3 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal This Fall

Follow these steps to create the best curb appeal possible for your home.

By Brennan Doherty | 4 minute read

Sep 22

Perhaps you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but people still do — and the exterior of a home is no different.

The leaves are changing, the kids are back in school, and homeowners across Canada are listing homes for the Fall selling season. However, not every home on the market is destined to be snapped up within 24 hours, no questions asked. Buyers can be choosy. Location matters, but so do the quirks of the home they’re looking to buy — whether it has a patio, how large the driveway is, and even whether or not the gutters are in good shape. 

“Homes are like books: first impressions start with the exterior.”

This rather elusive quality, known as “curb appeal,” is just as important today as it was in the days before online MLS® listings and Instagram. “It’s that curb appeal that’s going to be the ‘wow’ factor, or at least some type of welcoming factor that a buyer will be intrigued by, or think is nice, or want to know more,” says David Birnbaum, a broker with Forest Hill Real Estate in Toronto who’s spent 30 years in the business.


1. Touch up the facade 

Homes are like books: first impressions start with the exterior. Chipped paint, rusting drain pipes, or shoddy railings give the impression a home is well past its prime, even if the bones are beautiful. 

“When I’m working with sellers, I always tell them that the house exterior is the first impression of a property,” says Vivien Wong, a REALTOR® with Bosely Real Esate in Toronto. “So it is important to have it up to a certain standard, and that means making sure things look in good order and tidying things up whenever possible.” 


Wong suggests cleaning up around the yard to make sure there isn’t any debris or junk around. Around now, as the leaves begin to turn, she suggests raking up. In springtime, homeowners should consider planting colourful flowers or add some patio furniture to spruce up the space. 


But attending to the condition of the home itself is what’s most important. Birnbaum says homeowners should consider how their facade looks. Does it need painting? Is the screen door damaged? Is the chimney in bad repair? How about a cracked front step? All of these things may be relatively minor compared to, say, the home’s foundations, but they are small signs that something could be very wrong with the house. 


“It really flags an issue,” Birnbaum says, “and the more flags you have, the more problematic it may be.”


2. Ensure your home’s fixtures match its character 

Plenty of historic century homes are appealing to buyers because of their antique appearance, furnishings, and fixtures. One way to keep a property’s value high is simply to keep any renovations in line with the building’s original character. While adding neon lighting to a 1910 two-storey brick home might seem like an unorthodox touch, a potential buyer might not see it that way. 


Wong pointed to a recent house tour she did with a homeowner who works as a designer. She completely renovated the main floor of the house, and wanted to be sure every aspect of it matched the property’s character. “When she was choosing the tile for the foyer,” Wong explains, “she wanted to be mindful that she wasn’t choosing something that was super modern — that wouldn’t compliment the house itself.” 

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Take the best photos possible  

These days, curb appeal applies to much more than just the view from the street. It also includes how a home’s interior and exterior will look on any number of real estate listings websites. Most buyers will get their first view of a home from there, not by checking it out in person, so you should take your photo spread as seriously as any cosmetic renovations. 


That doesn’t just apply to the inside, either. “If there’s not a picture of the facade, then I think the buyer may say, ‘there’s gotta be something wrong’,” Birnbaum says. In his 30 years selling homes, he says clients frequently worry about why a seller is only sending pictures of specific areas. 

Perhaps, Birnbaum adds, it is human nature for buyers to immediately notice negative traits before positive ones, but the showing process shouldn’t emphasize that. “It really is an introduction to what should be the beginning of something fantastic,” he says.


Brennan Doherty

Wahi Writer

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