How to Improve Curb Appeal Before Putting Your Home Up for Sale

Home buyers who work on their home's curb appeal before putting their house up for sale may get better offers. These tips will help buyers improve curb appeal.

How to Improve Curb Appeal Before Putting Your Home Up for Sale Close
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How to Improve Curb Appeal Before Putting Your Home Up for Sale

Posted by Gary Ashton on Friday, August 31st, 2018 at 10:25am.

So, it's time to sell your Nashville home, but you've heard you need to add curb appeal to get the most out of your sale. Appearances are everything when it comes to making a first impression, and homes with good curb appeal can sell for more than homes without. But, what is curb appeal? Simply put, curb appeal is how a home looks from the street or "curb" when potential buyers drive by.

Improving a home's curb appeal is one of the ways that homeowners can make their home more competitive when they put it up for sale. Without it, a property can take longer to sell and may even sell for less money. Even if you live in a hot real estate market like Franklin, maintenance, curb appeal and a well tended garden or green space can make your home stand out and give you an edge. Often the most effective way to boost curb appeal is by performing regular maintenance that many homeowners allow to fall by the wayside. Here are some curb appeal ideas to help your home look its best.

Clean the Home Exterior

Houses can become dirty over time, and not cleaning before selling can be a mistake. This is especially true in homes with automatic sprinklers, which can kick up mud around the base of the house near the garden beds. To return your home to its original beauty, spray down the outside of the house with a strong jet of water from a hose. Use a long-handled scrub brush and mild soapy water to scrub the outside of the house, then rinse. If the siding has mold or mildew, use a mixture of water and oxygenated bleach to clean the house. If you must use chlorinated bleach to clean the house, cover your landscaping with a tarp first. Pressure washing pathways or fences may be necessary as well.

Touch Up Paint

Bare patches in the paint on the house can increase buyer concerns about dry rot and other problems. Touching up bare patches on the siding can reduce these concerns. To do this, sand down bare areas, wipe away the saw dust, then use touch up paint to cover the bare patches. If paint looks worn or faded, consider repainting the exterior to give it a fresh, updated look. For those looking to improve curb appeal on a budget, painting is a high ROI and relatively low cost activity to consider.

Make the Lawn Healthy

Lush, green, healthy grass are crucial to curb appeal and can signal to buyers that the homeowner prioritizes the maintenance and care of the home. Homeowners who want to improve their curb appeal and the overall health of their lawn in a short period of time can do the following:

  • Establish a regular watering schedule. Water the lawn deeply two times per week.
  • To cut back on evaporation, do this in the evening or in the early morning before the sun rises.
  • Fertilize the lawn with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Follow instructions carefully to avoid burning the roots.
  • Cut the lawn once each week. Waiting a long time in between cuttings means there will be more grass to cut each time the grass is mowed. Cutting the lawn frequently reduces the proportion of the grass that needs to be cut, thus reducing trauma to the grass.
  • Keep pets off the lawn. Pets have a way of digging at the grass and tearing up the lawn. Keeping pets off the lawn gives the grass a chance to rest and heal.

Homeowners getting ready to sell might find it difficult to keep up with a regular lawn care regimen. If this is the case, hire a gardening service to cut the lawn, rake up leaves, dispose of debris and other regular maintenance.

Upgrade Exterior Lighting

The lighting around the exterior of your home will be important to buyers for multiple reasons. Why spend time implementing different curb appeal ideas if buyers can't see them at all times of the day? Buyers concerned with safety like to see lights that keep pathways and exterior staircases well-illuminated. This can be especially important for older buyers who are at greater risk of falling. Lights can also prevent unwanted intruders from lurking around your property, while making your home easier to find. A quality light fixture above the front door is always a nice touch.

When upgrading your exterior lighting, follow these tips:

  • Make your Nashville home look welcoming. Illuminate pathways leading to your home and your front door.
  • Stick to soft, gentle lighting. Bright security lighting can give the impression that your neighborhood is unsafe.
  • Work with a certified electrician to ensure that the installation is completed properly. Building code violations can limit which buyers are able to purchase your home, as some lenders will not approve loans for properties that are not considered move-in ready.

Clear Unwanted Landscape Debris

"Make a good first impression on buyers! Short on time? Cleaning-up yard waste is the quickest way to improve curb appeal."

