How Does Curb Appeal Affect a Home Sale?

Real Estate Agent with The Buyers' Counsel

Curb AppealHow Does Curb Appeal Affect a Home Sale? 

I have been asked by a number of clients what the meaning of the phrase "not a drive-by" is on a listing sheet.  Explanation: The home does not look good from the street, or it has no curb appeal. 

What exactly is curb appeal? 

Curb appeal describes the actual attractiveness of the exterior of a home.  And, currently it is a science that is the subject of numerous television programs instructing homeowners on how to create and improve it. 

When a home has a well-landscaped yard with bushes, plants, trees and flowers it greatly enhances its curb appeal.  There is a reason why gardening and landscaping are big business and they are directly connected with home maintenance as well as home sales. 

Typically, the first impression a home makes is crucial to its resale value. If the house does not look good from the street, most buyers will just keep driving. 

But, curb appeal is not just about plants and flowers. There are a number of items that can improve the initial impression of a home: 

  • Kill the mold and mildew on the sidewalks, roof and driveway.
  • Pressure wash the exterior and wash the windows.
  • Mow the lawn and get rid of any weeds.
  • Trim tree limbs that may be touching the house.
  • Strategically install landscape lighting and a lamp post.
  • Put in a decorative sign with your home's address on it.
  • Paint the exterior and trim.
  • Install an attractive and eye catching front door.
  • Buy a new mailbox.
  • Roll out a fresh welcome mat.

The home selling environment right now is not an easy one and first impressions can be everything.  Creating perfect curb appeal is not only important but it can be a critical factor in getting noticed right now and it is a crucial to getting those buyers to actually come into the house and not simply - drive-by.


Copyright 2010 "How Does Curb Appeal Affect a Home Sale? "

Written by

Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, The Buyers' Counsel - (508) 881-6230

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Comments (16)

Richard Shuman
The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts - Lake Mary, FL
Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals

Great Photo - Even with a cheap foreclosure or short sale - the Curb Appreal makes a huge difference!


Sep 18, 2010 05:41 AM
Tammy Pearce
Haute Realty 214-994-6474 - Dallas, TX
Tammy Pearce

With evermore competitive pricing, it absolutely makes a difference!

Sep 18, 2010 05:46 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

The photo adds to your presentation.  'It looks great from the street' is the phrase you are always looking for.

Sep 18, 2010 05:48 AM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Good list, and a very appealing photo...makes me want to walk right in!

Sep 18, 2010 06:01 AM
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

A first impression can make all the difference in the world. A new front door is a great idea, especially since buyers initially stand right outside that area for a minute or so while the agent gets the key. Their eyes are looking around and will pick up even the slightest defect, such as peeling paint on the door.  Making sure the door is easy to open is also a good idea. Thanks for the post.

Sep 18, 2010 06:08 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


Isn't it nice? I wish I had taken it. It is from the photo service I subscribe to.

It would be tougher on a foreclosure home to spruce up the exterior but if someone can front the money to do at least a little work I think it would certainly help the sale.


We have to try to do everything over and above these days.


"Looks great from the street" certainly beats "not a drive-by." I always know that means trouble.

Dan and Amy:

I also like the idea of a nice door and entry. You are right, they are standing out there for a while (while we are fumbling with the lockbox.)  It needs to make a good first impression.



Sep 18, 2010 06:23 AM
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

I glad I'm not trying to sell my home and will worry when I do, my neighbors place is dreadful and you have to pass by it to get to my house down a very long driveway.

Sep 18, 2010 06:41 AM
Tony & Darcy Cannon
Aubrey and Associates Realty - Layton, UT
The C Team

Claudette, Curb appeal is very important, it is the valuable first impression!  I have had clients decide not even get out of the car at some houses that have had bad curb appeal!

Sep 18, 2010 06:50 AM
Gerry Michaels
Glasswork Media Arts - Gettysburg, PA
GettysburgGerry Social Meida

Great points Claudette, one thing to remember is to never pressure wash a wooden porch or deck, it takes all the preserving elements out of the wood and it will rot. Just a small tip....

Sep 18, 2010 07:46 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


Ouch! That is going to hurt the sale your home. I recently had a client actually love a house that I showed her but when she took a close look at the neighbor's yard and home's exterior she completely passed on it.

Maybe your neighbor will move before you decide to sell.


Absolutely - that's why I insist that "someone" does a drive-by before setting up an appointment. Whether it is the buyer or me, we need to find out what the exterior actually looks like since it will not be completely represented in the listing if it is poor.


That is a useful tip. So many people do not know how to care for their decks and I see the rotted wood all of the time. Frequently, it is even on fairly new homes.  The wood will not last if it is not cared for properly.  Thanks.



Sep 18, 2010 09:06 AM
Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

Claudette - You nailed it in the last paragraph. first impressions can be everything. When I have a client that says lets move on I listen. Unless we have made an appointment and the owner or agent is there we drive right by

Sep 18, 2010 12:19 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


Exactly, you can't be rude to a listing broker who is waiting for you.  But an empty home that just looks bad, why not simply drive on...


Sep 18, 2010 12:34 PM
Scott Hayes
(512) 786-8300 - Austin, TX
Realty Austin, Broker Associate

Claudette- Agreed. This is so important. Curb appeal doesn't just happen on the drive up, but in the photos and virtual tour. 

Sep 19, 2010 01:40 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


With a little photographic talent, we should be able to capture the fact that the home actually has some curb appeal.


Sep 19, 2010 03:28 PM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Claudette, perfect!!!   You can't sell that house if you can't get them past the front door.

Sep 20, 2010 10:31 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


Yes - we have to get them into the house or nothing is going to happen.  And, that means making sure that the outside looks inviting.


Sep 20, 2010 11:54 AM