Curb appeal is one of the most important factors to take into consideration if you are planning to sell your house soon. It is a term that describes the overall “attractiveness” of a house from the sidewalk (thus the term “curb appeal”). There are a number of reasons why curb appeal is important and many things that you can do to easily improve the curb appeal of your own home.

What is Curb Appeal?

As mentioned above, curb appeal relates to the attractiveness of the outside of your house from the sidewalk. It primarily applies to the condition of your home and yard. However, other factors can also influence curb appeal. These include things such as the state of neighboring houses and yards and even the car you have parked in the driveway.

Curb appeal is basically an indicator of a home’s initial appeal to a potential buyer. A nice looking and well-kept home will usually appeal more to potential buyers, increasing its curb appeal. For this reason, real estate professionals place a lot of emphasis on the way that a home looks from the outside.

The Importance of Curb Appeal

Because curb appeal relates to a potential buyer’s initial impression of a house, it is easy to understand why it is so important in selling a home. When a potential buyer drives by a house and likes the outside, there is a strong chance they will request a showing of the inside. However, if the same potential buyer drives by a house and doesn’t like how it looks on the outside, the chances are slim that they will request a showing.

Simply put, curb appeal is critical if you are selling or renting your home. A few of the reasons that curb appeal is so important, in more detail, include:

First Impression: Just like books, homes are almost always judged by their covers. See a cover you like and you’ll look inside. See a cover you dislike and you’ll chuck it. A home’s exterior should do many things. It should demonstrate that you are proud of your home. It should also inspire curiosity in the potential buyer about what is inside.

Safety: No one wants to buy a home that looks unsafe from the outside. The need for security is essential. Shadow-casting shrubbery, poorly lit entry areas, and discarded junk all detract from a home’s curb appeal.

Perceived Value: Curb appeal can make your home appear more valuable than it actually is. The perceived value of a home will make a potential buyer more likely to offer you your asking price. This is why proper upkeep and maintenance to the outside of your home and yard are so important during the selling process.

Attraction: When selling your home, you want your house to stick out. Potential buyers are going to compare it to other properties in your neighborhood so you want to make sure that it looks as nice (or better) than them. This is especially important if there are other similar houses for sale in your area. Your home’s curb appeal can set you apart from competitors. It can also highlight the best features of your home to make these stick into a potential buyer’s mind.

How to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

At this point, you are probably wondering about how to improve your home’s curb appeal (especially if yours is currently on the market!). You can’t fix issues unless you know what they are. That is why it is best to start with a quick curb appeal exercise.

Curb Appeal Exercise: Stop across the street the next time you come home. What is your first impression of your house and your yard? What do you like about it and what do you dislike about it? Get into the mindset of a potential buyer. Make a list of the things that you could do to make your home more attractive.

After you do your curb appeal exercise, it is time to tackle the easy stuff. The easy stuff consists of quick fixes like making sure your home and yard are clean and tidy. This includes:

  • Stowing away unnecessary objects in your yard including gardening tools.
  • Cleaning your windows and your gutters.
  • Pressure washing dirty siding and decks.
  • Edging the sidewalks and pulling weeds from the garden.
  • Raking and disposing of leaves and mowing the lawn.
  • Trimming back tree and shrub limbs that touch your home.
A few additional tips that you can use to improve your home’s curb appeal include:

Rear View: Most potential buyers will want to see the back of a house as well as the front. If the rear of your house is visible from the street, a neighbor’s driveway, or an alley, make sure to include it in your curb appeal efforts.

Evening View: A lot of potential buyers will drive by your house in the evening, after work. Make sure that your home looks just as inviting at dusk as it does in the daytime. Installing lighting is the absolute best way to increase your home’s evening curb appeal.

Landscaping: Both adding and removing elements from your yard can increase curb appeal. In fact, spending some time on landscaping is one of the absolute best ways to increase your home’s resale potential. Studies have shown that landscaping can increase a home’s resale value by more than 15%. Consider hiring a professional contractor for your landscaping.

Fresh Paint: If it fits into your budget, adding a coat of fresh paint is a superb way to improve curb appeal. This is especially true if you can find a color scheme that is inviting and sticks out from others in your neighborhood.

Final Thoughts on Curb Appeal

Improving the curb appeal of your home should be a priority for everyone hoping to sell or rent their home. The key is to start small, with maintenance and cleaning, and then work your way up to larger improvements as your budget permits. Even spending just a little time and money on curb appeal will go a long way in selling your home quickly and for the price that you deserve.