Kick up the Curb Appeal: 5 Ways to Give Your Home a Great First Impression

Exterior of two-story home with covered porch

Whether you’re meeting your future in-laws or going in for a job interview, first impressions can make all the difference. The same is true for your home—especially when it’s on the market. Even if your house isn’t up for sale, making a few small changes can give your exterior a fresh look and give your guests a warm welcome that reflects your style.

1. Try a new color scheme.

New paint can go a long way to creating a clean and sophisticated look. Be sure to get your color choices approved through your homeowners’ association, if required. If your paint is still in good shape, or you’re not ready for a major change, just update your trim and door colors. It’s less expensive than a full paint job and can have a big impact on your curb appeal.

Remember: “Clean” may be your new color scheme! If you don’t have the budget for exterior painting, renting a pressure washer may be an affordable alternative. A thorough wash may brighten your brick, stone or siding as well as your paint. You may also use this as an opportunity to clean your walkways, driveway, porch and other outside surfaces. If you’ve never used a pressure washer, consider hiring a professional. A poorly aimed stream or the wrong pressure setting could damage your exterior.

2. Switch out your fixtures.

Design is in the details. Changing out the mailbox, door hardware, house numbers, porch light and other lighting fixtures is an easy way to see results fast. For a dramatic, pulled-together look, choose items in the same color and style.

3. Manage your foliage.


Remove overbearing shrubbery, or anything covering a clear view of the entryway. In warmer weather, take care of weeds, plant new flowers and repair any bare spots in the lawn. Pack new mulch on top of the old to give things a fresh look, and buy stone that matches your house brick to create borders and raised garden beds. Remember to mow and water regularly; the better your lawn looks, the less buyers will think about the work it takes to keep it that way.

4. Clear the clutter.

One of the first things a home stager will tell you is to get rid of any clutter that’s making your rooms look smaller and more chaotic. This advice rings true on the outside of your home as well. Remove anything that doesn’t belong in the ideal snapshot of your yard. Make sure kids’ toys and bikes have a place to park in the garage or storage shed when not in use. Minimize the décor, especially when it comes to accessories like garden figures, wind chimes or flags.

Important! If your vehicles don’t fit inside your garage, find somewhere else to park them or—even better—get rid of any clutter that’s taking up your parking space. Leaving your car in the driveway or parked in front of your house does more than block a buyer’s view. It sends the message that maybe your garage isn’t big enough. Add even a minor leak under the hood, and suddenly you have pavement stains to further spoil your curb appeal.

Hands hammering nail into wood

5. Repair or replace.

This applies to anything that’s obviously in poor repair, but two common items that have a direct impact on your curb appeal (and your home’s value) are your gutters and your driveway.

Damaged gutters aren’t just unsightly; they can raise a host of unpleasant suspicions about the condition of your roof and other structural features, possible water damage, landscape drainage and more. Gutters in good condition, in a color compatible with your trim, however, make the home look good and help to protect it at the same time.

Cracked concrete can be a tripping hazard, and it’s your curb appeal that will take the fall. Depending on the severity of the damage and its position, you may have a variety of repair or replacement options. Be sure to compare estimates from several different contractors to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Though gutter and driveway repair can be more expensive than yard work or touch-up painting, it’s best to take care of them before you put your home on the market, if possible. Spending the money up front may help you attract more offers. Besides, a potential buyer may require the repairs as a condition of sale anyway.

Looking for more home-selling tips? Check out the “For sellers” section of our blog!