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Curb Appeal

The Ultimate Curb Appeal Guide: Boost Your Home’s Value

real estate business real estate marketing real estate terms Jun 14, 2024

In real estate sales, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Whether you're wholesaling, selling a flip, or brokering a property, that first glimpse potential buyers get when they pull up influences how they perceive the rest of the property. If its exterior does not wow them, they likely won't be thrilled with its interior either. That's why it's essential to work on curb appeal—at least, that’s what the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggests.

According to a recent Remodeling Impact Report, 92% of Realtors usually urge sellers to work on curb appeal before listing to speed up the sale and increase the home’s value. Therefore, it’s only reasonable to assume everyone should learn how to add curb appeal for maximum return on investment (ROI) in real estate investing. As a result, we’ll tell you everything there is to know about curb appeal, starting with the following:

While curb appeal is essential, it's just the tip of the iceberg. Our comprehensive program covers everything you need to know to thrive in today's competitive market. Learn effective strategies for marketing, negotiation, and closing deals. Don't miss out on these valuable insights—enroll now and take your real estate career to the next level! Enroll in our free training program today.

What Is Curb Appeal?

Curb appeal is the level of attractiveness a property's exterior exudes. Simply put, it's how good a property's exterior features (such as landscaping and façade paint) look when viewed from the street. That said, house curb appeal is usually subjective—what may be an appealing exterior to one person may not be to another.

Still, it significantly influences a property's first impression on buyers and its overall real estate value, so you should learn how to improve curb appeal.

curb appeal meaning

Why Is Curb Appeal Important?

Here's why you should prioritize curb appeal whether you're a rehabber or an investor wholesaling houses:

  • First Impressions: Curb appeal sets the tone for how people view the property, especially in this era where 41% of homebuyers begin their home search online. If the exterior is appealing, they assume the inside is equally pleasant and well-maintained, increasing their overall interest in the property.
  • Increased Property Value: A well-kept exterior suggests the rest of the property is well cared for. This reassurance prepares buyers for a higher sale price and makes them more willing to accept it. Additionally, good curb appeal attracts more buyers, creating bidding wars that ultimately allow the seller to increase its sale price.
  • Quicker Sales: Properties with strong curb appeal tend to spend less time in the market because they attract more buyers.
  • Neighborhood Appeal: A series of homes with well-kept exteriors enhance the overall desirability of a neighborhood; this is beneficial for all residents as it makes the area a more pleasant place to live and increases the general fair market value of homes in that neighborhood.
  • Personal Enjoyment: A property with beautiful landscaping, appealing exterior paint, and other well-maintained exterior elements like good lighting make the outdoors more comfortable, usable, and, ultimately, more enjoyable for its owners. In other words, a good curb makes for an inviting outdoor area where owners can peacefully retreat after a bustling day or host friends and neighbors, offering personal satisfaction.
  • Competitive Edge: Homes with a strong curb appeal stand out in a neighborhood and are more noticeable among buyers, granting the owner a leg up over any other individuals who may be selling their homes in the area.
  • Perception: An attractive curb creates the perception of a well-maintained interior; this eases a buyer's worries about potential issues or hidden problems with its overall condition.
  • Energy Efficiency: Updated curb elements such as windows and doors enhance a property's energy efficiency; this reduces utility bills and improves the property's appeal among eco-conscious buyers, thus expanding its target market.
  • Safety & Security: Good lighting, paved pathways and walkways, and well-maintained landscaping eliminate safety hazards that would cause accidents like tripping and falling. Some exterior elements, like good lighting, deter thieves and malicious actors. Therefore, a good curb enhances a property's safety and security.

curb appeal ideas

Best Curb Appeal Ideas With The Highest ROI

While most home improvement projects can improve curb appeal, not every project adds to its market value. So, if you aim to enhance a property's fair market value through exterior design, you must focus on curb appeal projects that offer the best ROI.

