This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Lead Generation and Marketing.
Adding curb appeal will attract more homebuyers, increase the number of offers for your seller, and even generate leads for your real estate business. From landscaping to door numbers and lighting to mulch, even small improvements to curb appeal bring a high return on investment (ROI) in home value and real estate agent commissions. Here are two dozen curb appeal ideas real estate agents can use to improve a home’s exterior without doing major renovations or spending a ton of money.
Did you know? According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes with high curb appeal sell for 7% more than other homes.
Here are 24 curb appeal ideas real estate agents can use to increase the sales price of a home:
1. Create a Path to the Front Door
By establishing a path to the entry from the road or driveway, you add a more welcoming touch to the home. This path could be made of concrete, pavers, or brick, and could be lined with trees, hedges, and flowers. When planning your pathway, remember to work with the architecture and overall home style. If you plant a feminine, flowery Victorian garden in front of a masculine, ultra-modern house, for example, it will look mismatched and isn’t likely to increase your ROI.
2. Use Rubber Mulch
Rubber mulch comes in a variety of colors, which makes it extremely easy to uplevel your landscaping. It frames your home and planting areas, making the curb appeal pop. Mulch, which can be purchased at most major home improvement stores year-round, also keeps plants healthier longer and keeps fungus and weeds in check. Before you even think about gathering open house ideas for each listing, make sure that you note the simple improvements like this that need to be done.
3. Trim Everything Back
Although it’s a plus for a home to have established landscaping, homeowners often forget to trim bushes and shrubs. Where greenery has become overgrown and blocks the view of the home or impedes the approach, it’s time to get out the shears. Agents who are successful in real estate know that when it comes to landscaping, less can sometimes be more.
4. Incorporate Rainscaping
Rainscaping is a newer landscaping trend that collects and directs water runoff, producing both environmental and economic benefits. By redirecting runoff using rocks, rain barrels, rain chains, and other elements, rainwater is prevented from puddling and from polluting drains. Instead, it’s saved and directed to flower beds, gardens, lawns, and other areas. Plus, it adds a design element as well as a functional element to the home’s exterior. It’s an equally useful curb appeal idea whether the home is in an area that gets a lot of precipitation or in a dry area where conserving water is important.
5. Add River Rocks
Landscaping isn’t limited to flowers and plants. By using river rocks, lava rocks, and other stones, you can elevate the design of any home’s exterior—they can even be used instead of mulch. There are rocks of varying colors and sizes, so be sure to plan what looks best with the home’s colors and design. This can be a big bonus for buyers who want low-maintenance landscaping, including homes in arid climates.
6. Edge the Flower Bed
Edging is an extremely simple way to take curb appeal from mediocre to sophisticated. Edging defines and makes spaces look thoughtful and complete. It also makes lawn maintenance easier, which can be appealing for prospective homebuyers. To showcase planting areas and separate them from the lawn (or even just cover up dirt areas), you can completely transform a home’s appearance by adding small pavers, mulch, or river rocks along with brick or plastic edging.
Home Appearance Ideas
7. Refresh the Home With Paint
While painting a home’s exterior isn’t the most simple or easy way to improve curb appeal, it is arguably the most impactful—and when it comes to curb appeal, impact equals increased return on investment. Home exteriors experience environmental wear and tear that requires periodic maintenance.
Plus, if the color of the home is faded, a new coat of paint can bring it back to life. Alternatively, if the current homeowners have made some unique choices that might not appeal to most buyers, repainting to bring a home back to a more neutral palette could be a must for selling at top dollar. It’s important for real estate agents to have a shortlist of professionals, including home painters, to draw on for homesellers’ improvement and repair projects.
8. Clean the Roof
The roof of any home is extremely important, and replacing one is a hefty five-figure investment. However, just cleaning the roof could improve the entire home’s exterior curb appeal and prevent deterioration. You may not even realize how much dirt is visible on the home’s roof until it has been cleaned. Exercise your professional expertise as a real estate agent to determine if you need to hire a professional or the job can be safely and effectively done by the homeowner.
