Does your home make a good first impression? If you are selling your home or you are planning to list your home, you should know the answer to this question.

So how do you know if your home has curb appeal? Well, there are a few things you can do.

First, try looking at your home from a buyer’s perspective — literally. When you pull into the driveway or park on the street in front of your house, ask yourself, “does my house look attractive?” Also, try walking across the street and asking yourself the same question. It is not OK to simply say, “I think so.” Remember, this is the first impression a buyer will have of your home; you want it to be a good one. If you are not confident that you can be objective, invite a friend over to help you out.

So while you are seeing your home from a new vantage point, make a list of the positives and another list of things you want to downplay. If you have a beautiful lawn, draw attention to it by adding a few flowering plants or shrubs by the house. If you have a small yard, try to bring the buyer’s attention directly to the home with flower boxes, or by painting your front door a bright new color, like red. Also don’t forget to have your house number easily visible from the street.

Another thing to remember is to keep your yard and entryways immaculate. I cannot tell you how many homes with for sale signs I have driven by recently that have a yard full of leaves, branches and trash.

Make sure to take a look at your front porch and your front door, or from whatever areas buyers might enter your home. It is important that these areas are free of debris and look fresh and new. A new coat of paint on the door is always a good idea. You can also try a few potted plants to make the area more inviting. Avoid flowering plants near an entry as they can attract bees that will make getting into your home a hazard.

This advice also applies to your backyard. Buyers often do “drive-bys” in neighborhoods in which they are interested. This means that as they drive around the block or around the corner, they might get a good view of your backyard. So keep it clean and free of toys and trash as well. Do the same evaluation process you used in the front yard to make sure you are emphasizing the selling features of your space out back.

Julie Chrissis is a professional home stager and interior decorator based in Nashua and Malden. She can reached at