Thursday, March 3, 2011

Creating The Best Curb Appeal

You've heard it before... when it comes to selling, curb appeal is 50% of the sales process.  To really understand that, you need to understand the home buying process.
Most buyers will see an ad - online or in print - for your home before they visit.  Almost always there is going to be at least one picture, and the one most prominently displayed is the exterior front picture.  They will decide to look at the ad, or not, the moment they see the picture of your home.  If the buyer is still interested after seeing a picture and an initial advertisement (which usually includes price, general location, and number of bedrooms), then it meets their initial criteria.  At this point, they are 25% sold!

Next comes the drive by.  This often happens before they contact their REALTOR to see the house.  Here they will check out location and condition of the home in person and the neighborhood in general.  They will see the things they can't see from most ads - how the sun hits the house, what the street looks like, what the house "feels" like when they look at it.  From the drive into the neighborhood to the front door of the home, accounts for another 25% of the sales process. 

If they still want to go in, they are 50% sold.... maybe more.  When I bought the house I live in, my husband and I saw it from the outside and said to one another "Unless this place is trashed on the inside, this is THE house"....and this happens far more than you would expect.  The opposite is equally as true.  Many times, I have been showing homes to a buyer, pulled in the driveway and had the buyer say "never mind, let's not even get out of the car".

Keeping this process in mind, you can place the appropriate emphasis on evaluating your curb appeal. If you want people to come inside, they have to like the outside.  Here are some tips:
  • Start at the street:  Keep the street clear of trash and debris.  Consider painting the house number on the curb so it's easy to see.  If there are yellow curbs nearby, repaint them.  The mailbox should stand straight and be repainted, with the address prominently displayed.  Consider flowers around the mailbox or the driveway.
  • Driveway and sidewalks:  The driveway should be in good shape, easily navigated, clear (after snow/ice) and a paved driveway should be freshly resealed.
  • Lawn:  Green it up (in season). Fertilize and water it.  Reseed it if you must.
  • Landscaping:  Make sure flower beds are freshly cut in, have fresh mulch and no weeds.  Consider adding a touch of color if you don't already have colorful flower beds.  Even a home without flower beds can usually add a pot of annuals near the front door.
  • Home Maintenance:  Does your home need to be repainted?  Are there shingles missing from the roof?  Does your roof need to be washed (yes, you can clean a roof that has stains on it)? Are the gutters clear and in place?  Should you repaint or replace shutters?  The front door should be repainted or stained - this creates a huge impact.  Perhaps the front door should even be replaced.  Keep screens out of storm doors and leave only the glass in so the front door can easily be seen, or remove the storm door completely.
Again - this is 50% of the sales process, so please don't skip it!

Stay tuned to the Real Estate Whisperer... this spring I will be doing a comprehensive series on preparing your home for sale.  This is the first of many posts to come.
Clicky Web Analytics