9. Add a Faux Brick Facade
Homes with brick or stone tend to have more visual dimension and so are naturally more appealing. If a home’s exterior doesn’t have brick or stone trim—not to worry. It’s easy and relatively inexpensive to have panels of faux brick or stone facades added to create visual appeal and dimension. This is ideal to cover accent walls, chimneys, outdated surfaces, and cinder brick foundations. Plus, it looks a lot more expensive than it actually is.
10. Stencil a Concrete Porch
Concrete patios and porches aren’t necessarily an eyesore, but they also usually don’t contribute to a home’s overall curb appeal. However, an extremely affordable way to transform a homeseller’s concrete porch or deck is by painting it using stencils. This adds personality to the home and can even make concrete look like tile.
11. Replace or Refresh the Garage Door
Garage doors take up a lot of visual space, especially those closer to the street (forward, compared to a home’s other exterior surfaces). They can play a big part in a buyer’s first impression of the home. There are many ways to give a makeover to a garage door without spending a lot of money. While in some cases the homeowner may need to replace them, it’s more affordable to transform them with paint, gel stain that enhances or creates the appearance of wood, or modern hardware.
12. Pressure Wash the Driveway
There are many instances when all a home really needs is some elbow grease to improve its curb appeal. By pressure washing the driveway, pathway, deck, fence, and siding, the home will look brighter and fresher. It’s incredibly impactful for such a small cost, so power washing the home (or hiring someone to power wash exterior areas) could be something to add to your open house checklist or even a service you provide as a seller’s agent.
Exterior Decor Ideas
13. Add a Decorative House Number for More Curb Appeal
House numbers (aka the home’s street address) might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to curb appeal ideas, but it’s almost always something that buyers notice. Decorative house numbers are an easy way to impress anyone who passes by.
There are many ways to make your house number pop without making a large dent in your budget. If your homeseller isn’t the crafty type, you can buy custom house number signs from artists on Etsy, commission one from a local artisan, or even make them yourself. This is another example of a low-cost value-add you could offer during your pre-listing presentation as a benefit for homesellers who choose to work with you.
For showings and open houses, take it a step further with a custom-made sign. Not only will house numbers help visitors find your open house, but a custom-made sign brings a level of professionalism to the event and makes it feel more special.
99designs can create a custom logo and design to make your marketing collateral and real estate signs stand out from the crowd. Work directly with a designer or start a contest with multiple designers to see which design best fits your brand and style.
14. Hang Wind Chimes
The sound of wind chimes in a gentle breeze is calming to many people, appealing to the homebuyer’s senses through sound and sight. To keep the sound pleasant and relaxing, choose wind chimes that provide a softer rather than loud or clanging sound. Placement is also important since homebuyers don’t want to envision themselves waking up to the sound of chimes outside the bedroom window. Hang wind chimes a bit away from the home’s bedrooms, ideally in an outdoor seating or garden area.
15. Add a Doormat
Doormats instantly make a home feel more cozy and welcoming. If the homeowners have had the same doormat out for some time, it is probably looking worn and faded. Before prospective buyers come to the home, put down a new doormat to make it look fresh. Purchase a branded doormat from Anypromo.com to give to your clients as a closing gift. Upload your design and logo as well as customize the colors for a special and personalized way to remind your clients about their wonderful experience working with you.
16. Create Curb Appeal Using Large Planters
Regardless of whether the property already has established plantings, adding large planters near the garage doors, front doors, and outdoor living spaces changes how the entire place feels. If you pay attention, professional home staging almost always incorporates greenery to bring a sense of life and pops of color to every space. Choose large planters that complement the home’s aesthetic and watch the space come to life.
If you want to leverage the power of home staging to attract a higher number of potential buyers, try virtual staging. With BoxBrownie, you can get virtually staged images back in just 48 hours. It’s a cost-efficient and time-saving method of displaying the full potential of a seller’s home for less money than physically staging the home. Plus, in today’s virtual first world, it can result in more showings and bring in offers more quickly.
