5 Curb Appeal Tips for 2016

Industry Observer with LawnStarter


By John Egan


It’s impossible not to judge a house by its exterior. Jerry Grodesky ought to know. He’s a 24-year veteran in the residential real estate industry as well as a photographer, so he’s got the know-how and the eye when it comes to a home’s outward appearance.


“Many buyers like to drive by a property to help them decide which to choose. Having a pleasant street-side appearance can make or break showings and can probably alter the home’s sale price by 10 percentage points or more,” says Grodesky, managing broker at Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate in Loda, IL.


To help home sellers and sellers’ agents focus on a home’s “pleasant street-side appearance,” here are five curb appeal recommendations for 2016.


Home exterior

Photo: Flickr


1. Update the Front Door.


A fresh coat of paint can spruce up a ho-hum front door and help make a better first impression when someone is looking at your home. Veronica Solomon, owner and lead designer at Casa Vilora Interiors in Katy, TX, recommends a bold color like red. If you replace the front door altogether, beware that it’ll cost more -- hundreds of dollars more -- than a gallon of paint.


2. Upgrade the Garage Door.


Sarah Schram, brand manager at garage door retailer Wayne Dalton, based in Lewisville, TX, says one of the simplest ways to boost the curb appeal of a home is to upgrade the garage door. Garage doors can represent up to 40 percent of a home’s curb appeal, says Mischel Schonberg, a spokeswoman for Mason, OH-based garage door manufacturer Clopay. Keep in mind that a new garage door easily can cost upwards of $1,500.


3. Lighten up the Exterior.


Outdoor lighting can lend a touch of elegance to the exterior of a home. In addition, it can improve home safety. A 2012 survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that 90 percent of homebuyers graded exterior lighting as an “essential” or “desirable” feature.


4. Spruce Up the Landscaping.


Be sure the front-yard landscaping is in tip-top shape. Focus on fertilizing, flowers, shrubs and plants, while being sure the grass remains trimmed and any weeds are pulled. 


A study by Alex X. Niemiera, a horticulture professor at Virginia Tech, confirms that a well-landscaped home generates more value than a home without good landscaping. The advantage runs between 5.5 percent and 12.7 percent, meaning an added $8,250 to $19,050 for a home valued at $150,000.


5. Place Furniture on the Porch.


Putting a bistro table or a couple of chairs on your porch can cost roughly $800 to $1,200, according to Styleathome.com, but can produce return on investment of 40 percent to 60 percent.


Competitive Edge


Daniel Rinsch, a broker and sales agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Santa Monica, CA, as well as a home appraiser, says curb appeal can help a home stand out, especially in a competitive marketplace.


“Often, in higher-value markets, the way a home looks from the street can be a key consideration of a buyer,” Rinsch says. “For example, if a buyer always dreamed of a white picket fence, the presence of a freshly painted white picket fence can be a draw when compared to homes without. Often these kinds of cosmetic features result in a premium paid due to the demand they create in the market and the potential for multiple offers.”


Susie Cortright, a Realtor and broker associate at RE/MAX Properties of the Summit in Breckenridge, CO, says curb appeal matters even more than ever, as homebuyers are browsing online photos of homes before driving by a property or calling a real estate agent.


“As a Realtor, I see curb appeal making a difference all the time,” Cortright says. “If a buyer’s first impression of the home is negative, it immediately sets the tone for the rest of the showing. It’s only natural that buyers correlate what they find on the outside of the property to what they’ll find on the inside.”


John Egan is editor in chief at LawnStarter.

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Frank Rubi 01/08/2016 10:25 AM
  2. Marte Cliff 01/09/2016 03:18 AM
  3. Winston Heverly 03/02/2016 11:08 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
curb appeal

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Debra B Albert, PA - BEX Realty
BEX Realty Treasure Coast, 34986 - Port St Lucie, FL
Ron and Debbie 772.708.3292

Great Curb Appeal Tips!  The first impression is so important!  Deb

Jan 09, 2016 02:25 AM #23
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

I think the first impression sets an expectation. If it's good - they expect to see more "good" inside - and they do. If it's bad, when they get inside they'll see all the negatives. 

Back when I was an agent I had people who refused to go inside because they didn't like the looks of the outside - and sometimes because they didn't like the neighborhood. Back in those days we (here in the sticks) didn't have all those photos to give us a preview, so sometimes we got a shock when viewing a new listing. 

