Let’s talk about curb appeal today, and its importance when it comes to selling your home. People often don’t realize how vital it is to make your home look its best from the outside. When buyers drive up, that first impression is key. Of course in most cases these days, they will have already viewed pictures of the home on the internet before they get there. BUT, seeing the house in person, looking nicely kept, clean and bright makes a tremendous difference when potential buyers see the house for real.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to curb appeal:
* Roof and chimney: This may seem obvious, but missing shingles or mortar between bricks does not help sell a home. If your roof looks really bad, buyers may assume they will have to replace it, and that can turn them off immediately.
* Gutters: Something people tend to forget about, gutters that are filled with leaves and debris are not appealing to the eye. Get them cleaned!
* Invest in nice-looking house numbers: Those fancy looking numbers that seem like they cost a lot can be found at your local home improvement store for an average of $12 – $20 per number. A little touch that can add a bit of appeal to your home can make a difference.
* Windows and trim: Peeling or chipped paint? How about all that dirt that’s collected in the window sills that hasn’t been cleaned since you bought the house ten years ago. Scrape and repair paint, clean those sills, and don’t forget to Windex the insides and outsides of the windows.
* Wash the exterior: Really? Do I need to wash my house? Well, it’s your call, but if it’s looking really gnarly, take it into consideration. There are sellers who have washed the outsides of their homes and bumped up the asking price by $10,000 to $15,000!
* Landscaping: Well-designed landscaping can add to the value of your home. In some cases, by %7 – 14%. There is a caveat though. See the third “Don’t” below for more.
* New front door: A new and upgraded door can add a lot of curb appeal to a home. In a recent study by Therma-Tru, it was found that a new door added $8,000 in value to a $190,000 home. Just remember when choosing your door to think about the general public. Don’t pick something so over the top that it might turn people off.
* Change the mailbox: If your box is old, rusted and/or dented, getting a new one can certainly add to the appeal of the home. You can often purchase a nice mailbox for about $50, whether it’s a door-side one or freestanding.
* Replace light fixtures: OK, you may not realize this, but oftentimes if buyers are really serious about purchasing your home, they will do drive-bys. And sometimes at night. So even if you don’t allow actual showings after dark, people may still be looking at your home. Invest in some nice lighting that will highlight your walkway, front of the house, and landscaping. Make it look attractive, inviting and elegant.
* Odd paint colors: We all know that house in the neighborhood that each time we pass we say, “What were they thinking?!?” If your house is one of these, repaint! Go for neutrals, not stand-out colors that only appeal to a few. If you are unsure if you have one of these houses, ask your agent to be honest with you. 🙂
* Driveway too cluttered: Park your car elsewhere. If it’s in the driveway, some potential buyers may make the assumption that there isn’t enough storage in the house.
* A landscaping nightmare: You may be an avid horticulturist, but if buyers think your landscaping is going to be too labor intensive to keep up, they may be turned off. This is a good one to have a conversation about with your agent.
* Dead plants and trees: It may be winter and things aren’t looking so good, but definitely get rid of what you can that’s no longer viable (leaves, plants).
* The neighbor’s house: This is a tricky one. Unsightly neighbors’ homes can turn potential buyers off. There isn’t a lot you can do, unless you are on good terms with them and/or are willing to shell out the money to have their yards fixed up.
* Your stuff: Toys, statues, lawn ornaments… When selling your home, you should plan to de-personalize it. I know, I know. “But I love my pink flamingoes.” Best advice? Retire them to the garage (or even better, a yard sale!). 🙂