Tips From The Experts: Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal

We all know that first impressions matter. Upgrading your home’s exterior not only improves your chances of selling, but can also fetch a higher selling price. A home that lacks curb appeal will take longer to sell than a house that makes a good impression from the first moment. We asked experts about their top curb appeal tips to use at home.

How do you improve your home’s appearance on a budget?

“The inspections always start from the outside, so get everything in order. One detail you need to pay attention to is the house number: Clean or change the house number, and with just a few dollars, you will already have improved the house’s look.

An interesting trick is to show the wonderful life we could lead if we lived in that house: For this purpose, it can be clever to add details that precisely bring the property to life.

Although it is superfluous, I want to say this: wash the windows.

You will see that by already applying just a few of these tips, the results will be amazing.”

-Sal from RevenueLand

“There are lots of inexpensive, simple ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal. Believe it or not, making a few small changes can go a long way. One idea is to give your front door a fresh coat of paint. While black is a timeless, elegant choice, you can also consider adding a welcoming pop of color like yellow, blue, or red. 

Once your door is painted, add a seasonal wreath or sign for the perfect finishing touch. Another quick change you can make is to update your doormat. Try the layered effect, using a large patterned rug underneath and placing a smaller mat with a cheerful message or image on top. It’s important that visitors can identify that they’ve reached the right home, so make sure your house number is displayed cleanly and attractively. Whether you buy and arrange individual numbers or get a personalized sign, you can choose something that really matches your style. 

Finally, flowers always cheer a home, so whether potted or planted in the ground, a few well-placed plants can make a huge difference in your curb appeal. They can also hide your foundation, pipes, or other things you want to conceal. A few small actions can make an enormous difference in the way the exterior of your home looks. “

-Amy Latta from Amy Latta Creations 

What should I do with my landscaping to increase curb appeal?

“There are 4 basic ways we can quickly improve the curb appeal of a home:

1) Before adding anything new, get what you have in shape. Prune your trees and shrubs, cut the lawn, and pressure wash the decks and walkways. You may find that you have a better garden than you imagined.

2) In many neighborhoods, it’s easy for your home to be lost in a sea of green. Make your front yard “pop” with color. This can be done with flowering shrubs and grasses. But for year-round color, look to foliage. Yellow leaves and blades are especially helpful and will stand out against the green foliage of your existing plants.

3) Add some height. Landscaping can make a real impact in dense neighborhoods with tall houses on small lots. These homes tower over the sidewalk, and are difficult to blend into the surroundings. The key is to get some height up on the house, especially the corners. Consider narrow trees and shrubs or even bamboo.

4) Add some tasteful low-voltage landscape lighting. A simple system with just 4-6 fixtures can improve your landscape dramatically for 10-14 hours a day!”

-Ben Bowen from Ross NW Watergardens

“When dealing with homes in exclusive areas, lighting is critical on landscaping. Nothing gives the impression of “I want to live in this house” like uplighting on trees or special features in the front yard. Whenever you go to a beautiful resort that has the trees or rock walls lit, it gives you a sense of excitement. Your home is no different. You want people anticipating something special when you walk in the front door. If the outside looks this beautiful, I can’t wait to see what is in store you go inside the home. Interlocking brick for your driveway doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg but it changes the vibe when you are driving up to the home. This small feature will separate you from most of the other homes in the neighborhood. Finally, make sure your yard is spotless. This includes no weeds in the gardens, no dead foliage, and that the grass along with the edging on the flower beds are tidy.”

-Ted from Build Magazine

What do I need to know about exterior maintenance?

“When it comes to improving curb appeal, the advice will always include tidying up/updating landscaping and often even repainting doors and shutters.  Often a listing agent will also recommend getting a house wash to tidy up any mildew staining and dirt that will accumulate on your home.  If you plan on getting that done to freshen things up before a sale, make sure to check that the contractor you’re hiring utilizes a softwash system, to protect your home from damage.

While all of these items are pretty standard recommendations, one that is not addressed all that often is the state of your roof.  If you’ve seen a home listed for sale with a roof full of black streaks, you’ve probably assumed that a new roof is needed (and most likely moved on to view another listing).  The reality is, a roof softwash can remove those streaks just as effectively as it removes mildew from vinyl siding.  If the age of the roof is not near the end of its lifespan, a roofwash is a great option to extend the life of the roof, and offer potential buyers peace of mind when it comes to the life left in that roof.  It will also brighten the overall appearance of the home, and maximize curb appeal just in time for a sale!”

Jason Atkinson from Red Door Pro Wash

“Creating a lasting impact on your curb appeal can be done in the form of custom features that add a unique aspect to your property. When it is time to sell your home, differentiating it from others can be crucial in generating interest. Some of these add-ons that can change your property are below.

  • Landscape Wall- A stonewall is a decorative and attractive boost to your property while serving also serving a function. Stonewalls can be placed in an area that needs more seating, it can serve as a property line or be a retaining barrier for plantings.
  • Driveway Pillars and Custom Mailbox- Curb appeal is not only for homes close to the “curb”, when a home is set back from the street adding a statement piece like custom pillars will immediately add a boost to the curb appeal and the protection that comes with pillars and a gate might be a key factor when choosing between homes. The same is true with a custom mailbox that sets your property apart from other homes on the street.
  • Upgrading The Home- The most common way to boost curb appeal is to directly upgrade the home. This can be most impactful at the entryway where adding new steps or step risers leading up to the home will be immediately noticed by guests (and potential buyers). Replacing the home foundation around the doorway with an alternative material is also a proven way to separate your home from others and boost curb appeal.”

-Noah Dempsey | Marketing Coordinator of Delgado Stone Distributors

What else do I need to know about curb appeal?

The lift associated with increasing your home’s curb appeal varies wildly on what your goals are. For traditional sellers, you’re investing to maximize resale value. For house flippers, strong attention to detail and budget is even more important. However, it’s critical to balance getting your projects done quickly and inexpensively with your responsibilities as a real estate professional.

“Even when you’re experienced, it’s always good to have the attitude that you do not know everything. Seek out other opinions or ideas. This will help create the best product for your home buying customers. Remember to always add a margin of error for your purchases. Long term relationships matter a lot in real estate, and the better you are creating value in those relationships for others, the better you will do financially. Become great at finding off market deals.”

-Josh and Adam Justiniano from Quick Home Offers®

Based on your experience, what’s one tip to improve a house’s curb appeal without negatively impacting budget?

Too often people spend inordinate amounts of money entertaining the neighbors with elaborate front gardens. When first completed a relative may comment “How amazing is the garden!” Then, next time they visit, they ask “What’s for dinner?”

As any real estate agent will tell you when selling a house. Abide by the KISS principle. Keep it simple stupid.

While you may love pink flowers or lots of retaining walls or ponds and complicated gardens that have to be maintained, that is not necessarily what the general public wants. What is going to create street appeal above anything is simple: rolling well-maintained lawn, not necessarily lots of walls, etc. If having hedges, ensure they are clipped and well maintained. Choose simple steel edging over expensive brick edging (avoid timber or plastic edging). Established trees in lawn can look great, as can a simple but well thought-out layout. What is the aspect? Do the trees need to be deciduous to assist with summer shade? Try to avoid lots of different types of plants but rather simple bold patterns, and you can’t go wrong.

David Kirkpatrick from Outdoor Creations