Curb Appeal Tips that will get Buyers in the Door
For a faster, more profitable home sale
A beautiful and immaculate home exterior will have home buyers excited to see inside.
What is curb appeal? Curb appeal is that first impression you get as you approach a house from the street.
It includes the home exterior and all of its elements, landscape, front, side and back yards, driveway, and walkway leading up to the front door and even the street in front of the house.
If you have a house for sale, employing some home exterior improvements can potentially add thousands to the value of your property, help it sell faster and for more money!
The first glimpse of your home should impact buyers in a positive way. You have only a minute to convince perspective buyers to get out of their car instead of driving on by.
Your goal is to make the exterior look so appealing that buyers can’t wait to get inside! If you're losing potential buyers at the curb, keep reading for some home improvement ideas that will get them in the door.
Curb appeal ideas that work
First, look at your home exterior with "buyer's eyes"
Outdoor landscape lighting will enhance the appearance of your home at night
Stand across the street from your house and try to see it from a buyer's perspective. What stands out? Perhaps you can’t see your house because it's hidden by overgrown trees and shrubs.
Do the exterior paint colors clash with the rest of the neighborhood, or does your home follow the "Principle of Conformity?"
Principle of Conformity
Select exterior paint colors that fit in with the other houses in your neighborhood. In Real Estate terms, this is called the "Principle of Conformity," which means that the highest value is created when a property is in harmony with its surroundings.
For instance, a mid-century modern house in a neighborhood of Victorian-style homes will be the one house that stands out. It may be a great house, but it becomes the "oddball" in the neighborhood that many buyers won't want to own.
Every little thing that's wrong with your house WILL BE NOTICED by buyers. They'll take note of every flaw and use it as ammunition to negotiate the price of your house down.
Be sure to view your home at night, as well. Because many buyers work during the day and can only view houses at night, be sure that your home is enhanced with a little outdoor landscape lighting.
Affordable solar-powered LED lights can be found at any home improvement store. No fuss to install, simply push into the ground.
If you're having a hard time evaluating the curb appeal of your own home, ask a neighbor or friend for their opinion-- don’t be offended if you don't like what they say. Remember, your ultimate goal is to sell your house fast and for more money.
Declutter, depersonalize and clean the yard
This sight is guaranteed to send home buyers fleeing!
Start your curb appeal improvements with a yard clean-up. Remove outdoor clutter, like gardening tools, hose, kid’s toys, a rusty swing set, sports equipment, shoddy patio furniture and taste specific outdoor decorative objects, like garden gnomes and flamingos.
Rake up any leaves, broken tree branches, and be sure to take down out-of-season Christmas lights.
Don't forget about the sides and back yard. After you lure buyers in with the front yard curb appeal, they'll want to check out the side and back yards, as well.
Clean up your pool or hot tub. A clean, sparkling swimming pool is often the tipping point in a sale.
There's nothing pretty about a fuel tank or air-conditioning unit. A rusty fuel tank can be scraped, washed and painted. Using paint that matches the house color will make it less conspicuous.
To clean the air-conditioning condenser, turn off the power and clear away leaves and debris that may be trapped inside. Use a garden hose to wash out the coils.
Overgrown garden just needs some weeding.
- Tidy garden beds of weeds and dead plants. Keep blossoms deadheaded.
- Rake up all dead branches, twigs and leaves from your lawn and garden. De-thatch dead grass with a metal rake or thatcher.
- Add some attractive boulders to the garden design for texture and interest.
- Sculptural features, like a birdbath or statue, add fun elements to your garden design.
- Install a gurgling water feature to your outdoor landscape-- buyers love them!
- Fill in bare spots in the garden with inexpensive nursery annuals. If you're in a hurry, bury potted flowers or shrubs straight into the garden beds. With a layer of mulch on top, no one will ever know. (Be sure to tell buyers when you sell your house.)
A new layer of mulch will freshen your landscape design.
- Apply a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch on the surface of flowerbeds to accentuate the plantings and enhance your landscape design.
Curb appeal landscaping ideas
Prune trees and shrubs
Overgrown shrubberies hide the entrance to this home. This bodes poorly for the inside. Nothing to see here--keep driving. Photo by homegardenandhomestead.com
The picture above is a perfect example of a buyer "drive by." Because you can't see the outside of the house, you can't determine if there's any damage to the exterior. This is why curb appeal is so important!
- Trees and shrubs should be neatly trimmed. Prune back any overgrown trees or shrubs that block the house from the street, hang heavily over the roof, or that block natural light from the home interior.
- Trees that are overly large or tall should be left to the experts. If you don't know what you're doing, you can potentially damage your house, your neighbor's house, power lines, or the car in your driveway.
