It’s all about first impressions. As a real estate buyer, we typically judge a home based on various factors. Only second to the size of the home is the curb appeal. The curb appeal is the exterior attractiveness and aesthetic of the home and it’s often a strong motivational factor for home owners. After all, it is the first sight someone sees. Keeping the exterior home desirable is not a dying fad and here we detail the top five curb appeal trends for 2016.

1 Front Door Facelift. Updating the front door can be as simple as applying a fresh coat of paint and changing out the door fixtures. To really capture that curb appeal, paint the door a bold, contrasting color to the rest of the house so it creates a dramatic focal point. It’s a really inexpensive route that gives you the greatest effect.

Another option is to replace the front door altogether. In doing so, you will be paying more than if you just apply a fresh coat of paint, but the benefits could be rewarding. According to the 2016 Cost Vs Value Report, the average cost of replacing a front door to a steel door is $1,335 or $3,126 for a fiberglass one. An owner will be able to recover 91% of the cost for the steel door or 82% for the fiberglass door.

2 Light It Up! Lighting the exterior of a home not only increases the safety of the home, but it can add stylishness to the home, which will help increase the curb appeal. Look beyond the standard wall mounted lighting, light posts and porch lights and really make a bold statement using stylish and modern lighting in your yard. Having beautiful exterior lighting is now considered an “essential” for home owners looking to buy.

3 It’s Alive! San Luis Obispo County may be living in a drought, but this doesn’t mean your front yard should be unkempt and look dead. Another way to increase that curb appeal is to landscape the front of the house. A well landscaped home increases the value of the home more so than a home without proper landscaping. As an alternative to growing flowers and trees, consider low to no maintenance landscaping. While the front of the home is manicured, low to no maintenance landscaping could potentially decrease water usage and bills. It’s a double win!

Likewise, landscaping the front of the house doesn’t necessarily have to include renovating and planting. Cleaning up is also key to increasing that curb appeal. Take a few hours to mow the lawn, trim the bushes and weeds, and spruce up the joint. Any efforts will help increase that appeal.

4 Porch Power. The main purpose of increasing curb appeal is to create a look that says “welcome.” Nothing says “more inviting” than having a seating area outside the home. Far too often, outdoor living is tucked into the backyard or hidden behind fences. Boost your street chic by creating an outdoor living area for all to see and swoon over. Imagine waking in the morning, sitting outside on your porch and enjoying a warm cup of coffee. Increasing the curb appeal can be as simple as putting out a bistro table with chairs or nice relaxing lounge chairs. However, don’t go overboard – keep it simple and clean.

5 Garage Door Makeover. One of the easiest ways to improve your home’s curb appeal is to upgrade your garage door. Besides the front door, the garage door is a major focal point of your home and should be updated if needed. Look at how much visual real estate the door takes up on your house. Implementing some changes to the door should be a priority when increasing curb appeal.

Choosing a new garage door has come a long way since the days of just picking out a color and with or without windows. Today, garage doors can be fully customized to fit the style of the house. The home owner can choose the color, material, style, window layout, design, and fixtures. According to the 2016 Cost Vs Value Report, the average cost of replacing a garage door on a home is $1,652, with an owner being able to recoup 92% of that cost.