Curb Appeal: The Investments You Make to the Outside of Your Home Will Pay Off

Of all the things you can do to improve your yard, the one with the biggest bang for your buck is the simplest.
Front lawn
Photo: Mark Pitt


Curb appeal matters. It’s that first impression someone gets upon seeing your home from the street. Real estate agents will often suggest things sellers can do to increase curb appeal prior to listing their home. Consider it akin to the handshake at the beginning of an interview—an initial impression of a home that inspires people to come inside or to drive on by.


The National Association of Realtors recently did a survey of homeowners across the country, asking them about outdoor upgrades they had made to their home. The survey looked into the cost of an outdoor project, the satisfaction level with the outcome, and estimated which improvements had the biggest benefit when gearing up to sell. 


Turns out, all you have to do is keep your lawn healthy and tidy.


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Photo: Epicstock


The No. 1 project that appealed to buyers was basic lawn care. NAR’s study showed that standard lawn care service would recover 267 percent of the cost when it came time to sell. Next in line: landscape maintenance that includes tree care. These two together will recover 100 percent of costs to a homeowner at the time of sale.


In addition to which investments earn the most bang for your buck, the survey looked at which upgrades make homeowners happiest. A fire feature won with a perfect 10 on NAR’s “Joy Score.” The Joy Score was determined by adding the percentage of respondents who were happy to the number who were satisfied once their project was completed. Right behind fire was a new wood deck, water feature, statement landscape or new patio—all of which ranked 9.7 or higher.


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Things that make homeowners want to stay home? A new pool topped the list, with landscaping upgrades and a new patio close behind. In Hawai‘i, where you can use that pool year-round, that pool is likely to be even more important.


For the full report, visit NAR’s website.


Read more stories by Rachel Ross Bradley