For professional tree services, contact Evansville Tree Service, a nationwide provider at: https://www.thelocaltreeexperts.com/in/evansville/. This company performs a variety of services, such as tree removal, tree trimming, tree cutting, stump removal and arborist.
- Be sure to trim shrubs that block the walkway leading to the front door. There should be enough room for two people to walk shoulder-to-shoulder on the path without brushing against shrubbery.
Tidy up the lawn
This immaculate lawn and garden makes you excited to see the inside of this house.
- Rake up all dead branches, twigs and leaves from your lawn and garden. De-thatch dead grass with a metal rake or thatcher.
- Treat your lawn to a "greening" fertilizer like "Scott's Green MAX." A well-manicured lawn will boost the curb appeal of your home exterior.
- Fill in bare or brown patches of lawn with grass seed and keep watered and mowed. Edging between the lawn, sidewalk and flower beds will make the garden design look tidy and well cared for.
If your lawn has bare or brown patches that need filling in fast, try this quick solution by www.patchperfect.com. This company claims that its grass seed will fill in bare spots in the lawn faster than normal seed and with little effort, except for watering.
Front porch curb appeal ideas
Buyers will be charmed by this porch swing. Emphasize the front porch as outdoor living space by laying down an area rug. Photo by homesfeed.com
- The front porch will set the tone for the rest of the house. If buyers like what they see, they'll want to venture inside.
Railing flower boxes brighten this pretty porch. Pinterest.
- Be sure the walkway or stairs leading up to your porch are in good repair.
- Last year's Christmas wreath clinging to the front door may leave a bad impression--like nobody cared enough to take it down.
- Keep the front porch clear of boots, shoes, umbrellas, kid's toys, etc. Buy a tasteful, (no crazy messages!) door mat for the front porch.
- Depersonalize your home by removing plaques or anything else with your name on them-- pack them up for your new home.
Front door curb appeal ideas
A boldly painted front door will add greatly to your curb appeal. Pinterest.
Your front door can play a crucial role in the curb appeal buyer snare. The front door is often the only focal point for a house, so it should look outstanding enough to lure buyers in.
According to the principles of feng shui, the front door and foyer should welcome and direct the flow of energy into the house, rather than push it away or weaken it.
This is where you want to use a bold, even fun, bright color. Select a color that coordinates or complements the paint colors of your home exterior.
Use a high-gloss paint on the front door. This will give it a lovely reflective quality.
Be sure to keep door hardware and kickplate polished and gleaming. Use a good metal cleaner like, "Brasso Metal Polish."
The doorbell should be in good working order and house numbers easily seen from the street. Choose numbers that complement the style of your house.
Replace outdated porch lights with those that reflect the style of the house, as well.
House exterior curb appeal ideas
I'm speechless. They couldn't even spring for a sale sign?
If you can't afford to paint your house exterior, be sure to at least clean it. A bucket of soapy water, a long handled brush and a power washer may be all you need.
To clean exterior brick, go to How to clean brick in 7 steps for some good tips.
If soap and water don't get the wood siding clean, try a solution of 1/2 cup TSP (trisodium phosphate) dissolved in a gallon of water. TSP can be found at any home improvement store.
I have successfully removed green mold from my own wood-sided house, using a mixture of 20% bleach and water. Wet the siding first with a hose, apply the bleach mixture to the exterior with a long-handled brush, then rinse well. Repeat, if needed. Check for rot on wood siding and replace if needed.
Clean engineered wood, aluminum, or vinyl siding with an all-purpose cleaner using a soft nylon scrub brush.
Wash windows until they sparkle!
There's just something about dirty or broken windows that make a house look so forlorn.
- Broken or cracked window panes should be replaced, of course. Window trim in need of painting should be touched up or completely repainted.
- Remove any paint left on the window panes carefully with a razor.
- Look for wood rot or caulking that may need replacing.
- I shouldn't even have to say this, but windows should be spotlessly clean. Sparkling windows make a huge difference to buyers and will actually bring more light inside the house.
- Here's the best window washing tip ever! You will thank me every time you wash your windows. I detested washing windows until my sister gave me an E-Cloth kit. I still don't like washing windows, but I hate it less than before.
E-Cloth is a window cleaning kit made of microfiber that requires no cleaning products whatsoever, just water. This method cleans better and faster than anything I've ever tried.
Paint your home exterior for the best curb appeal
A beautifully painted home exterior will make home buyers excited to see the interior! Pinterest.
The most commonly offered advice from real estate pros, home stagers and appraisers is to paint your home exterior.
