If people wanted their homes to look like all the others on the block, we wouldn't be so obsessed with "curb appeal."
Doesn't matter whether you're looking to sell -- the National Association of Realtors says 49 percent of all houses are bought based on that one factor -- or planning to stay put longer than the lines for Powerball. Every homeowner craves what's been described as "that quality that makes you say 'wow' when you first see it."
So, how to achieve it? Read on for some of the best ideas from the pros.
* Addresses aren't just for mailboxes. You'll score points for originality by painting each numeral -; in big, bold strokes -; on separate flower-filled planters placed near the front entrance. "You spruce up your landscape with plants, so why not liven your home address the same way?" suggests Angie's List.
* Glam the front door. Painting it lipstick-red is in, for those who dare. For those who don't, or whose houses aren't a neutral color, Forbes advises to "try a more muted shade like sea-blue, sage-green, or even black."
* Replace your roof. This is the biggie, given Better Homes and Garden's oft-cited calculation that 40 percent of a home's curb appeal hinges on the condition of the roof. Now, you may be only slightly embarrassed by your neighbors' not-so-subtle hints that yours looks like it's been hit by a drone. But if you're even toying with the idea of selling and that's the first thing potential buyers see from a distance?
"It's a huge turn-off, and only makes them predisposed to find even more things they hate about the house," says Patsy O'Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby's in Montclair, New Jersey.
The fix? Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, is just out with a glowing review of the gorgeous new line of Glenwood Shingles from GAF. "It's the industry's thickest triple-layer asphalt shingle," he says. "Not only does that result in an authentic wood-shake look at a fraction of the cost of traditional wood shake, but you're also getting enhanced fire safety and lower maintenance." And, hey, you're also doing your part for the environment.
* Pressure time. If you think of it as water pistols for adults, using a garden hose (set to max) to blast away dirt and debris from your property can actually be fun. But as HGTV cautions: "Be careful not to dislodge, or get any water underneath, your home's siding."