Curb Appeal- How Important is it?

Before and After Curb Appeal Shot


We hear about curb appeal from real estate agents all the time. 

But as a potential home seller, have you ever taken the time to understand the impact the initial visual presentation of your home has on the sale?

Ok, so we think about how attractive your home is to potential home buyers from the street.  But, goes much deeper than your home’s visual impact.

What Is Curb Appeal?

Curb Appeal: the visual attractiveness of a house as seen from the street – from Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Curb appeal starts from the moment a homebuyer approaches your home for sale in the car and continues as they walk up the walkway to the front door.

curb appeal sets the tone for a showing


How Important Is Curb Appeal When Selling A House?

Curb Appeal is the first impression a home buyer has of your home.  As they are walking up the walkway to open the front door, the buyer has already formed an opinion of your home before ever looking inside!! 

A homebuyer’s first impression is usually the lasting impression.

Curb appeal will set the entire tone for your home buyers showing.  Do you want potential home buyers walking through your door to start off with a negative impression because of poor curb appeal?  Probably not.

Once they are in the home, where a negative impression has been made, the negativity snowballs, no matter how nice the inside presents.  The home buyer will nitpick everything.

Versus, having a positive first impression of your outstanding curb appeal.  Because they started off with a great impression, they will take any negatives and think they can work with it since they started out with a good feeling, to begin with.

Don’t underestimate the power of curb appeal when selling your home.

Curb Appeal Doesn’t Just Apply To Showings

You are probably just thinking of how curb appeal affects potential buyers when they arrive for a showing.   But curb appeal starts even before the buyer shows up to view your home in person.

The Drive-By Buyers

Many buyers do a drive-by of a home they are interested in prior to scheduling a showing.  Remember, if they are driving by your newly listed home, they have an interest.  They have taken the time to jump in their car and give it a quick once over.

What will they see?

If they like what they see they call their agent and schedule a showing, if they don’t, they will skip over your home and move on to the next.

To give you an idea of how many buyers do drive-bys, I had a client recently sitting in his front office on a Saturday afternoon.  He counted no less than 25 cars stopping to view the home from the street in a several-hour period.  Don’t underestimate the drive-by buyers.  They are very serious buyers.

Online Visual Appeal

Curb appeal starts before a buyer visits your home in person. It is just as important for your online presence…. I call it online curb appeal web appeal

If your house has good curb appeal from the street that will also translate to how it shows online.  Almost every home starts with a beauty shot of the front of the home on the web. 

If the beauty photo is taken so it’s pleasing and shows how attractive your home is, it will increase the number of showings you will get.

Curb Appeal On A Budget

Curb appeal is always about spending a ton of money. Here are 8 budget-friendly curb appeal ideas to increase your home’s visual presentation.  Oftentimes you don’t need to spend a lot of money preparing your home, a little time and elbow grease can go a long way.

Clean your gutters- 

Overflowing filthy gutters don’t create a good impression and can create water penetration issues.

Pressure wash your walkways and driveway-

And don’t forget your siding and any decks.  Sparkling clean goes a long way in impressing buyers.

Clean your windows- 

It makes a huge impression on buyers and makes them think you’ve taken great care of your home.

Trim trees and bushes that are close to your home- 

The small things often make the biggest impressions.  Don’t let your landscaping look unruly and unkempt.

Mow your lawn-

Even if it is the dead of winter having a nicely mowed lawn looks good to potential buyers.

Rake your leaves-

This really is a big deal. A well-raked yard simply looks better than a yard full of leaves.

Make sure there is no litter and that all tools and equipment and play equipment are put away

You are not selling your stuff.  Show off what actually comes with the purchase of your home.

Freshen up paint or stain on stairs, decks and doorways-

If you spend any money preparing your home for sale, fresh paint is one home improvement that gives you the most bang for the buck.

Other Curb Appeal Ideas To Consider

Replace Fixtures-

Consider freshening up door handles lighting fixtures and railings with either a coat of paint or modernizing with new fixtures.

Highlight Your Front Porch-

If you have a front porch bring in some seating and show it off as some additional outdoor living space.

Install Lighting- 

If your outdoor lighting is poor, consider installing solar-powered walkway lighting to lighten up the path to your house.

Use Potted Plants- 

Maybe you have neglected some gardening over the years.  Consider bringing in potted plants to create little vignettes around your door or front steps.

Replace Your Mailbox- 

Your mailbox can make a big statement.  Is it old and tired?  Could you stand to replace the post and box with a more upscale look?

Refresh Your Gardens- 

Make sure your gardens are looking great.  You may need to do some pruning and add some new plants.  And, definitely add a fresh bed of bark mulch.

Patch and Repair Driveway- 

The driveway is your buyer’s first approach to the house.  Consider patching and repairing any holes and cracks.  A nice new seal coat can also increase curb appeal.

Walkway in Good Repair- 

Make sure your walkway is in good repair and is not a tripping hazard.  It creates a visual line to your house and you don’t want anyone getting hurt!!

Paint Your Grage Door- 

Many homes have front-facing garage doors and are a huge visual for your home as viewed from the street.  Consider painting or replacing your garage door.

Add Foundation Plantings- 

A home, as it sits, on is the foundation is pretty unappealing.  Soften your home’s visual from the street and depth with foundation plantings.

Add A Tree-

A tree or picket fence adds visual depth to your property.  Consider adding a tree or a fence.

Create better curb appeal with outdoor living space
Create some outdoor living space to increase the appeal of your home.

Landscaping For Curb Appeal

Often the thought to sell a home begins 6 months to a year before you actually list your home.  And when it comes to curb appeal a nice, thick green lawn can add tons of appeal.

If you are months or even a season or two away from listing your home, jump on your tired lawn immediately and other landscaping elements in your front yard.  Good aeration and overseeding in the fall can help create a fresh, new lawn for spring in any New England home.

If you lack landscaping in general, consider adding some foundation plantings and/or garden beds to increase your curb appeal with landscaping.

A green lawn creates good curb appeal.  Comparison of burned out lawn and green lawn

Discuss With Your REALTOR

If money was no object you could spend 10’s of thousands of dollars increasing your home’s curb appeal.  But often that isn’t the case.

Discuss with your agent, or better yet your home stager what improvements will have the biggest impact on your home’s visual appeal from the street.  Sometimes the smallest changes can have huge payoffs when selling your home.

Bring your agent in at the first thought of selling.  I often find home sellers focusing on the wrong things and creating more work for themselves (and spending more money than they need to).

An experienced listing agent knows what will grab a buyer’s attention and what is a waste of time and money.

Other Real Estate Resources:


Don’t underestimate the power of curb appeal of your home when it comes to selling your home. 

Start from the street and approach your home the way a buyer would. 

How does it look? Are there things you can do to increase the curb appeal? It really boils down to common sense.  If something doesn’t look good to you, your home buyers will feel the same way.


This post, Curb Appeal- How important is it for Massachusetts Home Sellers? was provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Realty.  Kevin can be reached at anytime by 978-360-0422 or by email at kevin@kevinvitali.com

If you are thinking of buying or selling Real Estate in Massachusetts, contact Kevin for your free consultation.  Make your next real estate transaction a smooth transaction.

Serving the Real Estate needs of Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest including the following communities and the surrounding areas, Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland,  Haverhill, Lowell, Merrimac, Methuen, North Andover, North Reading, Reading,  Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford