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Curb Appeal Essentials

We’re almost halfway through the summer real estate season, with many folks still looking to relocate to Eastern Middle Tennessee before school starts, while a number of current homeowners are in the process of either downsizing or upsizing to different properties.

And while the housing market continues to be brisk and, overall, favorable to sellers, it’s always wise for those listing a home to take smart steps to maximize their property’s value before putting it on the market.

That includes (maybe even begins with) an age-old essential: curb appeal. It’s no secret that a first impression makes a huge difference—whether it’s the thumbnail photo of a listing taken from the street, the first gallery image that pops up on, or the initial gander that prospective buyers get when they pull up to a home for a showing or an open house.

With that in mind, here are some quick tips for increasing curb appeal, culled from several of our favorite go-to sources. Some of these are common sense and might seem like no-brainers, but you can’t go wrong by reviewing the basics and then running with them toward even more creative and inspiring plans.

From Candace Barone, a Master Gardener volunteer in Florida:

— Consider the value boost: “According to, the average home can increase in property value by 15-20% with a well-designed landscape.”

— Start with a full, honest, nothing-is-a-given assessment of your current curb-view aesthetic. For example, “Allowing dead or compromised trees of any size is not only an eyesore but can be a costly mistake should it fracture or fully uproot.”

— Make a plan. “Start from the highest elevation on your property and work your way down to organize the work that needs to be done.”

— Trim or remove dated hedges or shrubs. “Often the original shrubs installed by the home’s developer become landmark plants that are seldom pruned correctly.” Sometimes they grow too high and block natural light from streaming through the home’s front windows.

— Spread the landscaping love around your front areas. “Consider the ground around your mailbox if you have one, install window boxes, and select portable containers” to arrange in different spots.

— Keep up with weeding and mulching. Those tasks, done regularly, “promote garden-wide health of your plant investment and help retain moisture for the roots to thrive.”

Budget-friendly ideas from HGTV:

— Repaint your front door to “add some brightness and revive the look of your entry.” A gallon of paint will run in the range of $35 or less.

— Identify a visually alluring space for new growth. “Start small with a few fast-growing trees and remember to water them often in the first year or so and fertilize them in the spring and fall.”

— Get artistic. “Wall art is not just for interior spaces. Give your home’s exterior some personality by hanging a piece of wall art.”

— Replace the mailbox, especially if it’s on the worn or shabby side. “The price of a new mailbox starts at around $20, and a post and concrete won’t be much more.”

— Clean and wash. “Give your home’s exterior surface a good spit-shine and polish to make it look fresh and well cared for. Rent a pressure washer and clean the driveway, walkways, fences, gutters, siding and whatever else looks grungy.”

Beautifying ideas from Better Homes & Gardens:

— Update old hardware and fixtures. “House numbers, the entry door lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, and a light fixture are all elements that can add style and interest to your home’s exterior curb appeal.”

— Add comfy, colorfully pleasing porch seating. If you’ve got room, “Invite guests to pull up a chair and stay a while with welcoming porch furniture. Look for seating with skids to help prevent damage to your surfaces. Add the cozy feel of a living room with rugs, throw pillows, and end tables.”

— Install (or refresh) outdoor lighting. “Low-voltage landscape lighting significantly impacts your home’s curb appeal while also providing safety and security.”

— Hang a wreath (or other decorative greenery). “Whether placed on your front door or beside it, a wreath is a simple way to personalize your entry.”

— Replace old gutters and downspouts. “If your home has an older gutter system, odds are it’s also suffering from poor gutter maintenance. Peeling paint, rust spots, drooping, and other problems indicate repair or updating is needed.”

Many more helpful ideas and insights are available with a few clicks and scrolls, of course. We hope these few we’ve shared will whet sellers’ aesthetic appetite and inspire them to evaluate their home’s curb appeal and update it where it will be the most beneficial.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.

curb appeal, home sales, sellers