Does Curb Appeal Really Matter To Buyers?

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I have never seen so many “For Sale” signs like I am seeing now!  Families are wanting to scale down, scale up, they are moving to another city or state and some families simply long to have more land and privacy. But there are some homes that I would just LOVE to go knock on their door and give them just a little bit of help in how to “win the beauty contest” in their curb appeal.

If you are moving, what people see when they FIRST drive up to your home is HUGE! HUGE! It really does set a tone. But it’s when they get inside that it really matters. I know the realtor that you work with plays the largest part in selling your home, but one key in staying on MLS the least amount of time is this – does your house win the beauty contest? That is really what it boils down to.

Each personal home I’ve sold (I’ve lived in & sold a total of 7 in my lifetime) and each one was either in contract within the first 24-48 hours of being in MLS, or it was in contract and sold before ever being listed in MLS. All the realtors we used in MS and TN were top notch, but the key in “working with” your realtor is also “doing what needs to be done for it to show well.”

The key is this – “HOW YOUR HOME IS STAGED” – including the exterior.  I can help with that … it’s something I am very passionate about and love doing! I thoroughly enjoy helping people prepare their home, not just to show well, but to have a SOLD sign in the yard as quickly as possible.

So, this blog is about curb appeal because honestly, that is where it matters FIRST. One of my services through our business, “Interior Inspirations,” is offering assistance in “Exterior Inspirations” – giving you a master plan in how to create the best curb appeal starting with what you already have in your yard, without having to go buy loads of landscaping. If you are trying to sell your house, contact me at lisa@ and I will be happy to help you!


When I look at this photo, I see “too much.”  Too may branches hiding the house, too much in front of the lattice, and too much that is being hidden of the house. When you are trying to sell your house, the curb appeal needs to show as much of the structure of the home as possible. Nothing hiding the roof, the corners of the house, nothing hiding the porches, etc. And landscaping should always be neat, tight, groomed down, and manicured smaller to make the house appear even larger. Large overgrown landscaping dwarfs the house.


Here is what I would do – Remove the whispy purple shrubs in front of the porch on both sides. Replace them with either Winter Gem Boxwoods or Dwarf Nandina. I would trim the Crape Myrtles to be much tighter, shorter, not exceeding the roof and definitely not touching the roof. I’d move the planters to right on top of the porch – right when you get on the top step – placing one on the left and one on the right. That way you have the pop of red color against the stark white trim and the gray flooring. Right now, they are lost in the shades of the overgrown Crape Myrtles.


This is a beautiful Crape Myrtle, but what I like most is the homeowner planted it plenty of distance away from the house, giving it all the room it needs to show off what it is so appreciated for – the long lush branches with plenty of foliage. When Crape Myrtles are planted so closely to the house, as it grows it begins to press agains the house and roof. But if this tree were located at a house with a For Sale sign in the yard, then I would make a few improvements.

II curb appeal 1

I would remove the low hanging branches, making the base of the branches level with the top of the black shutter. Then I would significantly trim back the tree that can be seen at the far left of the photo. You can tell by the way it is shaped and its size that it needs to be cut back. Notice how far the tree is from the corner of the house. That is perfect and for that reason, I would add some Dwarf Nandina’s or some low shrubbery.

II curb appeal 1 after

I went ahead and wanted to show some changes this property needs “if” it’s going on the market. The front tree hides the focal point of the house – the front door and the highest gable. I would trim it low and tight, within  the yellow circle. Take off the top of the hedge in front of the arched window, and remove the large cypress tree that is growing too close to the house. Replant it in the back yard or in a side yard. The yellow arrow is pointing to the extra branches of the tree – you can use them, since they are nice and long, in a tall glass vase or urn inside the home for natural decor’…always thinking of how we can bring the outside in! The yellow X’s are showing what needs to be removed from the front bed…they can be replanted and in their place, I’d plant plenty of flowers – in white, reds, and/or golds.

II curb appeal 2

When your landscaping is lacking, it’s very important that what is there is balanced as much as possible.

