Your house might be immaculate on the inside, but if the outside does not match, your potential buyers may not even make it inside. First impressions make a huge difference when selling your home. In certain markets, you only have one shot to convince a potential buyer to even consider your house.

Curb Appeal is a popular word used in the real estate business to describe the feeling that someone gets when they drive up to a home. We will get into the concept more later, but the term curb appeal refers to how your home, lawn and garden appear from the outside. You want your property to have a “wow” factor to entice them to inquire further. This is why it is important to know how to add curb appeal to your house.

It is not unheard of for buyers to see a home’s exterior and decide to cancel their showing if they do not like what they see. At the very least, poor curb appeal can give a bad first impression that can lead buyers to view the inside of the home with an overly critical eye. After all, a well-maintained exterior implies to the buyers that a home has been taken care of.

Homes with beautiful curb appeal tend to have a higher property value and a higher asking price when they sell. Next time you are driving up to and parking in front of your house ask yourself, “does the curb appeal make the home feel warm, stylish and inviting”… or perhaps the opposite.

When selling a home, most people busy themselves repairing and staging the inside of the house to prepare for showings with prospective buyers. Read on to get ideas on how to make your home stand out in the hot Inland Empire market.

 What Is Curb Appeal?

Curb appeal is that undefinable something that draws you to a home at a glance. It is a combination of visual charm, good upkeep and attention to detail. It is the general attractiveness of your home and its surrounding property visible from the front sidewalk, street and/or lawn.

In a nutshell, curb appeal is your home’s first impression on visitors or prospective buyers. It is literally how the property looks when seen from the street. Good curb appeal can serve several purposes, depending on whether the house is for sale or you just want to showcase your home to its best advantage.

When enhancing curb appeal, consider what purpose you want to achieve to make the best choices. Curb appeal is definitely subjective to different tastes, but you want to use different tactics if you are planning to sell your property as opposed to welcoming guests to a holiday party.

Curb appeal can…

  • Provide a friendly welcome to visitors and guests
  • Entice and impress potential buyers or renters
  • Showcase the property’s key features and style

Set a Plan of Action for Improved Curb Appeal

Before you start work on pruning, planting or painting, analyze what needs to be done so you can decide how much you want to spend. This crucial first step will help you determine where you should focus your attention.

A good way to see your property from an outside perspective is to take a photo of the home’s exterior as if this were the photo you will post on your online listing. Evaluate the whole scene and be honest in your assessment. Does anything stand out as a negative? Maybe ask a friend or neighbor to evaluate your home’s exterior and point out the biggest defects. Whether you have peeling paint, a cracked sidewalk or mismatched foliage, you are probably more blinded to the issues than an outsider would be.

How to Give Your Property More Curb Appeal

As you contemplate improvements, stay true to your home’s style and avoid being tempted by trends. Adding or improving curb appeal can be expensive, depending on the scope of the project and the size of your front yard, so some things might just have to be repurposed or cleaned up. Luckily, exterior home improvements usually offer a strong return on investment depending on the preferences of buyers in your market. At the very least, an investment in curb appeal will help you attract buyers and possibly sell sooner.

1. Do a Thorough Cleaning

A marathon cleaning session can also do wonders for your curb appeal. Consider power washing all the surfaces to get the years of dirt and cobwebs down. Clean the decks, carport, siding and pavement. Keep in mind that power washers can damage wood and siding if used incorrectly, so get instructions from your rental company. When cleaning, do not forget to wash down the trinkets and décor you have around your porch and garden. Make sure figurines are clean and standing upright. Spray down and straighten any signs you have on the porch.

2. Create a Welcoming Entrance

Elevate your entryway by adding some decorative elements outside your front door, like a charming welcome mat, potted plants or a decorative wreath. Simple changes can help to make the front entrance of your home appear cozy and inviting. If you have a front porch, add a new outdoor area rug and some charming wooden rocking chairs.

3. Spruce Up Your House Number

Sometimes all it takes is a new set of house numbers in a different style and font to make your home instantly more appealing. A new set of house numbers can modernize an older home or give your home that designer touch. This is great if you want to make your house stand out from the rest on the market.

If you are buying new house numbers, remember that the siding or eave underneath is likely to be less weathered. So your replacements need to be the same size or slightly larger so the old outlines do not show.

4. Replace Your Mailbox

Curb appeal is all about the details, so if your mailbox looks like it has seen better days, it might be time to bring a new one in. Mailboxes serve a dual purpose: they collect your mail, but they also send a message about the homeowner’s attentiveness to their dwelling. An upscale mailbox, architectural house numbers, or address plaques can make your house stand out.  If you do not buy a new mailbox, at least give the old one a facelift with paint and new house numbers.

5. Paint Your Front Door

Adding pizzazz to your home’s front entrance is an easy, low-cost way to up your home’s curb appeal. With the right front door colors, you can use the front door as a unique way to greet any potential buyers. Options for front door colors are as endless as your imagination. However, choose one that complements the color scheme of your home’s exterior. For a monochromatic color scheme, choose darker and lighter shades within the same color. To add eye-catching contrast, pick a door color that’s on the opposite end of the color wheel as your home’s main color.

