• Curb appeal reflects the buyer's impression of the inside of a home. If it's not good, the buyer might not want to venture inside.
  • Giving a home a new garage door is like giving it a facelift -- a garage door can take up as much as 40 percent of the front of the house.
  • A couple of chairs on the front porch can help potential buyers envision themselves relaxing.

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People often say that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that couldn’t be more true for curb appeal in real estate. The minute that for-sale sign goes up, your listing is under scrutiny by more than just potential homebuyers. Agents, neighbors and the casual passersby will all have an opinion.

Now it’s true that listing agents have gotten more savvy by ditching the camera phone and taking high-quality photos, but what happens when a professional photo isn’t enough?

The consumer’s perception is the consumer’s reality. I’ve said this in regard to the value of agents, but it applies to the value of a home as well. The curb appeal reflects the buyers’ impressions of the inside of the home. They might not even want to go inside if the front of the house looks unappealing.

Sometimes a few quick and inexpensive upgrades can turn a home from average to eye-catching. Lawn care company Lawnstarter just released a report on curb appeal trends for 2016. It provides some great statistics about why curb appeal is so important and some helpful tips to boost the value of your next listing.

1. Paint the front door

The front door is the focal point of a home. As the entrance, it’s an unavoidable feature. A new coat of paint in a bright or contrasting color will enhance the look of a property. You can also add a new knob and hardware for added appeal.

2. Update the garage door

The garage door is similar to the front door in that it’s obvious. Garage doors can easily take up as much as 40 percent of the front of a house, so an upgrade can make a big difference. Try a carriage-style door or a door with windows to enhance your property’s appearance.

3. Lighten up the exterior

This is more than a simple porch light. Accent lights in planters and along the walkways not only make a home feel more safe but also add extra style and elegance.

4. Liven up the landscape

Think beyond just pulling the weeds and mowing the lawn. Planting flowers and adding mulch can make a big difference. And don’t forget to green up your lawn or consider replacing it with water-tolerant landscaping.

5. Put furniture on the porch

A couple of chairs can really help a home look more inviting. Potential buyers will be able to imagine themselves sitting on the front porch drinking iced tea and watching the world go by.

Not only will these tips give your listing a facelift, but your sellers are sure to see a big return on their investment. You can read the full report here.

Tyler Smith is founder and CEO of SkySlope. You can follow him on Twitter or on his blog.

Email Tyler Smith.