How To Maximize the Value of Your Home With Curb Appeal

There is some dispute over who first said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” But what is never disputed is the importance of curb appeal—and how your home’s first impression impacts the sale of your home.

Curb appeal tells buyers what they can reasonably expect inside the home. If the outside is unappealing or neglected looking, buyers will naturally assume the same holds true on the inside.

An undesirable first impression takes only seconds to establish and may be impossible to erase.

Here’s how to maximize the value of your home with curb appeal and get top dollar when you sell.

Curb Appeal Makes Good Dollars and Sense

Closeup of a for sale sign in front of a house

Can curb appeal affect your home’s sale price? According to a Michigan State University study, the answer is a resounding “yes.” The study showed that a well-manicured exterior has a tremendous effect on the perceived value of a home, with values ranging from between 5%-11% higher.

And homes with great curb appeal sell faster—which usually translates to higher dollar offers and less stress for sellers.

Even home appraisers value homes higher if the house has good curb appeal.

Read how landscaping increases the market value of your home.

Ways To Improve Curb Appeal

Now that you recognize the importance of curb appeal—let’s get started. First, objectively view your home from the street and see which problems immediately catch your eye. Take notes and be sure to address these issues. Potential buyers will probably see them too.

Now, here are additional things you can do to improve your home’s curb appeal to prepare for those demanding home buyers.

Pay Attention to Landscaping

Your home’s landscaping is of particular importance to home buyers. Buyers want to see a front yard that is well maintained and cared for, and that won’t need immediate attention. (They’re not looking to spend even more money.)

Your home will gain extra points with buyers if your landscape is well-manicured and inviting. Homebuyers will immediately envision happy days relaxing outside or playing with their kids.

Hire a landscaping service to make sure your lawn is always well-maintained and ready for unexpected prospects.

Freshen Up Lawns and Bushes

  • Prune overgrown, unruly shrubs. If bushes are leggy and unattractive, replace them.
  • Make sure the lawn is in top-notch condition. If there are bare spots, add seed or sod. Use lawn food and water well to keep grass green and healthy.
  • Mow the lawn regularly.
  • Remove weeds from around bushes and trees and add a fresh layer of mulch.

Add Colorful Flowers

  • Add colorful annuals beneath trees or shrubs, or to line walkway or driveway.
A neglected flowerbed with bare patches, weeds, and dead plants
  • Clean out dead plants and weeds from flowerbeds and flower boxes. Replace them with colorful new annuals.
  • Replace the old edging that defines your flower beds.
  • Plant flowers underneath a new, upscale mailbox.

Create a Focal Point

  • Create an inviting seating area in an empty space in your front yard using an Adirondack chair or hardscaped seating wall or bench.
A nice house at night with impressive outdoor lighting
  • Add outdoor lighting to define walkways, driveway, seating areas, focal points, and doorway.
  • Add an attractive stone or brick property marker at each front property edge.

Here are some ways to plan a landscape design.

Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint to Exterior

The exterior of a house with paint that is peeling

If your home’s exterior is looking tired or drab, or has peeling paint, add a fresh coat of paint. Both buyers and appraisers will notice and give credit for it.

If your home has siding, an effective washing by a local professional will have your house looking refreshed, clean, and new.

Add Color for Better Curb Appeal

The outside of your home doesn’t need much color, but a few splashes of color are always appealing to the eye and add interest to your home’s exterior or landscape.

Some ways to add color are:

  • Paint your front door for added interest; make sure the color works with your home’s exterior.
  • Add shutters to windows.
  • Add attractive planters with flowers on the front porch or steps.

Replace, Remove, or Fix All Broken Items

Broken items left in plain sight quickly indicate that a home is neglected. You may have become accustomed to seeing bricks missing from the front stairs, or a fence with missing or broken slats—but buyers will notice them immediately.

Make sure your home doesn’t have any:

  • Broken or sagging gutters
  • Broken or missing siding
  • Missing bricks or cracked mortar
  • Cracked driveway asphalt
  • Poorly hanging/missing window shutters
  • Cracked windows

You may think that people won’t notice these items, but they will.

Check Your Roof

Buyers will always be wary of old or damaged roofs. Make sure your roof is in good condition, with no cracked or missing tiles or shingles. If your roof is old and in need of replacement, you will do well to replace the roof before your home goes on the market. Your return on investment should cover the cost, and you’ll likely attract more buyers.

If your roof is in good condition but has years of dirt, moss, or lichen, contact a professional roof cleaner before your home goes on the market.

Add, Fix, or Remove a Fence

Occasionally, the necessity of a fence is apparent—other times, it’s a matter of personal preference.

If it’s obvious that adding a fence will enhance your home’s curb appeal, consider adding one.

Closeup of a worn wooden fence with a broken slat

If you have a fence that’s in disrepair — it has broken posts or a broken gate, is leaning, or needs painting— by all means, fix it!

If you don’t need the fence and it’s too difficult to repair, remove it.

If you’re adding a fence, add a simple one that goes with your home’s style and will appeal to most buyers.

Take a look at Sponzilli Landscape Group’s portfolio and gallery for ideas and inspiration.

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