Now that you’ve decided to sell your house, a term that you’re probably seeing and hearing a lot is curb appeal. Curb appeal describes the general attractiveness of a house from the outside—say from the perspective of someone standing on the sidewalk or driving by in a car. Think of it as your home’s first impression.

So how can you help your home put its best foot forward? Start with these 5 tips for improving your home’s curb appeal:

1. Make sure your lawn is in tip-top shape.

You don’t have to go crazy—just make sure that you’re keeping up with your regular lawn maintenance tasks, like mowing the grass, picking up sticks and rocks, and trimming or pulling up weeds. If you have bare spots in your lawn and the season is right, put down seeds or sod to help patch things up. (Keep in mind that grass seed can take anywhere from 10 to 30 days to start growing, so make sure you plan ahead!) If your timeline and/or budget is tight, direct more of your resources to the front yard, the first area that potential buyers will see.   

2. Keep trees and hedges looking tidy and trimmed.

While you’re trimming the lawn, don’t forget to give some attention to your trees and shrubs, too. You don’t have to get fancy, but making sure that your hedges and shrubs are uniform and don’t have wild pieces sticking up will go a long way to improving your curb appeal. When it comes to trees, remove any dead or dangerous branches (or hire a professional to do it for you) and lay a bed of fresh mulch around the base of the trunk. If any of your trees are at risk of damaging people or property, discuss the pros and cons of removal with your real estate agent.

3. Keep everything squeaky clean.

You know the old adage: A clean home is a happy home. That goes double for houses that are on the market! While you’re probably aware of all the cleaning that needs to happen inside your home, don’t forget about the outside, too. Rent a pressure or power washer and go to town on your siding, porch and/or deck, and sidewalks and walkways. If time and budget allows, you can really freshen things up with a new coat of paint or wood stain. And if it’s not possible to repaint large areas, you can get a lot of bang for your buck just by repainting your front door.

4. Spruce up your garden beds.

Keeping your outdoor spaces clean and tidy will do a lot to improve your home’s curb appeal, but there’s more you can do, including refreshing any garden beds. To start, if you have plants that you’re planning to take with you, now is the time to move them out of the ground and into pots. Replace them with low-maintenance annuals that will provide a pop of color as well as lighten your workload. Add a fresh layer of mulch around your plants, and you’ll have an enviable but easy garden space ready to be admired by potential buyers. And if you don’t already have garden beds, you can get a similar effect using planters—especially hanging planters that will draw the eye to your home’s entryway. 

5. Go big or go home.

It’s not always necessary, but if you want to make a REALLY big impact through your home’s curb appeal, here are a few extra project suggestions:

  • Change outdoor lighting fixtures.
  • Update your mailbox.
  • Add landscape lighting around walkways and garden beds.
  • Add a fence around your backyard (this will be especially appealing to buyers with kids and/or pets).
  • Renovate just your front porch to give your whole house a facelift.

Your real estate agent will likely have suggestions for how you can leverage your home’s curb appeal to help make the sale. Take their advice into account and do as much as you can. It will pay off once offers start coming in!

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