That said, here are some curb appeal projects you should absolutely implement to achieve the highest ROI when the time comes to sell:

  • Garage Door Replacement
  • Steel Entry Door Replacement
  • Adding Manufactured Stone Veneer
  • Fiberglass Grand Entrance
  • Vinyl Window Replacements
  • Asphalt Shingle Roof Replacement

As noted, some curb projects offer better value than others. However, that doesn't make the latter worthless. If anything, all curb projects, from minor upgrades to major overhauls, tend to make a property more attractive; this indirectly contributes to its increased market value by drawing more buyer interest and offers, consequently allowing the seller to command higher prices.

Additionally, an attractive curb creates a perception of higher value, making buyers more comfortable paying a premium price tag. Check out this detailed breakdown of how the projects listed earlier enhance a property's value according to Remodeling Magazine's cost vs value 2024 report:

Garage Door Replacement

Replacing a property's garage door increases both its objective and subjective value. A garage door replacement costs approximately $4,513. Although this is a significant upfront cost, it adds about $8,751 to a home's resale value, allowing homeowners to recoup up to 193.9% of the installation expenses.

Beyond this increased objective value, a new garage door drastically improves a property's curb appeal, which attracts more offers and justifies a higher listing price.

Steel Entry Door Replacement

The front door is among the first features people notice when they approach or view a property online. Given its visual and functional significance, upgrading it with a steel entry is one of the best exterior makeover projects a homeowner can embark on.

Steel doors are usually more durable, creating an impression of better property security for prospects. They also come in various styles and finishes, offering a sleek and contemporary look that enhances the property's overall façade and appeal.

Furthermore, steel doors are typically insulated, making the home more attractive to energy-conscious buyers. This combination of increased security, curb appeal, and energy efficiency boosts the home's demand and overall resale value. In fact, replacing a front door with a new steel one has been proven to add about $4,430 to a home's resale value, allowing homeowners to recoup an impressive 188.1% of what they spent on the upgrade.

Adding Manufactured Stone Veneer

Adding manufactured stone veneer is another creative curb appeal project that enhances a home's market value. Upgrading a home's exterior with manufactured stone veneer costs a significant $11,287, adding about $11,054 to its resale value; this allows the property owner to recoup 97.4% of the project's costs when selling the home.

Fiberglass Grand Entrance

A fiberglass grand entrance is an entryway featuring an ornate fiberglass door designed as the focal point of the home's exterior. Replacing a regular door with a fiberglass grand entrance offers significant objective value. Installation typically costs $11,353 but adds about $ 17,291 to the home's market value; this objectively allows the homeowner to recover about 153.2% of the installation costs during resale.

Beyond the enhanced monetary value, a fiberglass entryway is usually customizable with different finishes, glass inserts, and even transoms; this allows owners to achieve an elegant entrance that attracts even more prospects, increasing the property's overall market demand.

Vinyl Window Replacement

Vinyl windows are one of the best upgrades you can add to a home to achieve high returns on investment. They're generally more affordable than other window materials, often costing an average of $21,264 for purchase and installation.

Despite their lower costs, vinyl windows are highly durable and resistant to issues like fading, and they do not require painting or staining. This low-maintenance feature is highly appreciated by home buyers, increasing the home's appeal in the market. Additionally, vinyl windows deliver significant returns in resale value, typically adding about $14,270 to a home's fair market value; this translates to homeowners recouping 67.1% of the original installation and repair costs.

Asphalt Shingle Roof Replacement

The roof is yet another crucial feature of every property's exterior. Replacing it requires homeowners to dig deep into their pockets, but the returns on investment are usually worthwhile. For example, installing a new asphalt shingle roof costs approximately $30,680, but it increases the home's value by $17,461, enabling homeowners to recover over half of the purchase and installation expenses.


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Landscaping For Curb Appeal

Although a home's façade significantly contributes to curb appeal, landscaping is equally crucial. Even with an appealing paint job, good roofing, and quality windows, a property with a neglected front yard is generally unattractive.

However, well-maintained, attractive front yard landscaping adds color and texture to a home's exterior and accentuates its architectural features. It also creates harmony between its façade and environment, creating an inviting exterior.

