Find An Agent

Looks mean a lot. The front of your house, the view from the street, can make or break a buyer’s initial interest. If they don’t like what they see at an immediate glance, they might not be into the idea of looking beneath the surface. This becomes especially true if they have many different homes to go through.

A good first impression is paramount. Reel buyers in with an impressive display that implies care and proper maintenance. Something that screams: “We know what we’re doing, and we look good while doing it!”

There are many ways to improve the curb appeal of your home and these ways can differ based on where you’re located. However, there are changes you can make and repairs you can conduct that will increase appeal no matter where you are and aren’t at all dependent on local traditions, aesthetics, or homeowner association regulations.

Everything As It Should Be, Not As It Was

After living somewhere for a few years, you might let a few things go. The gutters will droop or clog, the window frames will start chipping or falling off, and the front door might be losing its color. These are all forgivable if you’re living in the house with no intention of leaving, but less so if you’re trying to sell.

The very first task to embark upon is to bring everything back to the quality you’d expect if you were buying the home yourself. This includes doors, gutters, windows, and any other necessary facet of your exterior that faces the street. Repair window frames, replace windows if they’re damaged or if they use metal (and are thus rusty), make sure eavestroughs aren’t drooping or clogged, and switch out the door with a new one that has better weather seals and a better paint job.

The above changes and repairs would make a significant difference without any drastic costs. Their importance increases as the house features get older. Twenty-year-old windows, for example, should be replaced even if they are in good shape. It might surprise you how much modern windows can improve your home’s insulation. The same rings true of other antiquated features that have gone through several innovation cycles in the meantime.

The Subtleties of New Hardware

There are changes you can make that easily slip your mind. For example, just how visible is your house number? Does it look new? How about the porch light? Are the locks in good condition? You may not think about these things, but people will certainly see them when they’re giving your home a glance over. Making these replacements won’t tell a buyer to buy, but they also won’t tell them to move on. A shoddy fixture or an obscured house number may have consequences, consequences which can be prevented by preemptively addressing the culprit.

These alterations also give you an opportunity. People like theming, and you can use these changes to begin enforcing a specific aesthetic across your home. Polished bronze on your locks, fixtures, and any other vanities will look better than a mix-and-match of various colors and materials that have no consistency.

Lighting, Symmetry, & Landscaping

Many homes have bigger front yards. Some owners choose to keep these basic while others have intricate gardens or some form of landscaping done. Making sure your landscaping is cleaned up is an obvious tip and one you have likely already gotten done. Beyond this, you can install outdoor lighting as it is likely that a potential buyer will also want to look at your home during the night. The lighting will improve the atmosphere of your front facade without being intrusive or requiring excessive labor.

If you don’t have any landscaping done, that’s alright. You can still spruce up your front yard and your entry area with container plants that are positioned symmetrically by the door and with a healthy dose of chaotic placement elsewhere. Greenery and an assortment of flowers can make an average home look far cozier and more lively, while a symmetrical display by the door will draw a buyer’s eyes.

Spruce Up Your Mailbox and Driveway

More distant from your door but just as important, your mailbox and driveway can increase the appeal of your home or take away from it. A gravel driveway with deep tire ruts and a mailbox planted firm with an old, falling-apart log can tell buyers that you’re not concerned with upkeep. It may even end up as a concession when negotiating the price; after all, it’s something that may be deemed essential and thus necessary to fix or change after purchasing for the buyer.

What you do with these can be different depending on your setup. For example, if your driveway is paved, you really need to worry about cracks in the pavement instead of ruts in the gravel. The fixes can be simple if your mailbox and driveway are in good condition. Filling in a crack and repainting the wood or finish will be significantly less of a cost to you than needing to go over the entire driveway or replacing the entire mailbox. For most, you can likely get away with a quick fix without worrying about anything more extensive.

You can keep the lighting and landscaping advice from above in mind with this as well. A driveway may look quite average and unassuming if you call it a day after paving it. This changes if you incorporate some landscaping. Something as simple as some rocks and flowers along the edge can make a buyer’s eyes widen with satisfaction.

Once you’ve gone through and made the front of your house look like a dream come true from the road, it’s time to sell, sell, sell. Clever can list your home and help you get it sold for a flat rate commission that saves you money and keeps your wallet heavy.


Ben Mizes

Ben Mizes is the co-founder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save thousands on commission. He's an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis and a licensed agent in Missouri. Ben enjoys writing about real estate, investing, personal finance, and financial freedom. He's a serial entrepreneur, having run several successful startups before Clever Real Estate. Ben's writing has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Realtor News, CNBC, and BiggerPockets.

See all Ben's Posts

Sell Your Home with a Top Agent and Save Thousands

Learn how you could save thousands when you sell with Clever!