Curb appeal is your first, and sometimes only, shot to make a potential buyer fall in love with your house.
“First impressions are everything,” says Kathleen Caponigro, top real estate agent in the Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania. “If a home has bad curb appeal—I’ve had buyers who refused to even go beyond the walkway. It gives an impression of what to expect inside.”
99% of real estate agents feel the same way: your curb appeal needs a refresh before you sell your home, or you risk lowball offers and losing the sale altogether. We’ll dive into 14 quick and easy curb appeal ideas so simple you can implement them right now. You home sale is on the line, so let’s get started!
Don’t Start Any Projects You Can’t Finish
Have you ever started a craft or home project and never finished it? We’ve all done it, but here’s a quick reminder: none of your curb appeal projects should go unfinished. Make sure you see through anything you start.
Unfinished curb appeal projects may make buyers think that you’ve neglected other important home maintenance, even if you haven’t.
Curb appeal affects your home sale from the minute your real estate agent puts your listing online. Caponigro shared, “If the pictures are not attractive, people are not going to call to see the listing…maximize the first impression in print and in person before you even do the listing.”
Caponigro also suggests, “Painting the front door or the trim, adding some flowers to the front porch—just something to make it more inviting.” Let’s dive into exactly how to make Caponigro’s curb appeal tips a reality for your home.
1. Pressure Wash the Exterior
If you’re currently crunching numbers on a new coat of paint for the house you’re about to sell, stop right now. Repainting your entire home will take days, endless coordinating, and cost a few thousand dollars. Unless your paint is flaking or peeling off quite a bit, chances are you don’t need an entire new paint job.
Power washing the home will remove all of the grime that’s caked onto the paint over the years. The home will look fresh, clean, and photo-ready. The best part? You can rent a pressure washer from your local Home Depot for under $50 and DIY the job.
Just know that the pressure washer is a powerful tool that, if used incorrectly, can cause cosmetic damage or even structural issues to your home. If you have fragile surfaces on the outside of your house like wood or stucco, make sure you get a wide-angled nozzle. Consumer Reports recommends a 40° angle or a low-pressure nozzle, and advises that you keep the sprayer at least 6-inches away from the surface you’re cleaning.
Not into power tools? Search for reputable pressure washing companies nearby on Yelp or Angie’s List. You’ll pay a little more: these services can cost anywhere between $100-$300, but you won’t have to lift a finger.
For more on cleaning up the outside of your house, check out our guide to making your home exterior sparkle.
2. DIY Your Front Landscaping
Landscaping your front yard can be quick and easy, as long as you keep it simple.
Pick a couple of easy to grow, hardy plants to plant at the base of your house and throughout your front yard. One popular option is the butterfly bush. Home Depot has a great garden section, and you can also visit your local nursery and pick up in-season plants flowers and shrubs.
Decomposed granite, river rocks, and bark are great grass alternatives, especially if you know you live in an area (like California) where keeping a lawn green is nearly impossible.
For a better visual, take a look at this video from HGTV’s Property Brothers:
Jonathan and Drew used decomposed granite and river rocks to create a clean front landscape, and then spliced in shrubs throughout for pops of color and texture. The whole project should only take a couple of hours, and you’ll have a gorgeous front yard when you’re all done!
3. Give Your Front Door a Fresh Coat of Paint
No buyer wants to walk up to a faded, dirty, broken, or chipped front door—especially the front door of a home they’re thinking about buying. You can bank on buyers spending a few lingering minutes on your front step while the real estate agent finagles the lockbox, too. Making a good impression in those first moments is critical.
That’s why a front door refresh is a must, unless you recently refinished or re-painted.
You can have a little fun with the color selection. Paint it robin’s egg, turquoise, pumpkin, lilac, buttercup—your front door can be any color you dream up. Having a whimsical front door brings attention to your home without overpowering potential buyers.
There is a science behind mixing and matching colors that you’ll want to heed when selecting a shade for your front door. Pick a color scheme that’s either monochromatic, analogous, contrasting or complementary using the color wheel. Also consider what vibe you’re going for—traditional, playful, dramatic?
When picking your sheen, a gloss finish is ideal for exterior doors. You’ll get that extra shine and it will be easy to clean.
If you have a natural wood front door, make sure to give it a spruce with a product like Restor-A-Finish. This product will revive the finish of the door and brighten the natural wood.
4. Replace Front Door Hardware
If you still feel like your front door needs a little oomph after its paint job or wood refresh, you can purchase new front door hardware and replace it yourself.
This thorough guide from Schlage, a trusted lock and hardware manufacturer that’s been around since 1920, will walk you through picking a handleset finish based on your brand-new front door color!
- Light-blue doors pair with bright chrome or satin chrome
- Dark-blue doors pair with satin brass or satin nickel
- Light-green doors pair with matte black
- Dark-green doors pair with satin brass
- Dark-aqua doors pair with polished nickel
- Light-aqua doors pair with matte black
- Yellow doors pair with polished nickel
- Orange doors pair with aged bronze
- Bright-red doors pair with matte black
- Dark-red doors pair with aged bronze
- Light-gray doors pair with polished nickel
- Dark-gray doors pair with bright chrome
- Light-black doors pair with satin brass
- Dark-black doors pair with matte black
You can buy a new handleset for under $100.
5. Install New House Numbers
Sleek, bright house humbers are to a house like new knobs are to your kitchen cabinets. They instantly make your home feel more modern, inviting, and refreshed. This small change can, believe it or not, make a big difference for buyers.
