Curb Appeal

Easy Ways to Increase Summer Curb Appeal

Curb appeal, the look of your home from the street, is a hot topic for homeowners. If you’re planning to sell your house this summer, your real estate agent may already have suggested some things you can do to increase your curb appeal. But how important is it, really? After all, it’s hot outside. Mowing, weeding, and planting aren’t very appealing activities when the temperature is edging toward triple digits. Unfortunately, letting the outside of your home go could have a major impact on how many people are interested in your house, the offers you receive, and even the appraisal.

Even though summer is the busiest time of year for home selling, it’s still critical to put your best foot forward with potential buyers. Perhaps you aren’t selling your house this summer, but you still want to make the front of your home more attractive and aren’t sure where to start.

summer curb appeal

Components of Good Curb Appeal

While getting outside and putting in the time, effort, and money to spruce up your home’s exterior may sound overwhelming, it could prevent a long, fruitless summer of potential buyers eliminating your home as a possibility based solely on a drive-by. To make things easier, here are the main elements of good curb appeal:

  • The landscaping: Mow the lawn frequently, weed the flower beds, and keep trees and shrubs pruned. Plant some colorful flowers to make the front of your home more appealing.
  • The roof and siding: Make sure your roof and siding are in good condition. If either are showing signs of age or damage, invest in getting these repaired or replaced.
  • Windows and the front door: The windows and front door should welcome people to your home. If your front door doesn’t stand out, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint. Don’t shy away from color — a pop of turquoise, red, or sunny yellow could make your entrance a showstopper. Make sure the windows are clean and aren’t covered by tall bushes or plants. Paint the windowsills if they are looking chipped or worn.
  • The driveway: If your driveway is stained, give it a good pressure-washing. Do the same with the sidewalk.
  • Lighting: Even in the daytime, buyers will notice the exterior light fixtures. Make sure the porch light is clean and working. Accentuate the walkways and garden areas with solar lights.

Is Curb Appeal Important?

Curb appeal is very important, especially when selling your home. Buyers will judge your home based on that initial first impression. In fact, curb appeal is so important that the National Association of Realtors published a study on the remodeling impact of outdoor features in 2018. The report found that 99 percent of NAR members believed curb appeal was important in attracting a buyer. If your home lacks curb appeal, it could impact not only a buyer’s interest, but also the price you ultimately get for your house.

How to Increase Curb Appeal in Summer

Stand at the curb in front of your home and look at it with a critical eye. Does anything look weathered? Is your eye drawn to the front door, or are you distracted by overgrown shrubs or an untidy lawn? Is there any clutter that can be removed? How does your mailbox look? Try to see your home as potential buyers will when they arrive for the very first time.

Depending on where you live, the strong summer sun can be tough on plants, making your yard look a bit droopy and tired. To give your front yard a little bit of sizzle, consider planting flowers that love full sun and will bloom all season long, such as zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, begonias, and lantana. Before planting anything, check your area’s hardiness zone and find plants that will hold up to whatever your summer may deliver.

Since summer is all about being outdoors, create an inviting outdoor living space if possible. For example, if you have a front porch, an outdoor swing will have potential buyers thinking about sipping their morning coffee there. Even a small bench or chair can make your front porch more inviting. Add some plants and outdoor lighting to your entry, as well. To draw buyers toward your house, consider adding a pathway with pavers, concrete, or stepping-stones. Make sure your front door is the focal point, either by painting it a lively color, adding a wreath, or flanking it with flowerpots.

Don’t overlook the garage doors and their impact on curb appeal, especially if your garage is visible from the street. If your doors are old and worn looking, consider replacing them to instantly give your house an updated look.

Does Curb Appeal Impact the Appraisal?

While it may seem as though it shouldn’t matter, curb appeal will impact your appraisal. If your home lacks curb appeal, the appraised value will be lower. The appraiser will evaluate your yard as soon as they arrive. By the time they knock on your door to evaluate the interior, they’ve already judged your home based on their initial impressions.

Not only does curb appeal affect the appraisal, but it can lower the overall value of your home by as much as 15 percent. A home with curb appeal is likely to sell faster than one without. In some cases, up to six weeks faster. Even if you have a limited budget for upgrades and you’d rather spend it on the interior, the impact of curb appeal makes it worth the investment. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do with very little money.

summer curb appeal

Creating Curb Appeal on a Budget

You don’t have to spend a fortune on curb appeal to make a big impact. For example, using an edger along the driveway and sidewalk will give your home a professionally maintained look. If you don’t have one, they’re easy to find for less than $100 at your local hardware store, or you may be able to find one at a garage sale or second-hand store. Here are some more inexpensive ways to add curb appeal to your home:

  • Spray paint old light fixtures. If you can’t afford to upgrade your fixtures, give them a fresh look with a spray paint designed for outdoor metal objects. The paint comes in a variety of colors, including metallic. Consider spray painting other outdoor items that could use a pick-me-up, such as your mailbox, planters, or even wrought iron lawn chairs.
  • Put away the clutter. This includes bicycles, toys, lawn equipment, hoses, and even lawn ornaments (a few are fine, but if your flowerbeds are cluttered with gnome statues and pink flamingoes, they could be distracting from the beauty of your house).
  • Mulch. Nothing spruces up the front of your home like freshly mulched flower beds. To save money, try contacting area tree removal services. They sometimes offer wood chips at a discount or even for free. You can also try reaching out to city services, like the electric or phone company. These services sometimes provide mulch to residents after pruning trees away from power lines.
  • Plant a tree. If your home is a vast expanse of lawn, consider adding a tree as a focal point. Look for a colorful or decorative tree that does well in your area. For example, in the South (especially zones 5-8), a delicate weeping cherry with its soft, pink petals might be just the thing to take your yard from boring to stunning. In the northeast, the Crimson Queen Japanese Maple’s lacy, burgundy leaves will add color and texture to your yard. If you live in the Southwest, the Texas Mountain Laurel, with its bright purple flowers and wonderful fragrance, will have visitors to your home dreaming of afternoons lazing in the yard and enjoying the sweet scent.
  • Add some clever DIY. If you’re handy or know someone who is, you can add curb appeal with some unexpected features. For example, if you’re good at woodworking, consider making your own window boxes, bird feeders, or adding a hexagonal bench around a tree. If your house numbers are worn, make new ones using wood, tiles, concrete, or metal. There are several online DIY videos you can follow or use your imagination. Just make sure the materials you choose are suitable for outdoor use.

You don’t have to update everything under the sun — a few strategic changes will make a huge difference in the look of your home. Curb appeal can help you attract more buyers and might even fetch a better price or a higher appraisal, so do what you can to make the front of your home radiant.

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Hi, I'm Alecia, the Content Marketing Manager here at Homes.com. I enjoy playing video games with my sons, reading mystery novels, and trips to the beach. Follow me on Twitter at @apirulis.

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