CURB APPEAL blah, blah, blah. Real estate know-it-alls always KNOW its all about curb appeal! That of course was THEN (when Barney Rubble was marketing his cozy stone cave). Since then we have had that little development we fondly call the WEB. And of course that quirky novelty is now the 800 pound gorilla sitting where it chooses, squashing things like our quaint notions about how homes get sold. So now it is all about WEB APPEAL.
And what exactly is that, and how do we get it? The first key is that all important “first photo”. That soft focus cockeyed Polaroid taken 6 months ago was probably OK for the MLS book of yore. Now that photo is the all-important hook – either the viewer stops in or moves on. A sunny shot, with the sun playing on the front (if the season allows) is a good start. The photo should appear as if it were taken TODAY. Yes, the blooming azaleas are lovely, but they scream: “WE HAVE BEEN ON THE MARKET SINCE MAY!” For those who are not Ansell Adams, probably it is good to take about 10 to 15 front photos and choose the best one. Experiment with style: portrait, landscape, broad, tight. To avoid a rap from the MLS police, DO however resist the temptation to Photoshop out the neighboring smokestacks.
And then give some thought to getting your home ready for its close-up. The right shade of rouge and lipstick for the well-dressed home is of course dictated by the style of home. It is important to keep in mind the scale of any web-motivated facelift. The photo will be a thumbnail, so when choosing a decorative bracket, light fixture or a shrub, consider maximizing the size. New landscape is great, but keep in mind that a 12 inch tall globular shrub will appear on the web like a scoop of ice cream.
In the case of an architectural detail, consider some complementary contrasting paint shades to heighten the effect. An attractive front door accent color is a no-brainer. Plantings with foliage and flowers that are bright and/or variegated may add interest. Obviously, the goal of freshness calls for pruning the unruly greenery and sudden death to most Eisenhower era shrubs.
For a colonial home, muntin kits (grills) to charm up the windows and shutters are de rigueur. Installing white blinds or hanging white sheer curtains can warm up the front photo, and dispel the sense of vacancy that dark windows may betray. We are going for “inviting and homey" here. Outsized potted plants or shrubs may substitute for mature landscape. (No pickaxe needed.) The height of the pot may augment the statement made by the added greenery. A cheerful deacon's bench or wrought iron settee may make a welcoming statement to a bare porch, along with some potted greens. Seasonal flags may add charm, as may the occasional bit of statuary. Of course, avoid marshalling squadrons of garden gnomes and elves. We are not going for that crazy neighbor ambiance, after all.
So get to it! We will watch for those before and after pics (dowdy spinster to glamour girl reveal shot.) But what we will REALLY watch for is that sold sign, coming soon to a lawn very, VERY near to you!