Moreover, proper landscaping assures buyers seeking additional living space, outdoor enthusiasts, and those who enjoy physical activities have a place for outdoor activities. So, how can you landscape for curb appeal? Here are some curb appeal landscaping ideas:

  • Green Lawns: One of the simplest ways to enhance curb appeal is to invest in a lush green lawn. Ensure regular mowing to maintain a well-manicured and posh appearance that appeals to buyers.
  • Flower Beds & Borders: Thoughtfully designing flower beds and borders can help guide visitors' eyes to the front door, thus making the entrance more inviting.
  • Mulching: Regularly mulch the garden beds to keep the greenery healthy and create a clean, finished look for a property's landscaping.
  • Native Plants: Incorporate native and drought-resistant plants such as succulents to ease maintenance requirements and simultaneously achieve landscape curb appeal
  • Trees & Shrubs: Planting trees and shrubs along the borders is another excellent way to define pathways and walkways. Besides providing structures, trees and shrubs can improve the tranquility of outdoor seating areas by providing shade and adding seasonal interest.
  • Pathways & Walkways: Ensure you incorporate well-designed pathways and walkways into your home's landscaping. They break up large lawn expanses, adding structure and definition to the exterior. They also create a clear, defined route that leads visitors from the street to the front door, providing a welcoming entry experience.
  • Edging& Trimming: Regularly edge and trim garden borders to maintain a polished yard appearance.
  • Outdoor Lighting: Incorporate light fixtures along walkways, pathways, garden beds, and around the entryway to promote easy navigation for residents and visitors. Proper lighting around these areas also eliminates dark spots on the property, deterring potential intruders. When well done, lighting can also help highlight and draw attention to a property's exterior focal points, such as fountains contributing to curb appeal.
  • Water Features: If space allows, integrate water features such as water fountains, koi ponds, and pondless waterfalls into your property's landscaping. These features create movement-enhancing curb appeal by adding visual and auditory interest to the exterior.
  • Container Gardens: For a simpler yet effective landscaping project, add decorative pots and containers filled with vibrant plants around primary outdoor areas, such as entryways, the front porch, patios, and walkways.
  • Rock Gardens: Are you looking to create a low-maintenance landscape on a wholesaling property, or are you a property owner with no time for regular landscaping? Add a rock garden to your property. Rock gardens require less maintenance than traditional ones while adding texture and visual interest to a property's curb.
  • Seasonal Planting: Seasonal gardens require some elbow grease but prove a homeowner's commitment and attention to the property's landscape. This dedication suggests the rest of the property is well-maintained, increasing buyer interest.
  • Garden Fencing: Adding decorative fencing around the garden beds defines the landscape and creates a more organized and polished appearance.
  • Irrigation Systems: Installing an advanced irrigation system, such as a timed sprinkler, allows you to keep your lawn or landscaping plants healthy with minimal effort while conserving water.
  • Ground Covers: Planting ground covers like creeping thyme can help eliminate bare spots and prevent soil erosion, thus keeping a property's landscape healthy and appealing.

How To Increase Curb Appeal On A Budget

Although most exterior improvement projects are labor, time, and money intensive, there are simple and cheap curb appeal projects that will significantly increase a property's attractiveness. Here are some budget-friendly DIY projects to increase curb appeal:

  • Update The Mailbox: Updating the mailbox costs as little as $20 but can significantly increase curb appeal.
  • Replace The House Numbers: Replace house numbers with newer, modern options and ensure they complement the door's design. This project costs as low as $2.00 per number yet significantly accentuates the property's overall appearance.
  • Paint The Front Door: While replacing the door altogether significantly increases curb appeal, it's costly. Thankfully, a fresh paint job achieves the same effect without breaking the bank.
  • Clean & Pressure Wash Surfaces: While it requires effort, power washing exterior walls, deck, and other outdoor surfaces will substantially spruce up the property's appearance without straining your budget.
  • Trim & Prune Plants: Make landscaping maintenance a regular routine. Mowing your lawn, trimming and pruning garden beds, and other foliage keep the home's landscape neat and posh, enhancing curb appeal.
  • Install Window Boxes: Window boxes usually soften the harsh lines typical of most homes' architecture, adding a charming and visually interesting element to their exterior. Plus, you can easily update them with seasonal plants or annuals to keep the property inviting year-round.

