost/hard to find scissors)
  • Wall mounted list-maker | if it’s a designer approved fancy version, or simply a magnetic notepad on the side of the fridge, get you a notepad
  • Post-it notes | doubling down on duh for this one too, and use the neon/bright colored version, just trust me
  • Letter tray | if possible, keep this as close to your trashcan/recycling bin so as soon as the mail comes in the house, the junk mail goes out
  • Letter opener | you’ve probably been given these, for free, by a bank or at a trade show/work event, they’re actually very useful for opening mail and packages (or find a fancy one, you can leave out and admire your extra-ness)
  • Notecards, pens and stamps | a simple set of postcards or notecards kept close by, makes it easy to write a thank you note or special feel-good message to your family members
  • Tape | masking and pressure-sensitive tape (aka Scotch tape)
  • Wine gift bags | along with a few bottles of giftable wine for last minute host/hostess gifts (your manners will thank you later)
  • BONUS ITEMS : mini LED flashlight, utility knife (box cutter), pruning shears, extra-strong spring clips, wine markers, multipurpose lighter, Tide pen, tape measure

Exciting News!

I am truly honored to have been the featured contributor for the piece 5 creative ways to thank your clients at the end of the year : Build your network and encourage referrals with year-end thank-yous that stand out

Thank you Inman and Sotheby’s International Realty for this opportunity to talk about something I love!

Holiday Thank Yous and Who/How to Tip

Showing appreciation for the people in your life will take you far. I know from experience. There truly is no better feeling than someone letting you know how much you are appreciated. The holidays are a time to spend with friends and family, and remind them of how much they mean to you. Making it the perfect time to say “Thank You”. Thank you to the people who help us get through, not only the holiday season but, our daily lives.

Almost everyone could quickly jot down the people who fall into this category. But since I love a list, here’s a list to remind you of all the people, outside of your family and friends, you probably appreciate the most. If you are in the financial position, holiday tips and/or gifts are always smart. If you’re on a budget, do what you can and get creative. Even a handwritten note goes an incredibly long way.

Give a tip to your:

  • Building Superintendent – $20 to $100 depending on how helpful they have been.
  • Doorman – $20 to $100, if there are multiple door men, $15 or more for each is fine, if you have only one, the higher end of that range is more appropriate, especially if he is friendly and does a lot for you. The average holiday tip is $50.
  • Elevator Operator/Building Staff – $20 to $50. Check with your building association to see if there is a holiday tip pool that is shared by all of the building’s employees.
  • Landscaper/gardener – $20 to $50. If he or she comes frequently, give up to a week’s pay.
  • Pool cleaners – For a regular crew, the price of one cleaning, to divide among themselves. If a different employee shows up each visit, holiday tipping is unnecessary. Click on this site for checking the background of a candidate employee.
  • Newspaper carrier – $10 to $30, or the equivalent of one month of the subscription price. Sometimes you can include a tip when you pay your bill. Remember that adults usually do this job these days.
  • Handyman – $15 to $40, depending on how much work you’ve had him do.
  • Trash/recycling collectors – $10 to $30 for private service. For public service, check your local municipality for regulations as some areas may not allow tipping.
  • Christmas Tree carrier – A $20 cash tip is appropriate for home delivery. $10 for an attentive carrier who offers service while you choose a tree. $5 if the person has just helped you bundle it up and load it onto the car.
  • Mechanic – if you go regularly for service, tip $20.
  • Gift wrapper – if tips are allowed, go with $1 to $2 per package, up to $10 total.
  • Doctor/therapist – cash gifts are generally prohibited. Check with each institutions policy before giving a gift to a medical professional. At some nonprofit institutions, a donation may be made in honor of an employee. Platters or cookies or fruit are thoughtful gifts that benefit the entire staff.
  • Day-care staff – a gift or cash tip in the amount of $35 to $70 for each staff member who works with your child/children and a small handmade gift from your child. Make sure to include a handwritten note.
  • Dry cleaner – since it’s a team effort, consider dropping off a box of donuts or a basket of fruit for the whole staff to enjoy.

Buy a gift for your:

  • Assistant – in addition to any end-of-the-year bonus, give a gift or gift card worth at least $50, depending on your position in the company and the assistant’s length of service. Avoid perfume, clothing or anything that could be perceived as too personal.
  • Boss – while not necessary, a simple gift if a nice gesture. Talk to coworkers to see if they’d like to chip in to buy a gift card or restaurant gift certificate.
  • Teacher/tutor – don’s spend more than $25. Assuming the school allows gifts, give something such as a restaurant gift certificate, a coffee shop or amazon gift card, or a homemade gift from your child, accompanied by a hand-written thank you note. Gifts aren’t as common at middle schools and high schools where each child has five or more teachers.
  • Home health employees/private nurse – a modest gift that shows your appreciation. Cash is not a good option. Be sure to check with the agency first, as some prohibit gifts.
  • Nursing home employees – check company policy. Cash is not appropriate, but something that can be shared among the staff like chocolate, cookies or flowers, is a great idea.
  • Letter carrier/package courier – while nothing is expected, if you have a friendly relationship with the person, then a small gift or gift card in the $20 range is a nice gesture. Anything more valuable than that is prohibited by the US Postal Service. FedEx allows tips or a gift worth up to $75, UPS does not have an official policy.
  • Nanny/au pair – a tip equal to one or two weeks pay, plus a personal gift from your children, such as a framed picture showing the child’s appreciation. Avoid kid-oriented gifts. Depending on how personally you know their taste, a stylish gift like a handbag might go far.

Give a tip or a gift to your:

  • Babysitter – cash or a gift equal to one or two nights pay. A personal gift from your children is always appreciated.
  • Cleaning person(s) – up to one week’s pay and/or gift.
  • Dog walker – one week’s pay and/or gift. While tips are the norm, a scarf, massage or other spa treatments are thoughtful gift options.
  • Pet groomer – a tip or gift int he ballpark of the price of one session.
  • Hairstylist/manicurist/barber – the cost of one visit, or a gift of equivalent worth. If you deal with more than one person at a given establishment, give cash so they can split it among themselves.
  • Personal trainer/fitness instructor/massage therapist – up to one session’s fee or a modest gift, depending on how often you see him/her and whether they come to your home. Avoid chocolates, cookies or unhealthy treats.
  • Personal caregiver – up to a week’s salary and/or a modest gift.


Reference: https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/money/money-etiquette/holiday-tipping-giving-checklist