Jan 09, 2016 03:16 AM #24
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village

That first impression is so very important...and it starts with curb appeal!

Jan 09, 2016 03:31 AM #25
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson - Hudson Valley Homes for Sale

Just a few seconds of time sets up the love affair with any home. Drive up to a mess and you can be sure that the inside won't make the grade.

Jan 09, 2016 04:19 AM #26
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Excellent tips for improving outside appeal!  When I was in the market for a new home, I walked away from two listings without even going inside because of the condition of the exterior.

Jan 09, 2016 04:53 AM #27
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Jake Lane These are very valuable curb appeal tips for 2106.

Jan 09, 2016 12:48 PM #28
Shanna Hall
Real Estate Solutions - Kirkwood, MO
I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311

Jake I did not know the return on 5. Place Furniture on the Porch..  I have always kept a bistro set with another chair on my front porch but that I due to me using them- I love sitting out front and chatting with the neighbors that walk by!

Jan 10, 2016 01:20 AM #29
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton

Dear Jake,

Sounds good.

Jan 10, 2016 12:18 PM #30
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Additionally as important is the adjacent neighbors curb appeal and overall appearance of the neighborhood. Great posst.

Jan 10, 2016 04:04 PM #31
Brenda Corder
Cozy Corders Interiors, LLC - Galloway, WV
Home Stager, Home Staging Professional, Redesigner

As a home stager, I always suggest that my clients do all of these things.  Many times they just can't see the value won't spend the extra money. It's hard for people to understand that to make money sometimes you have to spend money. People who are selling their homes don't want to spend money on them even when you tell them that they will get it back. I totally agree with all your points. You may want to add a couple of things like update house numbers and mail boxes.

Jan 10, 2016 08:51 PM #32
Rochelle Kretchmar
GenEquity Mortgage - Lewisville, TX
Simply Irresistible Staging

I totally agree with your post.  Great Job!  All of these items are on our list when we Stage a Home for sale.  Must have curb appeal - I have been on showings where the buyer wouldn't step foot inside if the home didn't look good outside. 

First Impressions Matter.

Jan 10, 2016 10:09 PM #33
Kelley Ward
Chinowth and Cohen REALTORS - Owasso, OK
Real Estate Professional serving Owasso and More!

Great info. Sharing

Jan 10, 2016 11:37 PM #34
Liane Thomas - Corona & Riverside Real Estate
BROKER Allison James Estates & Homes BRE 01885684 - Corona, CA
Bringing you Home!

I love that all of these ideas can be done on a budget!

Many of my buyers will drive by first, and if the "curb appeal" doesn't wow them, they move on to the next house. 

Jan 11, 2016 12:18 AM #35
Rachel Legg

Great information! Thanks for sharing!

Jan 11, 2016 02:55 AM #36
Josilina Bello
United States - Orlando, FL
With Organized Living Interiors

Great post, it really hits on a number of important topics that a lot of homeowners, and investors alike, tend to overlook. Having a property well-prepared for the impending sale or rental is always important, and simply will go a long way. 


Jan 11, 2016 06:19 AM #37
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

With our drought many people have let the lawns go and are not willing to put a new one in in order to sell.  Any reccomendations?

Jan 11, 2016 11:14 AM #38
Ingrid Pierson
Pierson Real Estate and Investments - Auburn, CA
DRE 00560598 - 800-530-9421

Gene, Here in the Sacramento area folks have been painting their lawns.  There have been a couple of companies that provide that service.  But, with all the rain... let's hope this is a thing of the past.

Jan 11, 2016 11:30 AM #39
Jill Klunk

Great tips. It never ceases to amaze me when a Seller does not keep up the outside of their home when it is on the market. I've already turned down listings because they did not listen to my advise on the curb appeal.

Jan 13, 2016 02:15 AM #40
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

The home has got to look inviting from the outside, not just the house and yard, but the street you have to drive down to get to the home and the neighbors' homes that you have to look at every day. All of this is influencing our brains before we even get to the front door.

Jan 14, 2016 12:41 AM #41
Praful Thakkar
eXp Realty - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Jake Lane furniture in the porch - perhaps a good idea for New Englanders...

Mar 02, 2016 12:45 PM #42
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