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Even if you aren’t preparing to sell your home, improving your home’s “curb appeal,” or it’s outside appearance, is important for many reasons. 

No one wants to be the one home in the cul-de-sac with the chipping paint and the overgrown grass - and be the target of the homeowner’s association or neighborhood gossip!

Curb appeal is a term used by realtors to refer to the attractiveness and overall appeal of a property when viewed from the street or curb.

But curb appeal is more than just a fresh coat of paint and mowing the lawn. Your curb appeal is also a huge contributor to your home’s overall value - and your home equity. 

Let’s explore what curb appeal really means and the top ways to improve yours in this article.

What does “Curb Appeal” Mean?

Curb appeal is essentially how attractive your house is to potential buyers. Curb appeal represents the visual impression that a property makes on passersby, potential buyers, or visitors. “It’s the first impression potential buyers have of the home, and is important in setting the tone for their perception of the property,” says Miami real estate agent Trey Van Tuyl. 

Curb appeal encompasses various factors, such as the exterior appearance, landscaping, architectural design, cleanliness, and overall condition of the property. A property with strong curb appeal is visually appealing, well-maintained, and can create a positive first impression - enhancing its overall value and desirability.

Curb appeal should make your home eye-catching from afar - it doesn’t just mean a nice or attractive exterior. Even if a home is beautiful up-close, you may not be able to see it from the street through foliage, trees, gates and weeds. Curb appeal is the ability of a home to be attractive all the way from the sidewalk or curb. Adding curb appeal is, therefore, any effort or project that will make a home more attractive from the street to potential buyers, visitors or on-lookers. 

Curb Appeal Expert Tip: A common misconception about curb appeal’s meaning is that it solely focuses on the appearance of the front yard or exterior of the house. However, curb appeal extends beyond just landscaping and includes other elements such as the condition of the driveway, entryway, windows, and even the overall cleanliness of the property. It’s important to consider all these factors to create a well-rounded and appealing curb appeal for your home.

Why is Curb Appeal Important?

Curb appeal helps maintain the perceived value of your home. A first impression is everything and curb appeal is your home or neighborhood’s first impression, according to Donovan Reynolds, a Georgia real estate agent. 

The reason that curb appeal plays such a huge role in the value of your home is because that home viewings and appraisals are typically pretty short - and viewers don’t have very long to make an opinion. 

Most realtors consider curb appeal to be absolutely essential when selling a home - but it’s also important in general. 

The outside of your home contributes to its overall value just as much as the inside, and you want the outside to reflect the inside as well. 

Certain projects that add curb appeal - like painting, landscaping, etc. - can increase the value of your home, too. 

Even your neighbor’s curb appeal can affect your own home’s attractiveness - so it’s important for your home, and its surrounding homes, to look nice.

Does Curb Appeal Increase Home Value?

It’s difficult to say definitively because it’s not a black-and-white issue. It depends on the project, your home, and your home’s location.

But - according to the National Association of Realtors, when homeowners invest in professional landscape services to design and maintain their yards, their home’s value can increase by nearly 15%.

Even just replacing stunted plants, trimming shrubs, adding fresh mulch, and keeping your lawn healthy and trimmed can add 7% to your home’s value. 

Having a higher curb appeal can lead to a house being appraised at a higher price than another house of the same size and features but with lower curb appeal, but it’s never a guarantee. 

The Top Curb Appeal Renovation Trends of 2023

Embracing Natural Boundaries

Instead of traditional fences, homeowners are embracing a more natural approach by using landscape features to define their property lines. Hedges, bamboo, and ornamental grasses are becoming popular choices for creating beautiful borders.

Copper Accents

Copper is making a statement in exterior decor, adding pops of warmth and elegance. Homeowners are incorporating copper fixtures in outdoor lighting, house numbers, gutters, and downspouts.

Earth Tones and Moody Dark Colors

The latest trend in paint colors lean towards boldness with earth tones and moody dark shades. Bright hues are being replaced with colors that make a striking and dramatic impact.