Messy lawns and landscape can deter some buyers. Dead branches, sticks, piles of leaves and other yard waste can make your property look cluttered and disorganized, and can give buyers the impression that your property needs cleanup and extra care upon move in.

To avoid problems, keep your front yard immaculate while it's up for sale. 

  • Get rid of all old piles of organic debris.
  • Cut down dying plants.
  • Remove half-brown shrubs, trees with bare branches and shriveled or dying flowers.
  • Pull weeds from flower beds and from cracks between concrete pavers.
  • Sweep your pathways, sidewalk and driveway.
  • Cut back any plants that block the windows, front steps or front door.

Fill Landscape Pots & Planters

Many home sellers wondering how to improve curb appeal in a unique way that can showcase their style might look to planting flowers. Filling your planters with flowers creates the impression that your property is fertile and your soil workable. It's not necessary to fill your planter boxes to the brim with flowers, but leaving flower beds or planters empty can make your yard seem barren and lifeless.

Plant flowers in each garden bed to brighten your yard with color and show buyers that your yard has potential.

  • Keep your landscaping simple. Avoid exotic plants that buyers won't know how to care for and may be tempted to cut down. Colorful, commonplace annuals like petunias, pansies, impatiens and marigolds are all beautiful plants that many home buyers will recognize and know how to maintain.
  • Plant the most beautiful and mature specimens near your front door. Buyers will naturally look at this part of your home first, so putting the best plants in this location will help make the best impression possible.
  • Mulch between your flowers to keep the ground looking tidy. Using mulch that's been dyed an attractive color will add flair to your lawn.

Install or Improve Pathways

Adding a direct path from the sidewalk to your front door can make your home seem more accessible and inviting from the curb. If there is no pathway that currently leads to your front door, dig out the sod and install a pathway made of stone, concrete pavers, or paving bricks. If your yard already has a pathway leading to the door, line it with flowers or small shrubs to keep the walkway trim, tidy and attractive. Home improvements like these can make a big difference when marketing a luxury home for sale.

Clean the Windows

Clean windows look beautiful and boost curb appeal while also allowing light into the home, which helps with staging. To clean the windows, use a squeegee and vinegar mixed with water. For windows with hard water stains, soak a towel in water and vinegar, then lay the towel on the window and leave it on the glass for two minutes. The vinegar should soften the mineral deposits just enough to be wiped away. Repeat this process as necessary until the mineral deposits have been completely wiped away.

Plant Colorful Annuals

Colorful annual flowers attract attention to the lawn while making the property look cheerful and inviting to buyers. When choosing flowers for your garden beds, look for easy to grow annuals like impatiens, pansies and petunias. These flowers require little more than regular watering and deadheading to grow big and beautiful during the growing season. Concentrate the most beautiful flower displays in the garden beds near the door to draw attention to the entrance of your home.

"Faded and peeling paint is the quickest way to send buyers to competing listings. Invest in quality trim & siding painting if necessary."

Refresh Trim & Siding

Curb Appeal Nashville

Ensure your exterior siding looks clean and well maintained. Vinyl siding can easily be cleaned with soapy water and a strong jet of water. Use a long-handled scrub brush to clean your siding, then rinse it with spray from a garden hose.

If your home has painted wood siding, inspect your home for areas where the paint needs to be touched up or redone. While a few small blemishes can be treated on a case-by-case basis, large swatches of peeling paint are a sign that your house needs to be repainted before your home goes on the market.

Leaving your home unpainted can reduce your curb appeal and property value because many home buyers try to avoid properties that need major repairs.

Update Hardware

Install matching hardware by replacing your house numbers, door knobs and mailbox. This update can make your home look more attractive and will help unify your home's exterior. When choosing house numbers, be sure to pick large numbers that pop out against the color of your siding. Homebuyers should be able to find your house easily when driving down your street.

Work With Your Real Estate Agent

Every home has different needs to improve curb appeal. A good real estate agent will know all the tricks, from repainting the door to hanging a wreath, replacing the welcome mat to decorating the front porch. Before listing your home for sale, work with your real estate agent to improve the appearance of your home.

As you make these upgrades, ask for suggestions from friends and family. It can be hard to see your home objectively, so soliciting advice can help you notice problems that you might otherwise miss. As always, work with your realtor as you make upgrades. Following these tips can help you sell your home quickly and for the right price.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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