We have all been taught to “not judge a book by its cover” and that “there’s no such thing as love at first sight “. Those sayings boil down to two words in the real estate buying or selling process…..CURB APPEAL!
Curb appeal doesn’t start at the curb, it ends there. With all of the technology available in today’s world, buyers are “surfing” your neighborhood without ever getting in their cars. The pictures of your home and information about it are the first steps in “wooing” the buying market to visit. As the buyer “surfs” through potential properties, you have ONE CHANCE to grab their attention, to make them stop and contemplate your home!
Before they get out of their “virtual” car, they may look for more information. Residential Property Disclosures, Lead-Based Paint Disclosures, HOA docs and other information are many times appearing on the Multiple Listing Service, available for down load. They can also access more on the Internet, such as lot maps, auditor tax information, prior sales info, septic and well records and flood zone maps.
Hopefully, and somewhere along the line, they’ll actually get in their car and either make an appointment to come see your home or at least drive by. What will they see? This is where real CURB APPEAL is crucial!
Good curb appeal is one of the easiest things to achieve, with little to sometimes no cost involved! If it’s winter and there’s tons of snow, shovel an easy path to the door you want them to use. Put a holiday or season appropriate wreath on the door and maybe a battery-operated candle in the front windows. Make sure the drive is clear of snow and that two cars can easily park . This shows your concern for their safety and comfort when entering your home in inclement weather. In the spring or summer, keep your yard tidy and free of debris, toys, tools, rubbish cans, etc. Make sure the shrubs are trimmed neatly and not encroaching on the house. You want your buyers to see the house, not just the plantings! During good weather, your visitors will want to walk the property, check out the backyard, envision where their porch swing will go or where to put the sandbox. And having dogs is quite fine, but need I say it?? Please pick up all the dog doo-doo in your yard. Nothing turns off a buyer more than having to “tip toe through the tulips” when checking out the property! In the fall, keep the leaves raked and the flower beds maintained, ready for the next season’s plantings.
If your home doesn’t stand out, there are some very easy things you can do. Mulch the plantings against the house or the trees in the front yard. Paint the front porch steps a color that’s unique but appropriate for the home and perhaps the front door to match. My house is dark blue and white, but I painted my front door a dark purple as a “punch” of color. If your bungalow looks drab, try adding contrasting shutters to the front windows. Hanging flower pots are always attractive. Solar lighting along the front and walkways is a cheap alternative to wired lights and add a feeling of “home” during the dusk hours. Make sure your entry point is freshly painted with no peeling paint or signs of neglect. Nothing is worse than trying to open the door when there’s a circle of grime and grease around the door handle from years or decades of folks using the door!
With a little work and forethought, you can get those buyers out of their “virtual” cars and into your home! That first impression is the most crucial and will either turn off the buyer immediately or make them more receptive of the inside and potential to be the right fit for their needs!
As appearing in The Repository, 5-13-16