Exterior Design

Building Curb Appeal

Working on curb appeal and selling single home properties


We just remodeled and sold a home in 20 days. We had an offer in 7 days, but we waited for the right buyer with a better offer. It came to us on day 20 of the listing. One of the most dramatic changes to the property was its curb appeal.

That first impression is so important because you want to entice buyers to come into the home. Buyers need to feel welcome and even charmed to see more of the property.

The front door area sets buyers up for what they will see inside. The color of the door, the style of the entryway, the type of planter pots and plants all influence the buyers as they first approach the property.

New buyers are holding their breath hoping that it’s as beautiful on the inside as the outside. We’ve all had it happen when the outside holds promise, and then when you get to the inside, the experience is a disappointment.

Build your curb appeal with the information below and keep in mind some of the design tips to create a positive approach to successful property sales:

Trim Around the Edges

We needed to trim the trees around the home because they were just too close to the roof. We also trimmed all the shrubbery and weeds. Giving everything a fresh cut makes the home look like it’s been cared for.

Then we mulched the garden beds and edged the driveway. The neat factor of the drive up to the property is as important as the home itself.

We removed any dead or dying shrubbery and trees. There isn’t any reason to hang onto trees that can’t make it, and by trimming down some of the diseased trees and bushes, you may also be removing further infestations from happening.

Clean, Clean, Clean

Power wash the entire home, including the front facade, sidewalks and driveways. It is amazing how dirty everything can get in just a few years. Trees shed and the cobwebs and spiders need to be chased away.

Brick, siding and stucco can actually hang onto grime depending on which way the house faces. Start at the top and work your way down to save on water.

Clean the roof and gutters as best you can. I climbed up on a ladder and washed off all the gutter guards and pulled down the littering branches from the trees.

Repair Absolutely Everything

Repair cracks and trim with caulk and wood filler. Try to smooth out holes and rough patches across the windowsills and doorways.

We replaced every ripped screen door and window screen around the property. This is easy to do if you can take the screens to the hardware store. A fresh screen makes the window or door appear new.

Make sure all tracks of the patio doors and windows are clean and clear. It’s something that can be forgotten and by simply wiping out the bits of leaves and debris, the doors and windows will operate smoothly.

Wash all windows. We used a service for the exterior and interior of the home and it was about $400. Check your area for teams of windows washers that will give you a free estimate.

Design Time

Nothing works better to freshen a home than a coat of paint. With our remodel we painted the burgundy front door and garage doors charcoal. The entire home took on a modern East Coast feel.

We strategically planted giant ferns in the big pots by the garage. We painted the pots black to set them apart from the neutral brick. The large scale of the ferns was so critical to the welcoming “hotel feel” of the stark front walkway.

We replaced every tarnished and broken brass exterior light fixture with new modern black fixtures. The oversized scale of the fixtures also helped the home look more substantial and designed.

Symmetry is important with curb appeal. If possible, try to create symmetry wherever you can with lighting, sidelights and planter pots. On the deck we created symmetry with black metal planter pots that were so desirable the new owners paid extra for the plantings.

Freshness is a key component of all curb appeal. I planted fresh herbs in the window boxes for beautifully green and lusciously scented aroma at the front door. Living gardens create an air of a healthy environment.

Add a seating area if possible. We added a white outdoor armchair to the right of the front door and a white modern bench in the walkway to the front door. Seating elements mean that the curb appeal can be explored and enjoyed by the new owners.

Barbara Schmidt is a nationally published interior designer and marketing expert known for her authentic storytelling about spaces, places and trends @studiobstyle.com.