The Importance of Curb Appeal

Published : October 4, 2016

We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but no one ever said anything about judging a house by its “cover.” The truth is, although the inside of your home is what makes it special to you, the exterior look of your house does matter.

When it comes to curb appeal, your home’s appearance is one of your main selling points, and it could make the difference between rising value and plummeting stock.

Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell, upgrade your living space, or comply with the standards set in place by your Homeowner’s Association, your own personal curb appeal gives the outside world insight into who you are and what you value. More than just aesthetics, a well-manicured lawn or welcoming walk-up can set the tone for potential buyers interested in moving to your area or neighborhood.  

With real estate prices still at an all-time high, it’s becoming increasingly important to make the most of your outdoor space to get the best bang for your buck.

Curb Appeal 101

So what exactly is curb appeal, and how can you benefit from it? Put simply, curb appeal is the outside façade of your home that draws others in. From a glance, curb appeal should optimize charm, tidiness, and attention to detail. There are many ways to reflect the potential of your home and who you are as a homeowner, but curb appeal plays an undeniable role in forming first impressions.

According to a 2014 Zillow survey, curb appeal was listed as one of the top five most important features in selling a home, on par with indoor home upgrades like granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. For sellers, think of curb appeal as a kind of “sneak peek” into your home – if prospective buyers like what they see on the outside, they more inclined to take a look inside. If your lawn is littered with debris or could use a good mowing, you may miss out on serious potential interest.

Neighborhood Considerations

Curb appeal doesn’t just benefit those looking to sell their homes – even if you’re happily comfortable right where you are, there are perks to giving your home’s exterior a little special aesthetic touch. When you share proximity with your neighbors, you are all in some way responsible for the overall effect and appeal of the neighborhood. If your neighbor’s rotting tree or broken fence is getting on your last nerve, consider how they might feel about your damaged shingles or overgrown weed garden.

In many cases, there’s an unspoken agreement to exercise good neighborly manners, by keeping the front of your home from falling into disarray and cramping the overall appeal of your street. Other times, the agreement is quite direct and, literally, spelled out. Neighborhood associations like the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) emphasize the importance of curb appeal through bylaws and regulations. Typically, monthly fees for an HOA range from $200 to $400 per month, with added fines for any violation. If you belong to an HOA, make sure your brush up on their rules and read any manuals they provide. To bypass potential fines, do your research and keep your property looking fresh and well-maintained.

It may sound like a hassle to follow HOA rules, but the beauty of curb appeal is that it doesn’t have to take a lot to make a big difference – curb appeal can be achieved in varying degrees, from redesigning the landscaping of your front yard to simply mowing the lawn more often, or replacing those old window panes.

Curb Appeal Essentials

If you’re looking to add a dose of curb appeal to your home, consider the following go-to upgrades for homeowners:

  • Planting new shrubbery or greenery
  • Cleaning your home’s gutters
  • Replacing traditional house numbers with something more modern, or artsy
  • Adding a coat of color to the front door
  • Painting windows and/or trim

If you’re seeking a more substantial renovation, the more involved tips below may do the trick:

  • Re-paving the driveway and/or entryway
  • Replacing windows
  • Incorporating custom decorative panels
  • Investing in new porch or patio furniture

Ultimately, curb appeal can speak volumes about who you are, what your house may hold inside, and how friendly and welcoming your neighborhood is. Whether you’re buying, selling, or just looking to spruce up your current abode, it’s never too late to invest in enduring upgrades.

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