5 Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

5 Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

  • April Lepito Smith
  • 01/24/22

Whether you're planning to renovate a tired facade, cultivate a prize-worthy garden, or hope to increase your home's value ahead of a listing, there's never a wrong time to boost your home's curb appeal.

Potential buyers will be drawn in when your home's exterior elements are in order. With the lawn cut, foliage pruned, pots of flowers spaced accordingly, and driveway and walkways power washed and cleaned, your home can be a feast for the eyes. 

First impressions matter in real estate. The better they are, the more the home stands apart on the market. Your home's exterior condition can mean the difference between a lucrative sale and a glut of underwhelming offers.

According to a study from The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, your home's curb appeal can account for upwards of 7% of its sale price. This means that for a $500,000 home, a trimmed lawn, and a freshly painted front door can bring you an additional $35,000 on the sale compared to if you hadn’t. 

If you're ready to increase your home's value, let's look at a few options available to boost your property’s curb appeal.

The Basics

These are the simplest to address and can easily be completed within a weekend. Mow the lawn. Trim the trees and shrubs. Remove any debris and lay fresh mulch in the appropriate areas. Although you can complete these tasks by yourself, you can save yourself time and ensure your outdoor spaces consistently look their best by hiring a professional lawn maintenance service.

It might seem elementary, but a well-maintained yard stands out in a neighborhood. In most cases, the simplest approach is best. Avoid cluttering up your yard with unnecessary focal points and instead allow a fresh, clean, "less is more" lawn to serve as the welcome mat to your home. More importantly, once you get your yard into an ideal state, maintain it. This is of critical importance if you list your home for sale, as just one missed day of exterior upkeep, could lead to you losing a lucrative offer.


Beyond the primary care for your front and backyard, you want a landscape that accentuates the best features of your home. As we noted, less is more, but also consider infusing your home's natural areas with both life and color.

When thinking about seasonal accents, favor palettes that are appealing without being too flashy. A landscape service can guide you to the plants and seasonals ideal for your yard’s soil type and complement the existing trees and shrubs.

Be advised that it's entirely possible to over-engineer your landscaping design. Too much foliage causes numerous issues like reducing sunlight to areas of your yard. Runaway growth on some plants can stifle the development of others. An overly complex layout will be cost-prohibitive and requires extensive care to maintain. Unless you're selling to an arborist or botanist, all three scenarios will turn off buyers and undoubtedly hurt your checkbook in the long run.

Additionally, consider your yard's structural and utility elements. Dilapidated fences, whether wood or wrought iron, will stand out and be eyesores. Poor drainage near the house is particularly noticeable as well and can create maintenance issues beyond an unsightly yard.

When assessing ways to boost your home's curb appeal, take stock of your landscape as a whole. Determine which areas need elements added or removed, if a redesign is necessary, or if it’s good as is. In doing so, you'll craft a cohesive outdoor environment that is both easy and economical to maintain. 

The exterior facade

A home's curb appeal is more than just the natural elements. Even the most pristine yards appear drab if the exterior of the home they serve is shabby and poorly maintained.

Especially with older homes, years of wear and tear will dull a facade's outer appearance. Consider all the possible issues which arise when a home is exposed to the elements for many years on end.

  • Paint on siding fades 
  • Dirt and moss collect on brick and stone 
  • Windows fog, haze, and stain from moisture 
  • Gutters rust or fill with debris 
  • Garage doors stain and lose color
  • Driveways and walkways crack, chip, and stain
  • Any wood elements such as posts, railings, and window and door trim rot
  • Roofs lose shingles or show discoloration

Don't neglect the backyard either when thinking about the home's exterior. Decks, pools, outdoor kitchens, and additional structural elements such as pergolas or fireplaces are considered vital elements in your home's curb appeal, especially if they can be seen from the street or other public areas.

To address your home's exterior, consider which areas need only superficial attention versus those which require extensive repair or replacement.

Power washing the siding, windows, driveway, and walkways removes years of grime and will enliven a home at a minimal cost. For many homes preparing to be listed, a good pressure wash is all they need. 

For others, once the cleaning is done, inventory necessary repairs. You can touch up chipped paint, especially if it's limited to trim areas, and replace damaged gutters at a nominal cost. The latter repair is essential, as broken gutters lead to drainage or foundation issues if they're not adequately directing water away from the building.

Owing to the importance of curb appeal, replacing certain aging elements may prove a better use of your time and money. Replacing your garage door, windows, siding, or front entry all offer excellent ROI while boosting your home's overall appeal. If you want to update the appearance of your home without a total siding replacement, add manufactured stone veneer to the bottom of your home’s exterior for an updated look for a minimal cost.

Once again, don't neglect the back of the home. Pressure washing addresses most beautification needs, but don't hesitate to repair or replace outdoor kitchen appliances, weathered deck boards, or damaged patio furniture. 


In boosting your home's curb appeal, lighting is arguably the most underrated strategy at your disposal. Foremost, the addition of exterior lighting provides your home a certain level of warmth that's hard to achieve with just landscaping. Adding light to walkways, plant beds, patios, or uplighting trees provides dramatic effect homebuyers love when they drive by in the evening. Those same buyers will also appreciate the extra security which comes with having a well-lit facade.

Lighting adds considerable value to the rear of the home as well. You can easily enhance your patio or deck with landscaping lights, many of which are solar-powered and require little maintenance or upkeep. Decorative lighting strung from a pergola further enhances outdoor entertaining spaces.

Lighting doesn't just improve a home's curb appeal at night, though. Choose architecturally interesting fixtures for your front porch or post lighting. If your home features a distinctive design style — mid-century modern or Craftsman, for example —  the fixtures you add will further accentuate the home's aesthetics.


For your home to truly stand out to buyers, it often comes down to small details. While you might be limited by an HOA's regulations and rules on uniformity, don't ignore commonly overlooked elements that can elevate an exterior with a genuine personality.

For example, if your home is scarce on flower beds, potted seasonals on a walkway or patio will add a needed pop of color. If the base of your trees are barren or have exposed root systems, consider building a tree ring if it won't impact its health. For something even more simple and cost-effective, try substituting decorative landscaping rocks for mulch instead. 

Finally, replace those commonly overlooked items such as doorknockers, house numbers, and even your mailbox. Again, consult any neighborhood codes or standards first, but improving even these smallest of details can dramatically affect curb appeal and make your house more competitive on the market. 

Ready to explore the best of Marin County real estate? Contact April Smith today if you’re home searching or looking to list your current residence. From Sun Valley real estate to San Rafael homes for sale, April and her team's years of experience and expertise will guide you through the Marin County luxury real estate market.


Work With April

April was honored with the California Association of Realtors Rising Star Award. She has succeeded in a multitude of varied sales positions throughout her professional career, garnering top awards at both Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, family-operated businesses.