Embracing Organic Shapes and Curves

The influence of modern organic interior design is extending to outdoor spaces. Homeowners are opting for curving pathways and embracing organic shapes, moving away from the clean lines and manicured hedges of the past

Wood Accents for Natural Appeal 

Wood accents are gaining popularity, particularly when paired with earthy color palettes. Incorporating wood elements adds warmth and natural beauty to the overall curb appeal of a home.

The Most High-Value Curb Appeal Renovations


Transform your outdoor space with well-maintained lawns, vibrant plants, and neatly trimmed hedges. Landscaping creates an inviting atmosphere and leaves a lasting impression on visitors. According to The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) landscaping has an ROI between 15% - 20%. Although some other curb appeal home improvements may have higher ROI, landscaping is a truly inexpensive upgrade that’s easy to do.

Exterior Painting Brilliance

Freshly painted exteriors can breathe new life into your home. Choose colors that harmonize with the neighborhood and highlight architectural features, instantly increasing its curb appeal. According to HomeGain painting the exterior leads to a 55% ROI.

Entry Doors 

Upgrade your front door to an eye-catching design that complements your home’s style. A visually appealing and secure entry door adds charm and sets the tone for the rest of your property. According to Remodeling Magazine, investing in a new entry door has an average ROI of 74.9%

Garage Door

Don’t neglect your garage door - it’s a prominent feature of your home’s facade. Replace it with an attractive and modern design to elevate your curb appeal and create a cohesive look.

Window Enchantment

Updated windows not only improve energy efficiency but also enhance the overall aesthetics of your home. Choose stylish windows that match your home’s architectural style and provide visual appeal. According to Modernize the average window ROI of up to 85%

The Easiest Curb Appeal Upgrades

These DIY curb appeal projects are relatively easy and can be accomplished with basic tools and materials. They offer an opportunity to personalize your home’s exterior and make a positive first impression without requiring extensive expertise or professional assistance. Remember to take your time, follow safety guidelines, and enjoy the process of transforming your home’s curb appeal on your own

Enhance the Front Door 

One of the easiest and most impactful DIY curb appeal projects is to spruce up your front door. Give it a fresh coat of paint in a bold color that complements your home’s exterior. Add new hardware, such as a stylish doorknob and a door knocker, to give it a polished look.

Update House Numbers

 Replace your outdated or worn-out house numbers with new ones that are modern and easy to read. Consider using materials like metal, wood, or acrylic for a contemporary touch. Properly position them near the front door or on a visible surface for maximum impact.

Install Outdoor Lighting

 Add some charm and safety to your home’s exterior by installing outdoor lighting fixtures. Solar-powered lights are a great DIY option since they don’t require electrical wiring. Place them strategically along walkways, near the front door, or around landscaping features to create a warm and inviting ambiance.

Revitalize the Mailbox

 A worn-out mailbox can detract from your home’s curb appeal. Consider giving it a makeover by repainting it or replacing it with a new one that complements the style of your home. You can also add decorative elements, such as flowers or greenery, around the base to make it more visually appealing.

Maintain the Landscaping 

A well-maintained and tidy yard can significantly improve your home’s curb appeal. Trim overgrown shrubs and hedges, mow the lawn regularly, and remove any weeds or dead plants. Consider adding some colorful flowers or potted plants near the entryway to add a welcoming touch.

How To Pay For Low-Cost Curb Appeal Home Improvements 

When it comes to small and DIY curb appeal projects, finding the right financing option can make all the difference. While personal savings or credit cards may be viable options, one financing solution stands out as particularly advantageous: a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). With its flexible terms, lower interest rates, and accessibility of funds, a HELOC can be the ideal choice for homeowners looking to fund their small and DIY curb appeal projects.

