How to increase a home’s curb appeal before selling

brown and white concrete house near green trees during daytime

Add value to your home and attract buyers by increasing your home’s curb appeal

Whether you have imminent plans to sell or simply wish to boost your home’s value, a little boost in curb appeal goes a long way. After all, the house’s exterior will be the first thing prospective buyers see. And when it comes to homebuying, first impressions matter. 

With a few simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a warm and welcoming entrance that will enchant potential buyers. In this guide to increasing your home’s curb appeal, we’ll show you how to do just that. 

Key takeaways:

  • Improving your curb appeal can increase the value of your home
  • Make a game plan before investing your time and money on home improvements
  • There’s no shortage of ways to make your home’s exterior stand out

Scope out your property to determine where there’s room for improvement

Before undertaking any home improvement project, you need to first understand where to target your efforts. Walk around your home and try to view things from an outsider’s perspective. Or better yet, invite a neighbor, co-worker, or friend with a more objective opinion to take a look.  Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer: what’s attractive about the property? Are there any untidy or unclean aspects of the house? What would make your home feel more inviting? Create a game plan for how to address each issue you note. 

Consider repainting (or at least cleaning) your home’s exterior

Removing layers of dirt and build-up from your house, driveway, and front porch can drastically change the way people perceive your home. If you don’t have access to a power washer, you can rent one or outsource that labor to a professional power washing company.

If your home’s exterior is clean, updating the color could modernize it and enhance your bottom line. Consider applying a fresh coat of paint—painting your home is an easy way to make it pop, especially when compared to neighboring houses. Using accent colors for your trim and doors can also give your home a more sophisticated look.

Tame your lawn

Lawn work may not be how you’d like to spend a Saturday, but it’s important that your lawn is neat and tidy when you sell your home. Otherwise, potential buyers could get the wrong impression. Fortunately, lawn care is one of the simplest ways to curate your home’s look. It’s easiest to maintain a tame lawn when you regularly mow the grass, pull weeds, and rake leaves. 

Also, make sure your grass gets plenty of water so that it doesn’t turn into the dreaded yellow-brown dead lawn. If that’s not possible due to your geography, local water restrictions or drought, consider installing turf or other lawn alternatives to infuse your lot with a punch of green.

Add enticing greenery

In addition to maintaining a tidy lawn, think about adding plants or a small garden. These additions can make your property feel more like a home, and oftentimes don’t require too much effort on your part. Purchase a couple of container gardens, which you can fill with your favorite plants and arrange however best suits your property. 

Alternatively, for those with more of a green thumb, consider planting a tree, a few shrubs around your mailbox, or even a couple of edible fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You can even reap the fruits of your labors while you’re waiting for an offer to roll in! If you don’t have much time to contribute, planters and window boxes can achieve similar results—with less effort. 

white wooden house with green plants
Creating symmetry through strategically-placed plants and patio furniture will create a pleasing visual aesthetic to buyers

Take care of any lingering repair jobs

Any fading paint, damaged sideboards, or ripped screens can be eyesores for your property. If these issues have been there a while, you may not even notice them anymore, but to the fresh eyes of a prospective buyer, these small issues can be glaring signs of what could be wrong with the house. Most of these repair jobs are likely small fixes, but they can make a big difference in taking your curb appeal to the next level.

Replace outdated hardware

How long have you had your current front door handle? What about your porch light fixture? All of these elements contribute to the overall feel of your property. These fixtures could be weathered, outdated, or mismatched. Remember that you’re selling the experience of living in your home rather than the home itself. Small tweaks like replacing outdated hardware can help you create the inviting, modern, and homey aesthetic you’re going for.

Make use of symmetry

Symmetry can be very visually appealing. You can create more symmetry by arranging lighting fixtures, plants, and accents in an evenly distributed fashion, creating focal points that make your home look like a well-put-together unit. Play around with symmetry and other design principles to really make your home stand out from the neighborhood.

Make your property pop with new lighting

Looking for additional DIY tricks to prep your home for sale? Lighting is a sure way to amplify your curb appeal. Besides the appeal of the fixtures themselves, lighting can make your entryway appear more welcoming and safe. That’s especially true if you have a cobblestone or uneven walkway up to the front of the house. To make things as easy as possible for yourself, select easy-to-mount fixtures. Matching your lighting fixtures with other outdoor hardware is a quick way to boost the design of your house’s exterior. Solar-powered string lights or lanterns are also unique features that make your property stand out. 

Utilize your outdoor furnishings

When you arrange furniture on your porch or patio, buyers will be able to see themselves sitting around with friends and family. These finishing touches make it much easier for them to envision themselves living in your home.

Install an updated mailbox 

It might not have occurred to you, but swapping out your mailbox for something more aesthetically pleasing can make a world of difference to your home’s curb appeal. It’s not an expensive renovation, but on most properties, it is one of the first things you notice from the street. A stylish new mailbox shows buyers that you care about the details. They’ll be more trusting about the condition of your home and feel more at ease with the visual appeal of the property. One note of caution, however: when selecting and installing a new mailbox, make sure you’re adhering to local regulations in the process.

brown and white concrete house under white sky during daytime
Cleaning your home’s exterior and updating the paint will help it look more modern and unique compared to neighboring homes

Boosting your curb appeal and home value

Selling your house is a big accomplishment. If you’re looking for ways to help nudge the process along, there are plenty of small tweaks that can make your home more marketable to prospective buyers. Your house could even sell for a higher price than you were expecting, if you put in a little elbow grease ahead of time.

From creating outdoor living spaces to repainting your house, the sky’s the limit when it comes to adding features to increase your home value.

FAQ 

What adds value most to a home?

On the external side of things, lighting and overall curb appeal are some of the fastest ways to add value to a home. Having a deck, patio, or other outdoor space has become especially important for buyers in a post-pandemic landscape.

Does curb appeal affect home value?

Yes! Studies have shown that houses with better curb appeal tend to sell for higher prices. One study from Michigan State University revealed that well-landscaped homes increased their value by 5-11%.

What’s the easiest way to add curb appeal to my home?

Taking care of your lawn and replacing your mailbox are two of the easiest ways to boost your curb appeal. However, all of the options on this list are fast and easy methods of making your home stand out from the street.

About the author: By day, Celita Summa is a Florida-based freelance writer specializing in real estate, technology, sustainability, and a plethora of other topics. By night, Celita can be found developing her talents, which include her black belt in karate, her fluent Italian, and her knack for vegan cooking.

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