II curb appeal 3

First, tighten up and make smaller the two tree/shrubs that are paired in front of the house. Second, remove the other two tree/shrubs that have the yellow arrows above them by placing the one on the left even more to the left – uproot and plant it closer to the corner of the front of the house…it is too close to the window. Third, uproot and move the other tree to the far right corner of the front of the house, to the right of the black shutter. Finally, leave the box shrub that has a yellow box around it, but uproot the box shrub that has the yellow X, and replant it in the space where you see the yellow box. That way, each “piece” of landscaping is proportionally planted and balanced across the front of the house.

II curb appeal 3 after

This house is not that far from “done”…

II curb appeal 4

Trim up the front two tall shrubs a little tighter and shorter. Remove the 3 purple bushes in front of the porch and replant them around the tree that is in-between the two front windows. Remove the bush that is on the corner of the house beside the shutter and on the far right, the shrub needs to be trimmed up much smaller and tighter…getting the branches away from the house as much as possible. If you look closely, the tree that is in-between the two windows has a faint yellow dotted arrow showing where to remove the lower branches…making the tree appear taller. If you remove the lower branches (below the yellow dotted arrow), the tree will appear much much taller!

II curb appeal 4 after

The trees and landscaping is so pretty,…but you can’t see the house. If you are selling your house, you will need to trim, cut back, manicure and do as much as you can to SHOW the house from the curb.

II curb appeal 5

1- trim down the row of shrubs that are lining the front brick wall.

2- remove the low hanging branches on the tree

3- trim the branches off of the large crape myrtle in front of the house…the branches are hanging over the sidewalk and hiding the roof.

4- remove the tall shrub on the right…it is thinning and is hiding the window. Replant it in the back, and in it’s place, plant an ornamental shrub like a Japanese Maple.

5- Trim back the branches on the crape myrtle on the far right…making sure the branches do not touch or overhang the roof.

6- where there is nothing but pine straw, plant some pretty white flowers. White would bring out the white in the brick.

II curb appeal 5 after

So quaint…so pretty…so simple…just needs a little bit of work.

II curb appeal 6

Tighten up the tree on the far left…the branches are needing to be cut back tighter. The tree on the far right needs cutting back, too.  As well as the Magnolia tree growing behind it. Then in the front flower beds, add white flowers. The white flowers will add that little touch of “homey.”

II curb appeal 6 after

Can you already see what we are fixing to change with this home?

II curb appeal 7

Tighten up the two crape myrtles in the front – they are too large, touching the house, the roof and the lower branches need to be shaped smaller. There is a third tree and it needs to be removed. When you look to the far right of the house, there are 2 crape myrtles…one needs to be removed. Replant the two crape myrtles in the back or side yard.

II curb appeal 7 after

Look at the brick…what do you see? Trees pushed up against the brick … let’s make some few changes.

II curb appeal 8

1- remove the trees wedged up in the corners…replant them in back.

2- trim up the crape myrtle so that it is not touching the house and is smaller.

3- remove each bush or grass that has an X – replant in back

4- in place of them, plant “color” – flowers.

5- trim up tighter the shrub in the yellow square

II curb appeal 8 after

This is much better…you can see the entire house. But to enhance the curb appeal….

II curb appeal 9

1- remove the hanging ferns – the hide the view to the windows and some look dry. When selling a house, hanging plants actually take away instead of enhancing.

2- some height “could” be added to the corners of the house by adding crape myrtles.

II curb appeal 9 after

Super easy fixes here ….

II curb appeal 10

1- level the hedge on the right to match the hedge on the left

2- remove everything that has an X

3- replace the front 2 X’s with flowers

II curb appeal 10 after

One thing that helps when trying to improve your landscaping is something very easy and FREE. Take photos of your lawn from as many angles as you can. Print off the photos and look at them closely. Usually in photos, you can see more of what needs to be done.

If you would like some ideas or help in getting your curb appeal all prettied up, then comment or email me at lisa@ As homemakers, YOU can do all kinds of things to improve your curb appeal, even if all it is, is – make a Honey Do List!! 😉


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lisa rippy


  1. Pam B. on July 29, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Well done. I enjoyed the home tour and your ideas.

  2. Jessi Wise on September 17, 2016 at 10:45 am

    My, you have a good eye! We have a very bare side entrance and this post really helps me see what to avoid when we get around to prettying it up! Thanks

    • Lisa Rippy on September 19, 2016 at 11:56 am

      It’s usually the little things that make the biggest impact in “froo-frooing” up a space! Even when that space is outside! 🙂

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