Curb Appeal Definition

Curb appeal is one of the most often discussed factors relating to residential real estate. But what does it mean, and is it smart to list your house without understanding curb appeal? Here is my curb appeal definition.

Definition of Curb Appeal

Curb appeal simply refers to how much appeal your home has from the street. Looking at the home as if standing on the curb (or driving by), how attractive is it? Are buyers going to want to stop and see the inside? Or will they keep going? The term “drive-by” is also used in residential real estate, in the sense of “make sure you pay attention to boosting your curb appeal so your home is not a drive-by.”

Back before so much home shopping was done online, buyers had to go out and tour homes all day. They usually had a photo or two to go on, not the in-depth interior views that they can get online. So from the curb, a home was still kind of a mystery to buyers. When you’re out looking at homes all day (again, pre-internet), driving up to a home with an unattractive exterior could make for an easy decision to X that one off the list. Sometimes an agent could convince a buyer that it was worth stopping even though the curb appeal was non-existent, but often that wasn’t the case.

Currently, I believe it is easier for a home to overcome a lack of curb appeal than it once was. This is because buyers can see a dozen or more photos of each home for sale before they get in the car. The home may not look great from the street, for whatever reason, but they may see photos of a park-like back yard or a beautifully remodeled kitchen, so they can get past the issues that may have once stopped them from bothering to tour the home.

However, curb appeal is still the most important part of getting your home ready to sell.

But what makes up curb appeal?

The short answer is, everything you can see when looking at your home from the street. Landscaping, condition of lawn, paint color and condition, front door, driveways and walkways, porch/front steps, windows, mailbox, house numbers, exterior light fixtures, etc.

Many of these items may seem insignificant (house numbers, really?) but they really do add up to an overall impression in a buyer’s mind.

Now that we have our curb appeal definition, are you a seller looking to boost your home’s curb appeal? Here are some curb appeal ideas for specific things you can do.