An outdoor living area can be a beautiful respite when it is tidy  and refreshed.

An outdoor living area can be a beautiful respite when it is tidy and refreshed.

Photo provided by Caron Koteles Riha

Add curb appeal to your home with tips from the experts

By: Gena Johnson | Metro | Published July 25, 2023

 Fresh mulch, plants free of dead leaves and stems, and bright flowers enhance the appearance  of the home.

Fresh mulch, plants free of dead leaves and stems, and bright flowers enhance the appearance  of the home.

Photo provided by Caron Koteles Riha


METRO DETROIT — “Tidy,” “refreshed” and “exciting” are some of the words to describe a home whose owners have increased its curb appeal.

It has been said that first impressions are everlasting. Curb appeal is the first encounter that homebuyers have with a property. So whether prospective buyers are cruising the neighborhood on a nice sunny afternoon or viewing the listing on their phones, real estate agents agree: make it a good first impression.

Some leading metro Detroit real estate agents recently shared tips to increase curb appeal.

“The first image in the marketing is typically the front exterior of the home,” said Alan Jay, of Century 21 Curran & Oberski.

“First impressions go a long way. I always advise my sellers, if they have the physical and financial ability to dress up their curb appeal to either match or supersede their neighborhood’s curb appeal, that that would be ideal,” he said.

Part of the matching or superseding process begins with cleaning.

“Do a good spring and fall cleanup,” said Nancy Robinson, of Century 21 Curran & Oberski.

Power-wash the driveway to remove grease stains. Power-wash the exterior of the house to remove dust or mold. Clean the gutters, particularly after a storm or windy weather.

Remove all debris. Cut the grass and edge the lawn. Trim the shrubs, plant flowers and lay fresh mulch. Remove all the weeds from cracks in the driveway. Fill in cracks in the driveway or cement so it is flat.

According to real estate agents, these projects pay off exponentially.

“Clean the windows and open the blinds,” said Robinson. “Your house looks a lot more inviting when the windows are clean and the blinds are open. It doesn’t look quite as closed up.”

Make the property tidy by removing lawn items.

“They want to at least put it in the backyard where it cannot be seen from the street,” said Caron Koteles Riha, of Real Estate One/Max Broock.

Refresh by painting the front door and adding a new doorknob. Sand and paint any rusty banisters. Remove and replace torn screens.

“Replacing the front porch light — make sure it is new and modern,” Robinson said. “They are pretty inexpensive and it’s a lot of bang for your buck.”

Robinson also suggests making the house number more noticeable from the street.

A mat at the front door that evokes excitement can be a plus when showing the house.

“If you have a doormat, (have) something that has enthusiasm. It sets the tone of the showing,” Jay said.

Part of a refreshed look includes landscaping.

According to Koteles Riha, flowers and shrubs show a pride of ownership that is very appealing to a buyer.

“If (buyers) are looking at several different homes and there’s one that has nice shrubs and fresh flowers, it just makes them feel happier,” Koteles Riha said. “Landscaping is proven to increase the value of a home. It doesn’t necessarily have to be professional. It just has to look good.”

According to Koteles Riha, shrubs and flowers that look good and are hearty — and economical — are boxwood shrubs, impatiens and begonias.

“I like begonias because you really can’t kill them,” Koteles Riha said.

Some are finding microclover to be a good replacement for grass.

“There is a new trend coming in to replace grass with microclover,” Robinson said.  “It will be very interesting to see where that goes.”

Jay has had microclover for about a year.

“The reason I did it is, it’s less maintenance than grass. Microclover requires less water, so it is more environmentally friendly. It grows slower,” Jay said.

According to Robinson, in the summer, the grass in metro Detroit goes dormant and can be seen turning brown. Microclover may be a remedy for that.

“It is very vivid, beautiful, electric green that I have right now,” Jay said.

Sellers should keep pets out of sight when showing their homes.

“Buyers can stigmatize a property as having potential issues due to their odor and their behavior,” Jay said.