By Max Mervis

The exterior of your home is a direct reflection of you as an individual and as a property owner. Clearly a well-kept home with a maintained lawn shows that you value your property and your neighborhood as a whole. Yet, although your friends love that quirky, artistic side of you, it isn’t necessarily a trait you want displayed too flamboyantly on the exterior of your home. By taking too much artistic license with your curb appeal (or ignoring it all together), you may end up not only devaluing your own property, but the value of your neighbor’s homes as well. Sloppy or garish properties are not exclusive to older dwellings or up-and-coming communities – bad habits are on display in new developments too. Since bad curb appeal is difficult to define other than “you know it when you see it,” the following are four things you may want to avoid when decorating the exterior of your property:

The Paint Palette

Orange is the New Black is a TV show, not a recommendation for paint colors. No matter how artistic you may be, when choosing an exterior color, maintain some restraint. Although purple might be your preferred hue, keeping in harmony with the other homes in the neighborhood is always the best route to take, and one that will pay you back when selling.

In the Weeds – Landscaping

If you’re like me, clueless is putting it mildly when it comes to landscaping your front lawn. If you are uncertain as to what to do to make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood, hire someone who does. There are professional landscaping companies at just about every price point, and in the end that small investment will pay off considerably when you sell.

Lose the Pink Flamingos (and other lawn ornaments)

Your front lawn can make for an elegant approach to your manse, or resemble a swap meet when overly decorated with lawn ornamentation. Although you may adore your garden gnomes and variety of concrete bird baths, the front yard isn’t necessarily the best place to display them. To maintain your property value, moderation is key, so limit the decoration to one or two treasured pieces and keep the remainder in your backyard.

Keep in Harmony with the Neighborhood

It is everyone’s right to decorate their home the way they see fit or choose to express their individuality. However, take it too far and your house can quickly become the eyesore of the community. To maintain a higher property value, it is wiser to put money towards maintenance and even energy-efficient upgrades that can provide a return on your investment, instead of towards unnecessary architectural alterations or decorative embellishments.