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Does Curb Appeal Really Increase Your Home Value?

You’re out for an evening walk and you notice how nice the house down the street looks. The lawn is lush and green. The gardens are colorful and aromatic. The home’s entry is warm and welcoming. You think to yourself, “That home is well-taken-care-of.” Maybe, with a slight touch of envy, you even wish you could live there. That’s curb appeal.

When you’re selling your home, curb appeal is the first impression that really matters. It is the hook that grabs potential buyers and draws them inside. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2018 Remodeling Impact Report, 94 percent of real estate professionals say that they have suggested sellers improve their curb appeal before listing a home for sale.

According to that same report, 97 percent of realtors agree that potential buyers find curb appeal important, with 66 percent saying that buyers tend to rank it as a very important factor when considering homes.

What does it mean to the bottom line?

A new study published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics and reported by the Wall Street Journal[1] says that curb appeal has an impact on home value.

The study examined Google Street View photos and data from nearly 90,000 home sales. It found that, on average, a property with strong curb appeal sells at a 7 percent premium to a comparable home in the same neighborhood with less curb appeal. In a buyers’ market, that premium rose as high as 14 percent.

Tips to elevate your curb appeal

Creating that enviable curb appeal does not have to be expensive or labor intensive. Here are some tips for eye-catching results.

Make obvious repairs and enhancements

Step back and take in the front of your home. Look for the obvious blemishes. Are there weeds between the interlocking stones of your walkway? Does the jointing sand need to be reapplied? Does the front deck need a couple new boards or a paint job? Get rid of the weeds, fix any cracks, fill holes and make repairs as needed. If DIY is not your thing, hire a professional landscape contractor to get the job done efficiently while you focus on other things.

How’s the drive up?

Maybe your driveway pavers could use a fresh coat of sealant, or there are stains that need cleaning. If you’ve thought about widening the driveway to accommodate more vehicles, now is a good time. Add a paver apron or paver border to expand your driveway and add character. Choose a paver color that complements your home’s exterior to tie the look together.

Spruce up the gardens

If you’ve listed in the spring, chances are you have some yard work to do. Clean away the weeds, dead plants and other debris from last year. Add fresh mulch around your garden beds to make them look neat and attractive. Place pots with colorful pansies in any bare areas while you wait for summer to arrive in your yard. Consider adding a simple garden wall to feature your garden beds or if you want a more striking design, tiered garden walls are a great option. Prune overwhelming shrubs. If trees or plants are touching the house, cut them back by about 8 inches. This gives your landscaping a more open appearance.

Take care of the lawn

Few things are as inviting as a carpet of luscious green grass. Raking, mowing, watering and weeding will go a long way. If your lawn has bare spots, water the soil lightly and rake gently. Sprinkle seed over the spots and cover with a quarter inch of soil. To get the grass growing, water the seeded patches at least two to three times daily.

Make a welcoming entrance

Clear away any excess toys, furniture, footwear and other items that may be cluttering up your front porch or entrance way. Do the paving stones in your pathway need repair or replacing? Consider new steps, a proper front landing and/or a walkway to make entering and exiting your home safe and easy. Your front door should be eye-catching at first glance. Make it pop with a fresh coat of paint in a bold color. Replace an old doorknob with new hardware. Add a seasonal wreath for a warm touch. Flank your front door with planters full of greenery or flowers.

Light it up

Check to make sure your outside lights are working properly. If you don’t have lights along your walkway, install inexpensive solar lights to make the path to your door safer and more inviting. Or have pillars built at the opening of your walkway that can hold lanterns for a more elegant design.

Never underestimate the value of that first impression. By upgrading your curb appeal, you have a chance to influence potential buyers before they even step inside. It could be setting you up for a successful, more profitable sale. View our Design Idea Catalog for more front entrance project inspiration.

[1] “Selling Your Home? It’s What’s on the Outside That Counts,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 23, 2020) [Log-in required.]