You hear about Curb Appeal when selling or buying a house, but what is it and how do you get it?
Does it means the house has nice curbs? Well, that's a good start but Curb Appeal to the buyer means that when they see a picture of your exterior on the MLS, a mental "check mark" is placed by your listing.
Curb Appeal means that when a Buyer drives by your house, they want to schedule a viewing appointment through their Realtor.
Curb Appeal means that when Your Buyer pulls up for their appointment, they want to go in and they are eager to see the rest of the house.
Curb Appeal sets the tone for the rest of the viewing. Your Buyer is now predisposed to want to like the house. They are hoping the interior will match what they just saw.
So, how do you get it? Here are 10 points to consider:
1. Take a Walk! It's not just a healthy thing to do, but sometimes we're complacent with our surroundings. So, take a walk (or slow drive ) around your neighborhood and look at the curb appeal of your neighbors. You might see that your lawn is not really green but yellow/brown/green when compared with your neighbors. Make note of the houses that appeal to you and what stands out.
2. Pay Your House a Visit! Most of us enter our homes through the garage or back door. When is the last time you "called on" your own home? What you see is what your Buyers will see. Don't be shy. Start at the driveway or by the curb and pretend you're looking at your home through a buyer's eyes. Take a critical look.
Cracks in the sidewalk? Are you dodging overhanging limbs? And what does your Welcome Mat say?? One of my favorite mats was at a friend's back door. It said, "Go Away". I love it, but.... not for welcoming your buyers.
If you have planters and pots who have been waiting to host a new, healthy plant for a few years now, then ditch them.
3. Off with their heads (or legs). Take a look at your poor neglected flowers. Time to "deadhead" them. Remove the flowers that have seen their best days. And particularly here in Florida where plants can grow several feet overnight, it's important to take a look at some of those plants that have gotten too leggy. You know the ones I mean.... you start to see more stem and branch then green leaves. Trust me, those stems are just going to get leggier and the green will be at the very top of the bush.
Why is this so important? Neglected landscaping says to your Buyer that there are probably other areas of or in the house that have also been neglected.
4. Color My World! Like your interior paint scheme, adding "pops" of color in your landscaping takes it from being all green and bland to exciting.
You can take a large clay pot and fill it with whatever colorful flower is in season. Caution: Do not plant anything that will take daily watering and care if your schedule will not permit that.
5. Cover it Up!! It's amazing what a layer of fresh mulch does for dirt. Think of a 3 layer chocolate cake with raspberry filling. Without the ganache frosting, though, it's just cake. Add the frosting and now you have a beautiful dessert. Same thing with mulch.
6. Get a Handle on it! Your buyer walks up to your front door with her Realtor. More than likely they will spend some time there as the Realtor has to fidget with the lockbox or whatever and then fiddle with the keys to open the door.
What are the Buyers doing??? They're eying the place! They have plenty of time here to notice that your once beautiful door handle is now rusted or tarnished. Or they may see your former beautiful wood door is discolored and fading.
Time to hit Home Depot or Lowes. It's a very small investment for the return you'll get.
7. Oh, what a Tangled Web We Weave... As mentioned in #6, your buyers will have plenty of time as they're waiting to enter your home to size it up. If they have to walk through spider webs to even make it to your front door, then unless they're into long nature walks, this is not a good feature. Also look up by your door and garage. Check out the corners for those pesky webs.
8. Heads UP: What takes up a large part of a buyer's visual space when they approach your home? Your roof! It has to pass inspections anyway so take care of whatever needs to be done BEFORE you list it. Can it be cleaned? Re-shingled?
What you don't want it to say to the Buyer is: "That's another $30,000 we have to put into the house if we buy it."
9. Mail Call! In front of some of our houses here in South Florida stand manatees with mailboxes for their mouths. Now I love manatees but in reality, they're not a pretty animal. I've also seen mailboxes that finally got tired of being straightened after being endlessly hit and have now given up and have a defeated look to them.
Get my drift? Sellers, your mailbox is one of the first things your buyer will see. Make it count.
10. Valet, please! Everyone in the family has a car now. There's probably one waiting for your 10-year-old when he or she comes of age. Unless you have a super-sized driveway and front yard, filling your driveway with all of your cars thus making your buyer have to walk a maze to get to your front door detracts from the experience.
When showing your house, arrange to have your cars either in the garage or elsewhere. Let your Buyer see the house!
What all of this boils down to is that you want the viewing experience for the buyer to be a positive one and that will start with the curb appeal of your house. The investment you make can pay off with a quick sale.
For more information enlist the services of your local professional home stager.