4 Front Entryway Mistakes Real Estate Agents Wish You Wouldn’t Make

published Oct 2, 2022
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Curb appeal is a big deal in the world of real estate. If you’re looking to sell your home, an attractive and tidy exterior can wow buyers before they even set foot in the door.

But curb appeal is more than just mowing the lawn or placing a flower pot full of bright blooms by the door. For your front walkway in particular, it’s about creating an attractive yet safe entrance to your home — one that says “Welcome!” as opposed to “Keep out!”

“The way your entry looks is a huge indicator of how you took care of your property,” says Kristen Conti, broker-owner of Peacock Premier Properties in Englewood, Florida. “First impressions are very important.” 

So important, in fact, that they go far beyond good looks; curb appeal also about how it makes the buyer feel, says Conti. When she arrives at a property listing with a prospective buyer, she gauges their reaction as they approach the front door

“I stop and ask them what they think the inside of the house will look like based on this walk,” she says. “It is a great exercise, and many times they quickly learn the way we live in our home and the way we sell our homes are sometimes very different.”

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Sidestep these kinds of entryways.

There are many ways to transform your home’s walkway into something that will make buyers gawk at it from the curb. But there are a few types of entryways that will make it a harder sell, according to some real estate agents. Here’s what to avoid or fix when it’s time for you to spruce up your place for sale.

Wood, gravel, or dirt walkways

Conti recommends avoiding wood chips, gravel, or packed dirt for entrance walkways because they create an uneven surface. “If they are not maintained regularly, they can be a real eyesore,” she says. 

If you do have one of these materials lining your walk, Conti says make sure it’s filled in well to create a smoother surface. Take care to remove any weeds or other yard debris so that it’s as neat and as clean as possible, too.

Too many steps

A few steps leading up to your front door — we call it a stoop in New York City — isn’t a deal breaker. But if you’ve got a veritable flight of stairs to your front door, it could impede a sale, says Steven Gottlieb, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Warburg.

“So many of us arrive home with packages and groceries, and that added staircase to get inside makes life more difficult,” Gottlieb explains, noting that many buyers will comment on such an entryway. “If someone is disabled, it can make life complicated if there is a staircase at the entrance,” he says. “Many high rises with steps have ramps at their entrances, as they should.” 

Again, it’s not a deal breaker to have steps in front of your home. But if you have too many stairs, it could turn off some buyers, including those with limited mobility and families with young children.

A messy or disheveled walkway

A walkway free of dirt and debris is a must-have, says Conti. Depending on your region and the season, this means the path should be swept free of fallen leaves and shoveled neatly for a snow-free entrance. But in general, a clean walkway means no mold or mildew on the sidewalk and no grass or weeds growing up through the cracks. Grab a power washer or a weed whacker to address either accordingly before you list.

Any walkway that’s cracked or uneven

Conti has lost count of how many times either she or a client has tripped or gotten a heel caught in a cracked walkway. If a brand-new walkway is not in the budget for you as a seller, then try to repair or replace parts of it for a safer entrance. 

Keep the pathway free of clutter, too — even if you mean for it to be decorative. “If you love plants and have them lining the walkway, it is best to move those to a new location while trying to sell your home,” Conti says.

This is the path to buyers’ hearts.

If you do have money to invest in curb appeal, Conti says that paver driveways will appeal to most buyers. Stamped concrete with a non-skid additive is another option — just make sure it’s sealed and pressure washed before you list, Conti says. She notes that there are hardscape companies that use epoxy products to freshen up the look of driveways and walkways, too. 

Natural flagstone is also a good option for a walkway, plus it can be more affordable. According to Angi, it comes in at just $2 to $6 per square foot. When accented by a neatly manicured front yard — think mulched flower beds or decorative planters — it can provide an 83 percent return on investment.

Unless your walkway is completely unwalkable, it might only take some minor fixes to get it up to snuff. It all depends on your local market and the asking price you have in mind.

Buyer expectations on lower-end homes or those that are advertised as fixer-uppers differ greatly than luxury homes, for example,” says Conti.