How to Create Curb Appeal Before Selling Your House


There’s a lot of content out there that focuses on the interior of your home, leaving out aspects of curb appeal. For example, this post from The Balance focuses 90% of the content on the interior of the home.

The features and appearance of your home’s interior is primarily what will drive a buyer to make an offer or decide to keep looking. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the value of presenting your entire property – yes, the outside especially – at its best.

With constantly-improving high-definition photography and videography used in listings (like this one), it’s more important than ever that your home looks beautiful from the street. Once potential buyers arrive in person, they’ll try to imagine themselves living there. Creating the best first impression possible sets the tone for their entire home tour.

Here’s what you need to do to create some curb appeal that will have them interested before they ever walk in the door.

Curb appeal – making the most of what you already have

We’re not looking to completely re-landscape your property. You’re about to sell and move after all, so you don’t want (or need) to invest a bunch of money in a new deck, several trees, or a water feature.

Even in this Washing Post article, an example is given where a $20,000 investment churns out $200,000 in profit. However, they also cite that most people don’t have that much to invest, and there are plenty of ways to get these results without the big investment.

house with polished yard and fence, great curb appeal in greater Hillsboro and Portland Metro area

The way to creating curb appeal is very similar to how we created an appealing home interior: declutter, clean, repair, stage.

Step 1: Declutter your yard

While decluttering does apply to your stuff – yes, you should limit the amount of non-permanent things sitting on a porch or driveway to zero if possible – think beyond your possessions and look at the landscape.

Decluttering the exterior work starts with pulling weeds from flower beds and any lawn space they’ve managed to infiltrate.

Also work to trim back or remove those plants that have overgrown their space. Does that shrub touch your siding? Cut it back to at least 6-8 inches from your home.

create curb appeal by trimming bushes at a house

While less is usually more, you may find the need to add something while decluttering. That seems counterintuitive, but if you have a gap in your landscaping where something has died or you’ve had to trim back dramatically, it may be worth adding a plant or two.

The idea here is to create as clean and fresh a look as you can. The more maintained your lawn, garden, and property looks, the more maintained your home will look.

Step 2: Clean around the property

You thought you were done with cleaning, but it's the gift that keeps on giving. Start by looking at your home’s exterior. How does the siding look? The roof? You may need to take a pressure washer to the siding, trim, shutters, etc. (these are easy to rent from Home Depot here).

pressure washing and cleaning the house for better curb appeal

You may also need to remove moss from your roofing and clear out your gutters. For work at height, consider hiring a professional with the gear and expertise to work effectively and stay safe.

Thinking about hiring a professional in the greater Hillsboro or Portland Metro area to help with your home's curb appeal? Make sure you look at our list of approved contractors.

See Preferred Contractors List

While you have the pressure washer, clean up your driveway, sidewalk, and any walkways or patios out front. Again, the idea is to make your property look well-maintained and cared for. A moss-covered walk to your front door may give you quaint thoughts of Hobbits in The Shire, but to a potential buyer it may raise red flags about the attention your home’s exterior has received.

Last but not least, give your windows a good clean. They’ll provide your potential buyers their first glimpse into your home’s interior.

Step 3: Repair issues on the exterior

Assuming there are no glaring repair needs (like broken shutters or a busted front gate), take a fresh look at your home from the curb. You’ve decluttered and cleaned, so how does everything look? You may answer, “Amazing!” or, “Better than ever,” but you may also notice there are now some things that need additional care or repair.

Extra TLC may manifest as a need to paint your home’s exterior, re-stain a deck or a fence, or fertilize a sad lawn. Like in this photo, where a clear yard has revealed faded paint on the house.

green house with faded exterior paint that has poor curb appeal

Again, you don’t need to spend a fortune here. Your buyer may decide to change your home’s color, redo the fence, or replace the lawn with hardscape depending on their tastes.

Try focusing on deferred maintenance or damage, as cosmetic upgrades are not the goal of repairs. You’re taking a fresh look at your home to try and determine if anything looks in disrepair enough to turn off a potential buyer.

Unsure of what may or may not be a dealbreaker? Ask an experienced, professional realtor for advice.

Step 4: Stage for curb appeal

Just like inside your home, staging is all about those last few details that let your home’s best qualities shine. For curb appeal, that translates as a fresh layer of bark or mulch in flower beds, a fresh edge to your lawn, or blooming colorful flowers in your beds and flower pots.

With minimal investment or effort, these finishing touches will provide a memorable first look at your home.

Curb appeal achieved

These four steps – decluttering, cleaning, repairing and staging – can be done fairly quickly and for minimal cost. Of course, you’re welcome to invest a bit more and gamble on the returning profits, but curb appeal can really shine with just a bit of hard work.

The benefits of curb appeal? Now your house may sell faster, as prospective buyers driving through the neighborhood may be wowed by your polished exterior. And if you’re not sure if you’ve done quite enough to get ready, one of our experienced agents can point you in the right direction. You can reach out for a free consultation here.

Feeling overwhelmed about listing your house?

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