This is a big job that will cost you time and money, but it can be the difference in whether your house is sold quickly or languishes on the market for months.
Yes, painting your entire house will be expensive, but the appraiser will figure that cost into the value of your home, so in the end, you'll recap your expenses.
If you can’t afford to paint the entire house, just painting the front and sides that can be seen from the curb will make a huge difference.
Even a fresh coat on the front door, porch, or exterior trim will punch up the curb appeal of your home.
The best exterior paint colors that will sell your home
Paint your house exterior in neutral colors for optimal buyer appeal.
This isn't the time to get carried away with a bold or unusual exterior paint color.
Be sure that the color you choose fits in with the other homes in your neighborhood. Remember the Principle of Conformity.
Unusual paint colors will have buyers thinking of all the re-painting they'll have to do.
If your garage door is ugly, painting it the same color as the garage will make it less obtrusive. Otherwise, paint it in a shade that complements your exterior house colors.
Repair any roof problems
Remove moss from the roof!
If you don't take care of roof problems now, you will pay for it later when the home inspection comes back. Buyers will insist on a brand new roof for any little problem.
- Stand back from your roof and look at it with a pair of binoculars. Look for curling or missing shingles and damaged metal flashings. Replace missing shingles and repair damage flashings.
- Remove moss, lichen and algae. Sweep loose moss from the roof with a push broom.
- Moss and lichen that are more difficult to remove may need a power washing. When power washing a shingled roof, always aim the water spray down the roof, not up. If you spray up, you risk getting water under the shingles.
Don't forget the gutters
Clean out gutters and downspouts and make sure they are working properly. If your house doesn't have gutters, you might consider having them installed.
Gutters keep your home healthy by moving water away from the building, preventing potential damage.
Treat insect problems
If you suspect that you have an insect problem, take care of it now. The presence of insects will be disclosed during a home inspection and may discourage buyers from continuing the home sale.
Home insect infestations make most people uncomfortable, to the point where they may walk away from a home sale.
For best results, call a pest control inspector, like the ones at Terminix for a cost estimate on getting rid of the problem.
Driveway and sidewalk curb appeal
- When you're showing your house, be sure to leave your driveway free of vehicles.
- Power wash driveways and sidewalks to remove stains and debris. For cement driveways, use a pressure washer with at least 3,000 PSI. Remove grease stains first by soaking in cat litter or sawdust overnight, or use a concrete degreaser.
- Replace missing or damaged pavers or bricks on walkways and patios. Sometimes you can salvage pavers and bricks by just flipping them over, saving yourself a little money.
- Repair concrete or pavement cracks with patching kits. For asphalt or blacktop, try "Black Jack Blacktop Ultra-Maxx 1000 Driveway Filler and Sealer." For concrete, try "Quikrete Concrete Crack Seal."
- Gravel surfaces can be refreshed by adding new rocks or doing a power wash.
- Kill and remove weeds growing from cracks and along the edges of driveways and sidewalks. Use an edger to make a neat sharp line.
Curb appeal home staging tips
Flank the front door with potted plants. Cute dog is optional. Pinterest.
- Flank the front door with large containers of flowers or potted trees. Or go vertical by hanging pots of flowers or ferns on each side.
- Or, flank the bottom of the porch steps with a pair of tall urns; fill them with spiked plants, shrubs or topiary.
- Place a wood bench or white wicker rocking chair on the porch; create a welcoming vignette with a small table, pitcher of lemonade and glasses.
- Place an arbor at the end of the walkway, or near the entry for old-world charm.
- Add shutters in a complementary color as exterior window treatments.
- Attach planter boxes to porch railings or under windows; fill with flowers or greenery to brighten the exterior. For winter showings, fill with evergreens, like cedar boughs.
- Plant clusters of flowers beneath trees, at the base of the mailbox, along the walkway.
Lead buyers to the front door during night viewings with path lighting.
- Be sure that your mailbox is in good condition. Repaint or replace it, if needed.
- Add solar landscape lighting along each side of the path leading up to the house.
- String elegant white lights around the deck or front porch for evening viewings.
- For holiday curb appeal, hang a wreath on the door or one on each side.
- A fence gate should open easily and be free of squeaks. Oil hinges with WD-40. Paint, stain, and mend the fence, if needed.
- Seal-coat your asphalt driveway to give it a fresh, darkened look. You can easily apply it yourself. See the difference in the picture on the right. Go to http://garagefloorcoatingtips.com/asphalt-paint/ for information on choosing asphalt paint.
Watch the video below by Askthebuilder.com demonstrating how to repair cracks in asphalt. He has a good tip for camouflaging cracks as well.
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