Curb appeal: It’s the make-or-break first impression of your home. It either beckons a second look or turns buyers off entirely. And now, in the age of the coronavirus, curb appeal is more vital than ever—since buyers might not be able to tour your home and are placing more weight on the exterior, or might be limiting in-person tours to only their top choices.
If you’re trying to sell your home during this pandemic—and the facade is a little worse for wear—don’t panic! We consulted with Clint Robertson and Luke Caldwell of HGTV’s “Boise Boys” to steal some tricks for curb appeal that’s so irresistible, buyers will be clamoring to know what’s inside.
1. Keep the yard green and pristine
The lawn is one of the first things buyers notice, whether they are pulling up to the curb or looking at an online listing. When it’s lush and green, it creates a favorable impression.
“One of the cheapest things you can do to enhance curb appeal is to keep your yard mowed and groomed,” says Robertson, who also partners with Caldwell at Timber and Love Realty. “Hire someone to mow it and keep it tidy, or take the time to keep it pristine.”
You don’t have to have a green thumb to get a lush lawn when you know these lawn care secrets.
2. Mind your driveway and walkway
You might be inclined to overlook the driveway and front walk—how much can you really do to make concrete look good? But, truth be told, these areas are like the red carpet of curb appeal: They lead buyers to the main event, the inside of your home.
A driveway and front walk with minor cracks and weeds popping up through the expansion joints (the straight lines that divide the driveway and walkway) are an eyesore.
Luckily, it’s an easy fix.
Remove the weeds, and patch the concrete with caulk, Robertson suggests. Hose it down or power-wash it. For extra pizazz, finish a concrete driveway or walkway with a clear, glossy sealer. (You can give faded asphalt driveways a face-lift with asphalt sealer.)
At the very least, hose down the driveway and walkway before photos, or a video or in-person tour, to give it a fresh look.
3. Flaunt your nighttime appeal
Prospective buyers might be driving by after dark see what your house looks like at night. Turn on the charm with a warm glow from exterior lighting.
“I like to do a 60-watt clear lightbulb on both sides of the door, but one that has a warmer tone so it doesn’t feel like you have that overly LED blue light,” Caldwell says.
All exterior lighting on the house and garage should match or have the same style for continuity, if possible.
Caldwell’s partial to clear-glass fixtures.
“I love having glass fixtures flanking the door because it’s more welcoming when you see the actual light,” he says. “Just make sure that all exterior lights—including the ones on the garage—have the same type of bulb for a unified glow.”
4. Don’t forget the garage
The garage is a key component in curb appeal, too, especially if it’s attached to the house. But how do you spruce up this often dull space?
Caldwell suggests painting the garage door the same color as the trim on the house. Garage doors with a row of windows are pleasing to the eye, too.
“Sometimes garages feel dark and scary,” says Robertson. “The light allows it to make it feel like it’s more part of the home.”
DIY garage window kits are available for most newer garage door models and allow you to remove a row of existing panels and add glass inserts. If you’re adding windows where people can see in, don’t forget to stage inside the garage, too.
5. Replace outdoor accents and give your landscaping some love
A shabby doormat, dingy house numbers, and a rusty old mailbox are hardly deal breakers, but they do leave a stale impression. If your outdoor accents have seen better days, replace them.
Then make sure your landscaping looks lush for any passersby. Prune overgrown shrubs and trees. Weed flower beds, and spread a layer of fresh mulch.
“It’s like getting a new haircut for your house,” Caldwell says.
Add pretty-looking annuals if your yard is lacking color. Plant a Japanese maple to fill a bare spot and create symmetry.
“It’s low to the ground and doesn’t require much light,” notes Caldwell.
Then wrap up by cleaning the windows and sweeping the cobwebs from the front porch. Tidy up and stage the front porch so buyers can imagine themselves relaxing there on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
6. Give your front door a face-lift
Would a shabby door with peeling paint, rusty hardware, and scuff marks entice a buyer to go inside?
“If you’re going to spend money on one thing to add curb appeal, make it a new door,” says Caldwell.
Front doors with glass inserts evoke a warm and welcoming feeling. If there isn’t room in the budget, rejuvenate your existing door with a fresh coat of paint and hardware.
“A fresh pop of color in red, yellow, or blue can bring life to your house immediately and catches people’s eyes as well,” Caldwell says. “It feels like thoughtful consideration has been put into the home, and ultimately that’s what we’re trying to do—to let the home feel like a home that’s been loved and cared for and thought about. A home that’s been cared for stands out.”