6. Refresh Your Outdoor Furniture

Any outdoor furniture that is old and in need of repair should be tossed out or updated. Front porch furniture — like gliding, lounging or rocking chairs — welcomes guests and invites them to sit, take a load off and enjoy some conversation. You can find nice, inexpensive furniture at a thrift store to add character. Shop for something that looks good but does not require refinishing.

7. Install Exterior Lighting

Outdoor lighting can make a world of difference when it comes to your home’s curb appeal. Add some solar lights along the front walkway or some low-voltage lights near your front flower bed. Landscape lights are easy to install, and solar varieties are self-sufficient, so they will not put a strain on your energy bill. Interested house buyers might be driving past your home later in the day or evening to see what it looks like. Sellers should give them the best view possible with welcoming exterior lighting. Warm porch lighting is a must, and if you have any lighting fixtures on your garage, they should match any other exterior fixtures on your house.

8. Add New Hardware

Upgrading your front door’s hardware is a simple, cost-effective way to increase the curb appeal. Choose from a variety of colors and metal types, like silver, gold, satin nickel, copper and oiled bronze to add pizzazz to an otherwise boring door. Hardware also comes in many shapes and sizes, so before heading to the home center, consider the look and function you want.

9. Hide Exterior Cables

Outdoor cables and wires can be an unsightly mess, and they can negatively impact your curb appeal. Keep exterior cables hidden using exterior-rated channel raceways that you can run the wire underneath. Weatherproof boxes to hide wayward wires are another good option to keep these items neatly hidden from view.

10. Plant Fragrant Flowers

Flowers do more than just provide visual interest. Aromatic, sweet-scented flowers set the tone as soon as the buyer walks up and leave a lasting impression. Just do not overwhelm people with fragrant flowers too close to the entryway. Jasmine, roses, lavender and thyme are all good options. Pay attention to seasonality so you can get something that is blooming during your listing time.

11. Update the Sidewalks and Walkways

Make your sidewalk look new again by resurfacing it with new concrete. If you cannot resurface the whole thing, at least get rid of weeds and overgrowth in the seams and along the sides so that the sidewalk is clean and free of obstructions. Enhance walkways around your home and garden by installing stylish pavers. A paved walkway makes maneuvering around the outside of your home easier, and you can find them in a wide variety of colors, shapes and styles to coordinate with the rest of the home.

12. Install Concrete Borders

Lawn borders contain your mulch and define flowerbeds and pathways, giving your landscaping a finished look and actually does not cost much to install. Out of all these curb appeal ideas, this is the most hands on, do-it-yourself project, so keep in mind the time and labor it will take.

Expect to dig a trench, build and install wood forms, pour in some gravel and then top that with concrete mix. Add just a few extra steps if you want to color the concrete mix, and give this project about three days to cure. In a week, your flower beds will look better than ever and your front yard will have a sense of order to it.

 13. Manicure the Lawn

Tending to your lawn is a do-it-yourself task that can add free and instant curb appeal to your home. Cut the grass regularly and conquer those weeds. A manicured lawn with a picturesque garden and ornaments tells passersby that your home is clean, well-maintained and highly valued. Alternatively, unmown grass and a driveway filled with potholes tells others your home’s value is depreciating.

14. Refresh Your Driveway

Once the driveway is clear of debris, moss, weeds, grasses and oil stains you are going to want to fill in any cracks in the driveway. Installing a border along the driveway gives it a crisp, elegant look.  You can use bricks, pavers, and stone to get your driveway to really pop.  You should also hose down your driveway and walkaway before you even take photos for your listing to give it a fresh look.

15. Update Your Garage Door

If your garage door is dented, peeling, rusting, chipping, or just out of date, considering installing something new. Or consider painting the garage door the same color as the trim on your house, as this will give your property a more uniformed look. Wash any windows in your garage to make it more appealing. Then, consider the lighting inside your garage as well, as this part of the home can often feel dark and unwelcoming – the opposite of how you want a prospective buyer to feel.

Find the Right Agent

First impressions still matter. Curb appeal can make or break a buyer’s interest in your home before they even step through the front door, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. Be sure to add unique touches to make your home feel cozy and welcoming. These steps will go a long way toward helping your home stand out from the crowd.

Windermere’s community of real estate professionals is our greatest asset. We have experts in all areas of real estate, from your typical starter home to condos, luxury properties, and new construction. While residential real estate is the mainstay of our business, Windermere also has offices and associates who specialize in property management, commercial real estate, and relocation services. To further facilitate the home buying process, Windermere has affiliated partners in certain regions to provide mortgage, title, and escrow services.

Call us today with any questions or concerns. Our professional Real Estate Agents will help you through this exciting process. (951) 369-8002