Curb Appeal Ideas
How to sell your home and make a faster, more profitable sale
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, applying some curb appeal ideas to your home exterior and yard 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! This makes staging the outside of your home just as important as the inside. If you're losing potential buyers at the curb, read some curb appeal ideas that will get buyers out of their cars.
Curb appeal ideas
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 even see your house because it's hidden by overgrown trees and shrubs. Do your home exterior paint colors clash with the rest of the neighborhood?
Every little thing that's wrong with your house WILL BE NOTICED by buyers. They will take note of every flaw and use it as ammunition to negotiate the price of your house down!
View your home at night, as well. Greatly enhance your curb appeal and lure home buyers to the front door with outdoor landscape lighting. Affordable solar-powered LED lights can be found at any home improvement store. No fuss to install, just 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
Start your curb appeal improvements with a clean-up. Remove outdoor clutter like gardening tools, hoses, 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 leaves, broken tree branches, and for goodness sake, take down those out-of-season Christmas lights!
This sight is guaranteed to send home buyers fleeing!
Don't forget about the side and back yards, as well. After you lure buyers in with you front yard curb appeal, they will want to check out the side and back yards.
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 colors that match the house 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 inexpensive nursery flowers or shrubs in their pots 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
I can't find the front door!
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. Plus, this is a perfect example of why front door curb appeal is so important!
- Trees and shrubs should be neatly trimmed for curb appeal landscaping. 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 could wind up damaging 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 a walkway leading up 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 want to see the inside of the 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 entrance 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.
Porch rail flower boxes brighten this front entrance. 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 leaves 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 an attractive, (no crazy messages!) door mat for the front porch.
Front door curb appeal ideas
A boldly painted front door will add greatly to your curb appeal. Pinterest.
Your front door also plays a crucial role in the curb appeal web. The front door is often the only focal point at the front of a house, so it should grab the eye and 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, bright color. Select a door color that coordinates or complements the paint colors of your home exterior.
Use a high-gloss paint on the front door. This will give your door 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 a house number style that complements the style of your house design.
Replace outdated porch lights in the same style.
House exterior curb appeal ideas
I'm speechless. They couldn't spring for a sale sign? The house and yard don't look that bad, just in need a little sprucing up.
If you can't afford to paint your house exterior, washing off any dirt and grime is guaranteed to enhance your curb appeal. 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.
For wood siding, If soap and water doesn't work, try using 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 scrubbed green mold off 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.
Clean engineered wood, aluminum, or vinyl siding with an all-purpose cleaner using a nylon scrub brush. Check for rot on wood siding and replace if needed.
Wash the windows
There's just something about broken windows that makes a house look so forlorn.
- Broken or cracked window panes should be replaced. Window trim in need of painting should be touched up or completely repainted.
- Remove any paint on window panes carefully with a razor.
- Look for wood rot or caulking that may need replacing. And of course, windows should be spotlessly clean. Sparkling windows make a huge difference to buyers.
- 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. E-Cloth is a window cleaning kit made of microfiber that requires no cleaning products whatsoever. Just water! This method cleans better than anything I've ever tried.
Paint the home exterior for the best curb appeal
This beautifully painted house will certainly entice buyers to get out of their cars. Photo by NolanPaints.com
The most commonly offered advice from real estate pros, home stagers and appraisers is to paint your home exterior. This is one of the best curb appeal ideas you can follow. Appraisers will figure the cost of painting into the value of your home.
Painting the home exterior is a big job, costing you time and money. But it may make the difference in whether your house languishes on the market or is sold quickly.
If you can’t afford to paint the entire house, just paint the front and sides seen from the curb. Even a fresh coat on the front door, porch, or exterior trim will punch up the curb appeal of your home.
Selecting exterior paint colors
House exterior in neutral colors
Don't get carried away with bold or unusual exterior paint colors when you have a house for sale. Unusual paint colors will have buyers thinking of all the re-painting they'll have to do.
Instead, select exterior paint colors that fit in well 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 old Victorian-style homes will be the one house that stands apart. It may be a great house, but it becomes the "oddball" in the neighborhood that many buyers won't want to buy.
If the garage door is ugly, painting it the same color as the garage will make it less obtrusive. Otherwise, paint in a shade that complements the exterior house colors.
Fix 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 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.
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 ideas
- 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 for better curb appeal.
Watch the video below by Askthebuilder.com demonstrating how to repair cracks in asphalt. He has a good tip for camouflaging cracks as well.
Curb appeal staging tips
Flank the front door with potted plants. Cute dog is optional. Pinterest.
- Flank the front door with large containers of flowers or greenery. Or go vertical by hanging pots of flowers or ferns.
- Flank the bottom of porch steps with a pair of 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 near the entry for old-world charm.
- Add shutters in a complementary color as exterior window treatments.
- Paint or replace worn out or outdated shutters.
- Attach window boxes to the porch railings or under windows; fill with flowers or greenery to brighten the exterior. For winter showings, fill with greenery.
- Plant clusters of flowers beneath trees, at the base of the mailbox, along the walkway.
Lead buyers to the front door with night lighting.
- Be sure that the mailbox is in good condition. Paint or replace, if needed.
- Add solar landscape lighting along each side of the path leading up to the house.
- String white lights around the deck or front porch for evening viewings. Use white lights, as they are more elegant.
- A fence gate should open easily and be free of creepy squeaks. Oil hinges with WD-40. Paint, stain, and mend the fence, if needed.
- Attach window boxes to the porch railings or under windows; fill with flowers or greenery to brighten the exterior.
- For good curb appeal, 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.
- Clear patios and decks of all clutter; stage with patio furniture and potted flowers or shrubs.
- If the garage door is ugly, painting it the same color as the garage will give it better curb appeal. Otherwise, paint in a shade that complements the exterior paint colors.
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