Curb Appeal, By the Numbers

Curb appeal is all about making the exterior of your home welcoming, attractive, and enticing to buyers. It’s about highlighting your property’s outdoor space, to make your home as appealing as possible to everyone who pulls up to your curb for the first time. 

As a seller, taking curb appeal into account can be incredibly important. To visitors and potential buyers, your home’s outdoor appearance can be a major factor in how valuable they perceive a property to be, and how enthusiastic they are about making an offer. If buyers can’t immediately envision themselves living in and enjoying a home from the outside, there’s no guarantee that seeing the rest of the property will change their minds. 

The Power of First Impressions

Curb appeal is about maximizing your home’s outdoor space, so your listing can make a great first impression — because first impressions really do matter. 

In fact, did you know that a Princeton research study once found that people tend to gain impressions of people and objects within a tenth of a second, and that those initial ideas can be very hard to shake over time? And in today’s market, curb appeal starts making a difference well before buyers ever even see a home in person. 

According to data from the Washington Post, for instance, 87 percent of home buyers say that they relied on photos when house hunting. The Post also notes that professionally photographed homes may sell 32 percent faster than other listings, and can command a 47 percent higher asking price per square foot. 

The Importance of Curb Appeal

It’s hard to overstate the impact positive curb appeal can have for sellers. Indeed, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2018 Remodeling Impact Report, 94 percent of real estate professionals say that they have suggested that sellers improve their curb appeal before listing a home for sale. 

Similarly, according to that report, 99 percent of NAR members say that they believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer — with a whopping 79 percent saying that curb appeal is very important. Meanwhile, 97 percent agree that potential buyers find curb appeal important, with 66 percent saying that buyers tend to rank it as a very important factor when considering homes. 

What Goes Into Curb Appeal?

In essence, curb appeal is about making a home look welcoming and inviting from the outside. Now, with that being said, this means that curb appeal is a broad concept, and it can come in many shapes, sizes, and forms. 

Different sellers are going to have different approaches to curb appeal, depending on the nature of their property, the amount of time and money they want to invest in improvements, and the tastes and preferences of buyers in their local market. Ideas for what makes “good” curb appeal also evolve over time. Like so many other aspects of real estate, curb appeal styles and outdoor design elements go through trends, as consumer tastes change over time. Seasonality can be a big factor, as well, as spring and summer homeseekers may approach homes with a different eye than fall and winter buyers. 

In a poll by the NAR, real estate professionals revealed the projects that they considered most likely to appeal to potential buyers, and those most likely to add resale value to a home. By and large, those projects fell into three broad categories: 

1.) Landscaping maintenance and improvements

Landscaping is a broad category, which might include performing lawn care and tree care, and maintaining or improving your home’s garden or green spaces. Common landscaping projects include adding mulch, mowing the lawn, pruning shrubs, planting flowers and greenery, and trimming trees. 

While they may seem “run of the mill,” these projects can have an enormous impact on your ability to sell a home quickly — and may influence how much you can sell your home for. 

Data cited by the real estate news site HomeLight, for instance, suggests that “a well-landscaped home” can fetch “5.5 – 12.7% more than one with no landscaping.” If you invest time and money in caring for your landscaping, you may also be able to expect to see a sizable return on your investment; in fact, data from HouseLogic suggests that lawn work and maintenance tend to garner 100% ROI, or greater. 

According to the Remodeling Impact Report, 74 percent of REALTORS® say that they have suggested sellers “complete a landscape maintenance program before attempting to sell,” and 17 percent said the project “recently sealed a deal for them, resulting in a closed transaction.” Similarly, 55 percent of REALTORS® suggested that sellers focus on performing standard lawn care service, and nearly half (46 percent) encouraged proper tree care before attempting to sell. 

2.) Exterior home maintenance and upgrades

As prospective buyers soak in the view of your property, they’ll pay close attention to the condition of the home itself. Prior to showing your home, you may want to discuss taking on exterior updates and maintenance projects with your broker. The possibilities run the gamut, and your curb appeal to-do list may include washing and cleaning the exterior of the house, updating or maintaining paint/siding, maintaining or updating the roof, and improving elements like gutters, windows, and the home’s front door. 

When it comes to bringing in buyers, these small projects can have a significant impact. According to reporting by HouseLogic, for instance, failing to keep up with routine outdoor maintenance “can decrease the value of your house by 10%.” Meanwhile, making even small improvements can lead to a big difference. HouseLogic reports that performing a thorough cleaning of the outside of a house can add anywhere from “$10,000 to $15,000 to the sale prices” of certain properties. 

3.) Adding or updating exterior design features

Adding new outdoor design features, or touching up your existing elements, can help step up your property’s curb appeal. Common projects in this category include replacing or updating your mailbox, replacing or updating your fence, adding or improving hardscaping, creating a patio or deck space, adding or updating outdoor lighting features, upgrading to more sustainable outdoor elements, or adding “statement” features, which may include yoga spaces, fire and water features, or special activity areas.

In some cases, these improvements, whether major or minor, can have a striking impact. According to the NAR, 13 percent of REALTORS® have suggested sellers add a statement landscape feature before attempting to sell, for instance. 27 percent of REALTORS® also suggested that sellers upgrade outdoor elements like paths, walkways, and planters, before attempting to sell their home.

How Baird & Warner Makes Selling Your Home Easier

As the largest independent and locally owned real estate brokerage in Chicagoland, the Baird & Warner family has earned success by always making it easier to navigate the selling process, at every step of the way — from pricing your home, to getting your property ready to sell, to marketing your listing, to leading negotiations and closing the sale. 

Your Baird & Warner real estate agent is your selling expert and trusted advisor, and can take the responsibility off your plate, managing all the people and moving parts to make sure you get the results you want. And with mortgage and title services in-house, our full-service approach can transform an intricate, complex process into one that is smarter and more seamless, so your sale goes as smoothly as possible.

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