How to give your house curb appeal for selling

When it comes to selling your home, a first impression can be a lasting one. Experts say home sellers only have a few key minutes to spark a potential buyer's interest. That's why creating "curb appeal" for a house can be an important part of the selling process-and the first step in the moving process.

The phrase "curb appeal" simply refers to how attractive a house looks from the curb. According to Daniel C. Owens, who has been featured on the Home & Garden Television show "Curb Appeal," a good way to gauge your home's curb appeal is to cross the street and view your house with a critical eye. Look for positive elements that can be highlighted and negative areas that should be concealed. He says a black-and-white photograph of your home may help, too. Color can often affect your perception of problem areas.

Owens is working with Allied Van Lines on its "Creating Curb Appeal" program and developed the following tips. They may help you improve the looks of your home-and possibly increase its sales potential.

• Set the Stage: Take a moment and identify your home's style. Is it Mediterranean? Colonial? Contemporary? Incorporate that theme into the landscape with a few key features that set the stage for visitors, such as basic landscape lighting, a coordinating mailbox or even new house numbers. All these items are available for less than $150, but their visual impact can be worth much more.

• Paint by Numbers: A simple palette of neutral tones (warm browns, ivory or sage green, for example) is a great choice for a home's exterior color. The tones can be complemented with stronger accent colors to provide more of a "pop" from the curb.

• Home Turf: Trees, shrubs and flowers should be trimmed and tidy. Leaves and debris should be removed from the yard. Consider planting fragrant flowers near the front door to greet potential buyers.

• Lighten Up: Keep exterior lights on in the evening and consider adding landscape lighting in case a potential buyer decides to grab a quick look at night.

For more designer tips and to receive Allied's free "Creating Curb Appeal" brochure, visit

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