What is Curb Appeal?
The attractiveness of a home as viewed from the street, otherwise known as “curb appeal”, is a key factor in minimizing time on market and maximizing competition for real estate listings. The interior design of a home may be incredible, but if the landscaping is unkempt, the paint is fading, or there are cracks in the driveway, buyers may assume there are other maintenance issues inside or in hidden areas. And this can be a deal breaker for some buyers… they may not even bother going inside if the curb appeal is lacking.
If a home has a well-maintained lawn, attractive landscaping, and a freshly painted exterior, however, it will stand out from competing listings that have not put as much effort into their curb appeal. According to a study by Zillow Research, houses with high curb appeal can sell for up to 5% more than houses with low curb appeal. That’s over $17,400 in additional cash based on the 2022 average U.S. home price! And the strong first impression good curb appeal creates can set a good tone for home tours and give buyers a more positive perception of the rest of the home.
What is Quality Score?
We built QualityScore.ai to help homeowners and investors rate the curb appeal of homes and investment properties alike, and to show them what can be done to improve their Quality Score. Our algorithm can rate any property’s curb appeal on a 1-100 scale, and automatically identifies which elements are detracting from the score and which are adding to it.
Why Use Quality Score?
Quality Score and Rent Source can be used in combination to automatically pull comparable properties and analyze properties in bulk to identify value-add opportunities. Our algorithms were developed with efficiency in mind, and with our cost-effective bulk pricing, real estate investors and developers can source deals and pull real estate data directly into their existing workflows.
Tips for Improving Curb Appeal
Fortunately, we’ve found that in most cases there are a few simple, low-cost changes you can make to a home's exterior to significantly improve its Quality Score and even potentially increase its value. Here are a few simple tips the team at QualityScore.ai put together to help you improve curb appeal and add value to your home or real estate listing:
- Paint the Door – Painting the front door is an easy and cost-effective way to improve the appeal of a home's exterior. Choosing a bold color can make a statement and add personality to your home. Classic options include black or charcoal, while brighter shades like red or yellow can add some pizzazz. It’s pretty cost effective too – with $30 or less you should have enough paint to freshen up the door with a high-quality weather resistant coat.
- Get a New Mailbox – Replacing the mailbox is a small detail that can make a big difference in the overall look of a home. If the mailbox is rusty or in disrepair, it can give the impression that a home is poorly maintained. Investing in a new mailbox can give your home a polished and welcoming appearance. A new mailbox without a post can cost as little as $20. If you need a mailbox with a post, it will likely cost around $75. You should consider adding a flowering garden around your mailbox too, especially if it is located closer to the road. This can make the front yard more welcoming and inviting. You can also enhance the look of a mailbox by painting it and the post to coordinate with the colors of your home.
- Update Door Hardware and Street Numbers – Updating the street numbers and hardware is another easy strategy to improve a home's curb appeal. Old or outdated numbers and hardware can make your home look dated, while new and modern options can give it a fresh and updated look, particularly if you choose the same style hardware for everything. This quick and inexpensive project can have a transformative effect on a home's exterior, and can be implemented for about $35.
- Re-Paint the Garage Door – Painting the garage doors can also have a massive impact on your home's curb appeal. Matching the color to your siding can help the doors blend in and make them less of an eyesore. Alternatively, using the same contrasting color as your front door can add some visual interest. This is a weekend project that can be done with fast-drying exterior paint. Additionally, putting some decorative hardware on your garage doors is a simple way to add interest and character to a home's exterior. Magnetic options are an easy and non-permanent choice, while temporary hardware can be removed when you want a change. For this project, the paint would likely cost around $75 for a 2-car garage, and magnetic decorative hardware is under $30.
- Add Some Greenery – Adding some color and warmth to the front porch can make it a more welcoming space. Potted plants and a colorful welcome mat are easy and inexpensive ways to spruce up the porch, and you can get a couple of potted plants and a nice welcome mat for under $100 at Home Depot. Window boxes or planters filled with flowers or plants can also add some life to a home's exterior. They can be placed on windowsills or hung on the walls, and can be changed out with the seasons for a fresh look. Window planters are a bit more expensive, but you can get some sleek designs for about $100 a piece and it’s definitely worth the investment.
- Update Exterior Lighting – Updating the outdoor lighting can improve safety and add some ambiance to a home. Options like motion sensor lights or decorative lanterns can add some character and make your home more welcoming. Illuminating a clear path to your front door also adds warmth and security, and can be accomplished with a few solar-powered spotlights hidden in garden beds aimed them along the walkway. Solar powered lights are only around $50 for a set of 10, and decorative lanterns are around $100 each on average.
- Power Wash & Weed – Power washing your siding and walkways can remove dirt and grime, making your home look cleaner and better maintained. This is a quick and easy project that can be done with a pressure washer if you have one, or by hiring a professional. If the driveway is damaged or overgrown with vegetation, consider repairing the cracks and stains, and removing the weeds. You can also improve the appearance of your driveway by staining the concrete or adding flagstones. Creating a well-defined border between the paved and unpaved surfaces of your driveway can help to set it off and enhance its appeal. You can get a Ryobi electric power washer for $99 at Home Depot – it may not be as powerful as the more expensive gas-powered ones, but it will get the job done!
- Paint The Exterior – Adding a fresh coat of paint to a home's exterior can give it a new lease on life. This can be a more time-consuming and costly project (exterior painting jobs cost about $3,000 on average), but it can greatly improve the appearance of your home and add more value to your property than it costs. Choose a color that complements your home's style and surroundings. Additionally, make sure to repair defects such as cracks or rotting material, which can negatively impact the appearance of a home and turn away potential buyers. You should consider adding personal touches to a home's exterior through the use of color, trim, or shingles. This can help to enhance its aesthetic appeal.
While training the algorithm for QualityScore.ai, we saw so many homes receive a lower score because of simple landscaping and maintenance issues. Hopefully the above tips show how easy it is to address some of these issues and boost your Quality Score!
QualityScore.ai was designed to help homeowners and investors expedite their search efforts by providing a rating for the curb appeal of a subject property. By training categorization algorithms on thousands of images of facades, streets, sidewalks and other neighborhood imagery, QualityScore.ai can help you analyze a potential home purchase, help identify the prototypical "worst house on the best block", or analyze real estate investment opportunities in bulk. Learn more about the product from the resources below: