They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Yet, looking past a house with peeling paint, old siding, or overgrown landscaping is hard. Furthermore, if you’re getting ready to list your home or get an appraisal, a lack of curb appeal can hamper your prospects.
Read below to understand how curb appeal works, why it matters, and the easiest ways to improve it.
What is curb appeal?
Curb appeal refers to how your home looks from a quick cursory glance. When someone drives or walks by, curb appeal informs their first impression. If they like what they see, your house has good curb appeal. If they want to keep walking, then your home doesn’t have curb appeal. Research has found that homes with better curb appeal sell for 7% more than those without. You might also find it sells faster and has more competing offers.
How to improve curb appeal
If your home has bad curb appeal, don't fret — there are many low-lift, low-budget, and easy ways to boost your home's look. It's essential to focus on key visible elements, such as your lawn and front door. Here's how to get started:
- Evaluate your home: Assess it from various viewpoints — like driving by in a car or walking next to it on the sidewalk. Determine what needs attention and what could use a revamp. For example, if you notice missing shingles, that's likely necessary maintenance. On the other hand, painting a worn-out fence isn’t a needed repair but can help boost curb appeal.
- Plan and prioritize: Make a list of what you hope to accomplish, your budget, and timeline. Tackling deferred maintenance should always take priority. Then, focus on what can give your home the most significant gain.
- Contract the work or DIY: Depending on your task list, you may need to involve an expert. Shop around to find someone who can meet your timeline and budget. If it's a DIY, be sure the outcome leaves your home better than when you started.
Consider these simple and easy ideas listed below to add curb appeal to your home.
Curb appeal ideas
Whether you have a large or limited budget, here are some ways to improve your curb appeal:
Landscaping and gardens
Landscaping is usually the most important part of good curb appeal. If you have weeds, dead grass, or unruly flowers, your curb appeal will be limited. If you already have plants, bushes, or shrubs, trim them back until they look even. Remove any major weeds. You may need to cut back some of the plants if they’re overgrown.
Before buying plants, look at your home’s hardiness zone, which will determine what plants can thrive in your yard. Also, consider how sunny the area is; that will determine what kind of plants you should buy. When in doubt, visit a local garden center to get their recommendations. Bring photos of your front yard to show them where you can add plants.
Next, choose a small variety of plants with colors that complement each other instead of just one array of hues to add pops of color. You can also pick large flowering shrubs or trees; pick plants that grow quickly so they will mature faster.
If your home sees little rainfall throughout the year, look for low-maintenance plants that only need a little watering. Xeriscape yards are often popular in drought-ridden areas and are extremely easy to maintain. Additionally, you can:
- Choose native plans, as they're already adapted to the climate.
- Add mulch to your landscape to improve water retention.
- Invest in a smart irrigation controller that can adjust watering schedules based on local weather conditions and soil moisture levels.
Outdoor living spaces
A front porch can be a huge selling point or help your home’s value, but only if it looks like a relaxing and appealing spot. If you have a front porch, upgrading the furniture can turn it from an eyesore to an attraction.
A matching set of Adirondack chairs or a swing set with complimentary pillows can also help it become a relaxing spot to unwind. If you want some privacy or sun protection, you can install outdoor bamboo shades.
You don’t need to add a lot to your porch to make it beautiful, especially if it’s small. Choose complimentary colors that will provide a nice accent to your existing siding, brick, or paint. Keep the porch clean and free from clutter.
If you have more money to spend, upgrading your siding, windows, or roof can increase your home’s aesthetic appeal while also making it more energy-efficient. This can especially help you if you’re trying to sell your home, even more so if other homes in your area tend to have older windows.
Upgrading the walkway might seem trivial, but it can result in a beautiful first impression. You can change the concrete path to brick or stone pavers. If you have steps, adding a wood railing can be a useful and attractive addition.
If you don’t want to paint the whole house a new color, add a different trim color that will make the house look more dynamic. Additionally, you can replace a rusty or old screen door with a new one.
Powerwashing your home, driveway, fence, or porch can immediately improve the appearance. Just make sure that the pressure isn’t too high, or it can damage your home.
You can patch in the cracks of your driveway or sidewalk instead of completely redoing them. Clean the gutters, which may also help with any potential flooding issues.
Removing large sticks and leaves from your flower beds can also help enhance the front yard. Also, trimming large trees so they don’t block the house’s view can help.
Budget-friendly curb appeal ideas
Improving your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. Here are some affordable ways to spruce up your house without busting your budget:
- Painting your front door a bright and popular color can turn your home from drab to fab. Try to pick a hue that works with your existing brick or siding.
- You don’t need to plant award-winning rose bushes to have good curb appeal. Pick a few types of hardy perennials that are native to your area.
- Installing bulb lights on your porch can give it a beautiful glow. You can also buy solar-powered lawn lights that add a dramatic spotlight to your trees.
- Upgrade old hardware like door knobs. If they’re antique, you can also consider using an appropriate cleanser to give them a nice shine.
- If you don’t need to add landscaping, refreshing the mulch can wow any visitor.
- Window boxes are fairly easy to install and can add another splash of landscaping to your home. Adding a trellis is another way to have more landscaping.
- Consider replacing your mailbox and house numbers if they’re outdated. Choose a font that fits the rest of your home’s aesthetic, or that stands out from your neighbors.
- Adding a seasonal wreath on your front door or some potted flowers can also add more color. You can change out the wreath during major holidays.
- If your grass looks dry and sad, consider putting in grass seed and watering it regularly until it takes root. A lush green lawn can be an eye-catcher for potential buyers.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to improve your home’s curb appeal, especially if you’re about to put it on the market. Focus on easy cosmetic fixes, like weeding the front yard, power washing the driveway, and splashing a new coat of paint on the door.
If you’re interested in financing options to boost your curb appeal, consider a Home Equity Investment (HEI) from Point. HEIs provide homeowners with a lump sum of cash in exchange for a share of their home's future appreciation. There are no monthly payments and no restrictions on how you use the funds. Visit Point to find out if you qualify for an HEI.