Make sure you pick something like the numbers in the above image—the numbers should be modern, shiny, and big, so that potential buyers can easily spot your home. The “Frank Lloyd Wright Collection” at Home Depot can be mounted flush or floating. Go with floating numbers for a modern and trendy look.
If you’re stuck on color or finish, go with silver, or match your numbers to your hardware.
6. Make Your Front Walkway Pop
If you have a front walkway, you should make it look fantastic. Buyers will notice neglected cobblestones or pavement. You want them to instead see bright flowers and a clean, well-thought-out path up to the front door.
Three tasks that will just take one afternoon of yard work will do the trick:
- Pull all weeds that have grown in cracks or next to your front pathway
- Choose grass, decomposed granite, gravel, or river rocks to line the pathway
- Plant shrubs and in-season plants with bright-colored flowers
- Perennials that come back every year, like the black-eyed Susan and daylily
- Annuals that will bloom all summer, such as impatiens and petunias
- Herbs that also produce a pleasant aroma, for example, chives and lavender
7. Create a Succulent Garden
If you don’t have the time to keep up a grass lawn or your front yard is already dead, then creating a succulent garden is the perfect solution for you.
Nothing is more in style right now than succulent gardens, and it just so happens that they’re extremely easy to maintain. Succulents and cacti are a great curb appeal choice because they give great texture and color to any space, and you won’t have to worry about them dying if you don’t have a ton of time or cash to devote to the project.
- Shovel, gloves
- Several different varieties of succulents
- Decomposed granite or small rocks
Once you get your succulents home, make sure to test the drainage of your soil. A good rule of thumb is that if you dig a 1-foot hole and fill it to the brim, it should drain in half an hour. If the water does not drain, then just pick up a bag of sand at your local Home Depot and mix the sand with the first 3 inches of soil.
Now, plant your succulents! You’ll finish off the job by pouring rocks or decomposed granite around them to unify and finish off the space.
8. Get New Exterior Lights
Rusted, old, dated, cobwebby lights, or modern, sleek, trendy lights that give off a warm glow—you choose.
Your exterior lights set the tone for the outside of your home, and they can also make a positive impact on how well your house shows in listing photos.
Make sure any new lights you choose match and give off a bright, warm light. The lights should also go well with the aesthetic of your home. If you’re unsure of what to buy, just choose a simple outdoor wall sconce like this one.
9. Add Charming Window Boxes
Window boxes are cute, trendy, and will really pull together your home’s exterior. This quick and easy curb appeal trick will only take you a few hours and will add a major amount of charm to your home.
You can buy a pre-made window box, or make your own. A simple teak, cedar, or white box—depending on the color of your home—will work best. Make sure the window box you choose comes with mounting materials so that you can easily screw the box in under your front windowsill.
Just as in the above video, you’ll want to hang your window box before planting it. Then, it’s up to you what you plant! Bright-colored flowers always work well, as do succulents.
If you’re planting succulents, make sure the planter has drainage holes at the bottom or that you fill the bottom with a porous lava rock to absorb moisture
10. Polish Up Any Hardware
Don’t forget to polish up any front door hardware. This quick change will make your front door sparkle, and only costs you a few minutes.
You can DIY a metal polish for your mailbox, door knocker, doorbell, and door knob/handle in just a few easy steps.
All you’ll need is 1 tablespoon each of flour, salt, and white vinegar. Mix the salt and flour well. Then, add the vinegar. This should create a thick substance that you can rub on your brass, copper, pewter, or bronze hardware. Once the paste has dried for an hour, use warm water and a towel to clean it off. Voila!
11. Put Planters on Either Side of Your Front Door
You need your front door to be welcoming. If it’s not, buyers will not be excited to enter your house, and it will make it much harder for your home to make a good impression.
In the above video, Lowes taught us that creating a welcoming front door only takes three simple steps.
- Go out and buy planters: choose neutral colors. Buy 1 large planter for one side of the door, and 3 small planters of varying sizes for the other side.
- Find colorful, tall bushes or flowers to plant at your local nursery or garden center.
- Arrange the planters so that three are on the left side of the door and the largest is on the right.
You’re all done!
12. Hang a Wreath
Adding a wreath or small vase of flowers to your front door is a quick and easy way to greet buyers as they walk in. A wreath immediately adds color and decor to any front door, and that extra touch will go a long way helping buyers feel at home.
13. Create a Picture-Perfect Front Porch
If you have a front porch, make sure to accessorize with bright chairs and cushions, a wooden bench and outdoor rug, potted plants, and a cute side table or two. Be sure to check out the above video for some great visuals of how to organize all of your new front porch decor!
If you don’t want to pioneer your front porch design, just go with a simple table and chair set and place a beautiful bouquet of flowers on the table. Done!
14. Choose a Welcoming Doormat
A simple, friendly doormat is key to your front porch aesthetic. Buyers who see a gross, old doormat may wonder why you didn’t make the quick switch, and could be off put before they even enter your home.
Pick up a clean, simple doormat that greets buyers before they even set foot in your home.
Quick and Easy Curb Appeal Hacks: That’s a Wrap!
These quick and easy curb appeal tips are meant to make your house shine even more than it does now. Before starting on any of these tricks, make sure that you don’t have any outstanding issues or maintenance that would not pass a home inspection.
You should absolutely address anything pressing (like peeling paint, cracks anywhere in the foundation or front walk and drive way, etc.) before starting on your curb appeal beautification.
For more details check in with a top real estate agent in your neck of the woods to see what works best for your house.