Curb appeal plays a significant role in getting your home ready to sell. Among Realtors®, 94% have suggested that sellers improve their curb appeal before listing a home for sale. First impressions are very important to make—it’s in our psychology. Although you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, it’s what buyers do when they first pull up to a property. Making a good first impression could be the difference between a quick sale or coming to the realization that you need a price reduction.

Ninety-nine percent of Realtors® believe that curb appeal is important to attracting buyers. You could say that universally it has a large impact on whether or not your home will sell. But what sort of outdoor features are the most important to a prospective buyer? Not all improvements are treated equally. Here are the top 13 exterior improvements you can make as ranked by Realtors.

  1. Standard lawn care service
  2. Landscaping maintenance
  3. Overall landscape upgrade
  4. Tree care
  5. New wood deck
  6. New patio
  7. Landscape lighting
  8. Fire feature
  9. Irrigation system installation
  10. Statement landscape
  11. Outdoor kitchen
  12. New pool
  13. Water feature

Standard lawn care service was ranked as the number one project that appeals to buyers. Realtors® estimate that lawn care would recover 267% of the cost estimated by landscaping professionals. For example, if you theoretically spent $375 on lawn care services before selling, you would actually see a
return of $1,000. Although lawn care is part of being a homeowner, maybe leave it to the pros when it comes time to sell your home. This especially applies to investment properties too! Home buyers need to visualize themselves living in the home and the yard is the first thing they see.

Not every project you embark on will return the full value of the renovation when you go to sell your home. It is important for agents and clients to understand the difference between the cost of the improvement against the value actually added.

On the other end of the spectrum we have a new pool or water feature. For example, the average cost to install an inground pool at $57,500 would only recover about $25,000. That’s only a 43% value recovered from that project that you thought was an improvement. Think of it as driving a new car off the lot at the dealership—you lose value almost immediately. We believe you recover even less of that cost in regions where you can’t use a pool year round, such as Michigan.

Not every exterior addition is completed with the intention to add value when it comes time to sell. Some exterior features are added simply for the enjoyment of having the feature in your home. If we go back to our pool example, 92% of people who took on the project said they had a greater desire to be home since they installed their new pool. You may love some of these extra exterior features of your home more once you add them. Just don’t expect the next owner to pay the price for every addition.

This information was taken from a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors® from March to April 2018.