Many people think the phrase “curb appeal” came about recently, especially considering the recent popularity of home improvement TV shows. According to Google’s nGram service, mentioning of the phrase started in the 60’s and rapidly rose in use between the 80’s and today. We’ll refer to curb appeal here as those things that attract or detract potential buyers in the real estate market.
Curb appeal considerations
Let’s first step away from the open house, in-person experience since you need to look at what brings people to an open house in the first place. According to the National Association of Realtors, 63% of homebuyers will visit a property they like after viewing it online. You can maximize interest from home buyers online by following some basic curb appeal tips before you put your home on the market and the photos go up on the internet. If you don’t, odds are good your agent will recommend this anyway since 94% of Realtors have suggested improvements to sellers’ curb appeal before listing a home on the market. That’s not surprising since basic curb appeal not only maximizes interest from homebuyers, it also maximizes your selling price.
Anything that looks like neglect related to your roof will be a red flag for homebuyers, even if your roof is sound. If you have cosmetic issues such as some loose shingles or discoloration, those should be addressed so your roof gets the green light from potential buyers. Get a roofer to fix up any loose shingles and get a professional opinion on the best approach for handling any cleaning that may be needed. This can vary depending on the materials that are on your roof.
Does your front door look a little tired? Put a fresh coat of paint on the door if you’re not going to replace it altogether. New hardware is a simple, low cost upgrade even if you choose not to repaint your door.
If your light fixtures and doorbell are showing their age, those should be replaced as well.
For the final touch to make your entryway feel warm and welcoming, add some colorful potted plants. If space permits, add one on each side of your doorway. The symmetry works wonders and it’s a trick of every designer. Here’s a great collection of ideas for inspiration.
Quality landscaping has been shown to increase consumers’ perceived home value as much as 11% according to a study that looked at over 1300 properties across 7 different states. Unlike interior design trends, landscaping never goes out of style and its value grows over time as it matures.
The NAR report 2018 Remodeling Impact Report for Outdoor Features found landscape maintenance and tree care recover 100% of the costs at the time of sale according to members of NALP (National Association of Landscape Professionals) and Realtors.
Work with a professional landscaper to add or remove elements if you can. If that’s not possible, pay attention to trimming bushes, removing weeds, and keeping the lawn trimmed if you have one. Standard lawn care service is the biggest project in terms of buyer appeal, returning an estimated 267% of the cost.
Driveway, Sidewalk and Walkways
A lot of materials used for driveways and walkways can become discolored over time from weathering and conditions. In some climates, unsightly moss can even develop in shady spots with lots of moisture. Pressure washing will clean everything up fast to brighten your exterior and make other features pop.
Make sure your exterior is decluttered, just like your interior. Clutter causes anxiety and increases stress hormones, so avoid clutter at all costs. If you can’t part with items cluttering your exterior, considering storing them in a temporary storage unit if you can’t hide them anywhere.
If your mailbox has taken a beating from the elements, a replacement is definitely a good idea. A new, sturdy mailbox is an inexpensive and easy fix that creates a positive impression very early on.
Painting your entire house isn’t cheap but it could pay for itself easily if buyers see that they’ll need to paint it themselves soon. If your home’s paint job needs a little sparkle and you’d rather not paint your entire house, consider painting just the trim to freshen it up.
Walls and Windows
Keep your exterior walls and windows clean. If rain often splatters soil and mud on your house, consider placing gravel or plantings in areas where the water is causing the mess.