Read Also: Real Estate Financing: The 6 Best Funding Options For Investors

Common Curb Appeal Mistakes To Avoid

Not every upgrade enhances curb appeal. Learning the dos and don'ts of curb appeal solutions is the key to ensuring you get it right. That said, check out the common mistakes you should avoid during an exterior makeover project:

  • Personal Decorations: Curb appeal aims to create a positive impression for all. So, avoid personal decorations such as political and religious signs, garden gnomes, and figurines, as they take attention away from the property. Instead, stick to neutral decorations to keep the focus on the house itself and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable.
  • Poor Paint Color Choice: Colors have been proven to impact human psychology. For instance, warm colors stimulate mental activity and energize, while cooler shades evoke a sense of calmness. Therefore, making wise color choices is important when working on curb appeal.
  • Lack Of Lighting: Good lighting contributes to curb appeal by keeping the property visible and attractive at any time of day. It's especially important in winter when the days are shorter and darker. Therefore, ensure you integrate lighting in walkways, garden beds, entryways, and other hardscaping areas on your property to keep it well-illuminated whenever necessary.
  • Ignoring Clutter: Ignoring your overgrown lawn and leaving your landscaping tools or tangled hoses in front of the house takes away from the property's curb appeal.

creative curb appeal

Curb Appeal FAQs

The most common question about exterior design is, “What is curb appeal?” However, it’s not the only one that pops up. Check out other frequently asked questions about curb appeal real estate, along with their answers:

How much value does curb appeal add?

Curb appeal adds incredible objective value to a property. A recent National Association of Realtors report on the impact of remodeling shows that a standard lawn care upgrade allows property owners to recoup 217% of the project's expenses. A landscape maintenance project will enable homeowners to recoup 104% of the cost while improving landscape lighting recoups 59% of the cost.

Besides objective value, working on a property's curb enhances its subjective value by increasing its perceived value among the target market; this usually attracts more buyers and better offers.

How important is curb appeal when selling a home?

Curb appeal ranks among the top factors that influence homebuyers' buying decisions. It's usually the first feature that potential buyers encounter when they first see a home, whether online or in person. As a result, a lackluster exterior causes them to develop a negative attitude towards the rest of the property; this is even more detrimental if they view the property online (which most buyers do nowadays) because it means they will likely ignore the listing.

Simply put, curb appeal is incredibly important when selling a home. In fact, a study by the University of Texas shows it accounts for up to 7% of a home's value.

What are the best plants for enhancing curb appeal?

Perennial shrubs and grasses such as Empire yeti spiraea and gardenias are some of the best plants for enhancing curb appeal. They are beautiful, drought-resistant, and grow year-round, meaning they can keep your home's exterior aesthetically pleasing even during harsh winter weather.

Being drought-resistant also means they are low-maintenance, making things easy for you. Low-maintenance and regional plants are usually the best options for enhancing curb appeal.

Final Thoughts On Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the first impression your property makes on potential buyers, significantly impacting their interest and perception. It's a blend of aesthetics, maintenance, and landscaping that invites buyers to explore further. Prioritizing curb appeal can lead to faster sales and higher offers, making it an essential aspect of real estate investing. However, it's only a fraction of the selling process. To truly capitalize on today’s market opportunities, understanding the full spectrum of home-selling strategies is crucial.

Maximize your investment potential with Real Estate Skills' free training program! Curb appeal is crucial, but there's so much more to learn about selling properties effectively. Our comprehensive training covers every aspect, from marketing to negotiation, giving you the tools to succeed in today's market. Don't miss out on these invaluable insights—enroll today and take your real estate expertise to the next level!


*Disclosure: Real Estate Skills is not a law firm, and the information contained here does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before making any legal conclusions. The information presented here is educational in nature. All investments involve risks, and the past performance of an investment, industry, sector, and/or market does not guarantee future returns or results. Investors are responsible for any investment decision they make. Such decisions should be based on an evaluation of their financial situation, investment objectives, risk tolerance, and liquidity needs.


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