Exterior Lighting Ideas
17. Add Exterior Lighting & Accents
A New York study found that outdoor lighting can reduce crime by up to 39%. That’s one reason why exterior lights are absolutely necessary for any home, but outdoor lighting can also have a huge impact on a home’s curb appeal. If a seller’s home currently doesn’t have adequate outside lighting, the homeowner might need to speak with an electrician or landscaper about options for adding lights around the property.
18. Upgrade or Refinish Light Fixtures
If you already have outdoor lights, it’s time to evaluate the light fixtures. Upgrading light fixtures inside and outside the house are cheap and easy ways to improve the home. If the homeseller’s lights are in good shape but a little worn, they may be able to simply repaint them. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to suggest that the homeowner replace them.
19. Install Solar Accent Lights
Solar lights may be the cheapest and fastest way to add exterior lighting, are eco-friendly, can be obtained on a quick trip to the local home improvement store, and installed without touching a wire. Adding solar-powered stick-up lights, string lights, fence lights, and lanterns along pathways and near outdoor seating areas adds drama and decor. They also improve curb appeal, especially during evening hours, since they turn on automatically at dusk and generally have enough power to stay lit until or even after midnight.
Ideas to Optimize Outdoor Features
20. Spruce Up Your Mailbox
The mailbox is often the first thing people see as they walk up or drive by a house. If it’s damaged or dated, fix or replace it, or refresh it with fresh paint. Encourage the seller to get creative by adding stone and brick facades, brick platforms, and flowers to complement the rest of the home’s curb appeal updates. It’s a small-cost project that can make a big first impression with prospective buyers.
21. Add Window Boxes & Planters
Window boxes and free-standing planters are a relatively affordable and simple way to add a pop of color and design to a boring exterior. They are available at most hardware stores, but those who have experience with basic carpentry and power tools could also easily build one. Have them filled with colorful, flowering plants, or stage planters with fresh herbs and small vegetable plants to add outdoor and curb appeal to potential homebuyers.
22. Hide the Trash Cans
All homes have essential items that just don’t look pretty―like trash cans, air conditioning (A/C) units, and water meters. Instead of leaving these eyesores out in the open, hide them away using wood panels, lattice enclosures, and portable storage units. The homeowner can hire a local carpenter to build them, but many can also be easily ordered from Amazon and found at local hardware stores.
You can also disguise unattractive but necessary items like these, especially items that are permanently affixed to the house, by simply painting them. If you and the seller aren’t sure whether it’s appropriate to obstruct or paint something you’d like to hide or minimize, such as a power or water meter or panel, consult a professional first.
23. Bring New Life to an Old Fence
Wood fences are a great asset to a home, but they also require significant time and money to maintain. Before listing the house, make sure the home’s fence is looking its best. That means using the pressure washer, replacing any missing or damaged panels, making any necessary repairs, and potentially restaining or painting the fence. This work can usually be done by the homeowner but may need to be hired out.
24. Update the Front Door
Like garage doors, the home’s front door factors with a prospective buyer’s overall first impression and curb appeal. A quick refresh with paint or even replacing the front door or the door’s hardware can instantly refresh the whole look of a home’s exterior. If the home is likely to attract younger buyers, consider changing out the door’s hardware to include electronic entry and smart hardware.
Improving the curb appeal of a seller’s listing—even in small ways—can have a massive impact on the number of prospective buyers who view your listing, tour the home, and make offers. Although it requires you and the homeowners to put in some work, and maybe even spend some money, you can guide the seller as to which curb appeal ideas will have the best return on investment, or ROI.
Your expertise in successfully implementing the most effective curb appeal ideas and selling homes can also help you generate real estate leads. Take before and after photos and share the results with your audience, as well as any evidence you have (such as buyer’s comments or home bidding competitions) that demonstrate how it helped your seller. Showing homesellers the impact you make as an agent will bring you more real estate listings.