Let’s explore why a HELOC is the best option to pay for these projects and how it can make your exterior upgrades a reality while maintaining financial control

  • Flexible Financing: A HELOC provides homeowners with a revolving line of credit, allowing them to borrow funds as needed for various projects. With small and DIY curb appeal projects, you may not need a large lump sum of money upfront. A HELOC gives you the flexibility to access the funds as you go, making it convenient for smaller-scale renovations
  • Lower Interest Rates: HELOCs often come with lower interest rates compared to credit cards or personal loans. This can result in cost savings, especially for long-term projects or if you need to borrow a larger amount. By using a HELOC, you can take advantage of favorable interest rates and potentially save money on financing costs
  • Control Over Repayment: With a HELOC, you have control over the repayment terms. For smaller curb appeal projects, you can choose to make interest-only payments during the draw period, which can help manage your cash flow. This allows you to focus on completing the projects without immediate pressure to repay the principal amount borrowed
  • Accessibility of Funds: DIY projects often require ongoing purchases of materials, tools, and supplies. Having a HELOC in place ensures that you have easy access to funds whenever you need them. Instead of relying on personal savings or credit cards, a HELOC provides a dedicated source of financing specifically for your curb appeal project. 

How To Pay For High-Cost Curb Appeal Renovations

Embarking on a large curb appeal project can significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal and value of your home. However, financing such endeavors can be a considerable challenge. If you’re considering a major curb appeal project with a budget exceeding $15,000, a Home Equity Loan can be the best financing option available to homeowners. With its attractive interest rates, substantial borrowing capacity, and potential tax benefits, a Home Equity Loan provides a reliable and accessible source of funding for upgrading your home’s exterior. Let’s explore why Home Equity Loans are the ideal choice for financing large curb appeal projects

  • Competitive Interest Rates: Home Equity Loans often come with lower interest rates compared to other types of loans, such as personal loans or credit cards. By leveraging the equity in your home, you can access funds at a more favorable interest rate, potentially saving you a significant amount of money over the life of the loan
  • Substantial Borrowing Capacity: Home Equity Loans allow you to borrow a substantial amount of money based on the equity you have built up in your home. With larger curb appeal projects that require a significant investment, having access to a higher loan amount can provide the financial resources needed to complete the project to your satisfaction
  • Fixed Repayment Terms: Home Equity Loans typically offer fixed repayment terms, meaning you’ll have a predictable monthly payment over the life of the loan. This can help you budget and plan your finances more effectively, knowing exactly how much you need to pay each month to repay the loan
  • Potential Tax Benefits: In certain cases, the interest paid on a Home Equity Loan may be tax-deductible. However, it’s important to consult with a tax professional to understand the specific tax implications based on your individual circumstances and the applicable tax laws in your jurisdiction. Taking advantage of potential tax benefits can provide additional savings on the cost of financing your curb appeal project
  • Preservation of Savings: Using a Home Equity Loan to fund a large curb appeal project allows you to preserve your savings and investments. Instead of depleting your cash reserves or dipping into other savings accounts, you can leverage the equity in your home to finance the project, keeping your savings intact for emergencies or future financial goals.

Biggest Curb Appeal Renovation Mistakes

Even if you’re not looking to put a ton of effort into your home’s curb appeal, there may be some things that are secretly doing you harm that you’re not aware of. 

It’s important to know what may or may not be affecting your curb appeal currently - and subsequently, your neighbor’s asking price on their home.

No planning

“Just plunking plants here and there isn’t going to cut it,” says Sean O’Brien, the CMO at Modloft. 

Your curb appeal should be intentional - adding random plants, decorations or accessories to your home without concern for the overall look is just going to make your home look cluttered or out of place. 

Peeling paint

One of the worst things homeowners can do is ignore peeling paint. Anything that makes people wonder about what condition the home must be in, or makes it appear to be not well-taken-care of.

The paint on your home will overshadow all your other efforts toward curb appeal if it’s not in good shape. 

Dirty decor

Snowstorms, rain, animals, and time in general can start to wear on your outdoor furniture and decor. 

You can’t just expect to furnish your outdoor space and let it sit until the end of time. Tattered or broken lawn ornaments and furniture look much worse than none at all. 

Make sure to check on your curb appeal after each season, and any major weather events.

Unkempt landscaping

Taking care of basic yard maintenance greatly increases curb appeal and costs nothing. Overgrown gardens, dying plants, weeds and brown grass, and out-of-control shrubbery all make a home look dirty and lower value. 

This also includes any pavement. If pavement is dirty and cracked - even in a minor way, this can reflect badly on the overall appearance of the home. 

If you’re looking for ways to finance an outdoor project - check out RenoFi’s guide to landscaping and backyard loans.

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