Curb appeal is important to buyers – and it’s also important to your neighbors. Both groups are forming first impressions about the type of homeowner you are, based on your home’s exterior. And for good reason, since your home’s curb appeal can affect the entire neighborhood.
“Curb appeal is the first-impression that buyers get of their potential new home, and this impression informs buyers to start making assumptions about the interior maintenance and even the price of a home,” explains Steve Schwab, founder/CEO of Casago in Scottsdale, Arizona. When you invest time and money into maximizing curb appeal by enhancing the exterior and landscaping, he says you will generate interest that leads to ultimately closing a deal.
And a recent report by Nextdoor and Thumbtack found that curb appeal also affects the neighborhood and neighborly relationships, and the report also reveals which curb appeal projects have the best impact.
The Importance of Curb Appeal
Curb appeal contributes to the creation of a beautiful home, but does more than that. Caty Kobe, head of community at Nextdoor, tells us that curb appeal can play a helpful role in fostering a positive and united community. “And it can help kindle a sense of pride and care among neighbors, and leave a lasting impression on visitors.”
However, she warns that there’s no one-size-fits-all type of curb appeal since every neighborhood has its own unique charm and characteristics. “Curb appeal preferences can vary based on location and the target market,” Kobe says.
One thing is clear: curb appeal certainly makes a difference. “Our survey reveals that 54% of homeowners say a street’s curb appeal impacted their decision to buy their home, and 84% plan to invest in their home’s curb appeal this year,” Kobe says.
In addition, she notes that your neighbors are indeed paying attention to your curb appeal or lack thereof. Another finding: “94% say it is important to have neighbors who maintain good curb appeal, and 71% say having terrible curb appeal would impact their relationship with a neighbor in at least one major way.”
The Best Curb Appeal Ideas
Fortunately, the best curb appeal ideas are available for both small and large budgets. “Simple things like clearing the front of a home of overgrown plants or debris, or updating aging light fixtures and street numbers can convey a sense of pride and commitment to the neighborhood,” Kobe says.
For homeowners what want to make a bigger investment, these were the most impactful projects listed by homeowners.
The survey reveals that 82% of homeowners ranked landscaping as the curb appeal project with the biggest bang for the buck. Alison Victoria, interior designer and host of HGTV’s Windy City Rehab, tells us that landscaping your front yard is a great way to add instant curb appeal.
“Spruce up your front yard with some much-needed greenery that reflects your home’s unique style,” she says. “Pots and hanging planters are the perfect addition to create an eye-catching entryway, or you can go the extra mile and incorporate large feature plants and gardens throughout the yard.” And if your home is already full of plant-life, she recommends touching up the yard with a fresh mow cut, hedge trim, or a new layer of mulch.
Painting the Exterior
The survey also reveals that 78% of homeowners felt that painting the home’s exterior is a key to good curb appeal. This is no surprise to Samuel Jung, realtor with Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican in Crestview, Florida, who believes that the homebuying process is an emotional experience. He says he’s often had potential buyers look at a home’s exterior and remark that it looks pretty, peaceful, and nice – and it feels like home. “The attractiveness of a home definitely plays into the decision-making process of many, if not all, homebuyers.”
Fortunately, it’s not an expensive or an extensive process to paint the home’s exterior. “In my experience, the most simple and cost-effective way to make a huge difference in curb appeal is to add a fresh new coat of door paint and pair it with a complimentary hardware finish,” says Victoria. “I love mixing earth and gold tones to create a warm and welcoming aesthetic or using matte black hardware to create a striking contrast to complete a classic look.”
A Well-Kept Lawn
In third place, 73% of surveyed homeowners thought a well-kept lawn was an important part of good curb appeal. “It’s not surprising that a well-kept lawn is a priority since lawn maintenance plays a central role curb appeal – as much as we hate to admit it, we often judge a book by its cover,” says Jung.
In fact, he tells us that homes with high curb appeal sell for 7% more compared to ugly homes, and in a hot housing market, they can sell for two weeks faster. “It’s about the perceived home value, and a well-kept lawn (along with proper landscaping) can contribute to a home’s value by up to 20%.”
In fourth place, 68% of respondents felt that beautiful windows were crucial to good curb appeal. Some homeowners overlook windows when upgrading the home’s exterior, but this is a mistake. “Potential buyers can make decisions within seconds of seeing a home with beautiful windows are a significant contributor to curb appeal and can create that positive first impression you want,” Jung explains. On the other hand, if you have dilapidated windows, this could create the impression of other problems. “The fear of hidden repairs/maintenance costs can be a huge obstacle for homebuyers and visible upkeep can help reduce that fear,” Jung says.
While it was not on the list, Victoria believes that illuminating your home with outdoor lighting should not be overlooked. “Outdoor landscape lighting significantly boosts your home’s curb appeal, while simultaneously increasing security and safety,” she says. “This can come in the form of solar-powered pathway, overhead, or wall-mount lighting.” And if you already have outdoor lighting installed, she recommends sprucing it up with a quick dust or bulb replacement.”