If there were ever a moment to utter the oft-used “there is no second chance to make a first impression,” its when you are talking about real estate curb appeal. Unfortunately, for those with their home on the market, this is also the most oft-ignored advice. Too little time, not enough money, or the hope that buyers will look beyond the weeds and kids toys to find the home’s inner beauty are common excuses. But none of them should be allowed to prevent you from doing just a few easy tasks that help make it stand out. So I have put together a few tips to help you ditch the mundane and unearth some easy fixes that will surely grab the attention, and hopefully a higher sales price, of a potential buyer. Here’s my list of top five tips that are low-budget, yet can raise your profile:
1) The lawn: keep it clean and green. Is that all you need to know? Of course not… and if your home doesn’t have one, skip to number two… but its a start to help you visualize a big part of why there is a curb in the first place and how it can score you big points with buyers. Water, fertilizer, a mower, and a rake may not be all you’ll need, an edger and weed whacker can add the finishing touch. Does it need to resemble the 5th fairway at Augusta National? In our dreams maybe, but for now we’ll settle for the local executive course after a heavy rain… which ain’t that bad.
2) De-clutter: from toys to lawn accouterments, less is more in the home staging business and curb appeal is not very different. A few well-placed plants and flower beds to give the yard some pop are always good. But watch out for tripping hazards like garden tools or the hose that was left out. And what ever you do… if its July, maybe its time to take down those Christmas lights.
3) Trees/bushes: I’m no arborist, but when it comes to trees, the roof line’s the limit. Trees should be proportionate to the home; both in height and width. It should complement the home, not detract from it. Consult a professional arborist if you are unschooled in the fine art of pruning, but something an old sage once shared with me back in my teenage lawn cutting days was, “Son, its not what you cut, but what you don’t cut.” If only someone would give my barber that advice.
4) The front door: A seasoned realtor once said to me, if ever there was an outer indication of what the inside of a home looked like, it was the condition of the front door. That has always stuck with me and I think of it every time I show a home for the first time. Next time you leave home, I want to encourage you to check your front door… is it clean? Does it need new paint? Do the locks and door knobs look worn and do they function well? Does the door stick or open unencumbered? Does it have a nice shiny door knocker? Are the locks mismatched? See where I’m going with this? The amount of care and attention a homeowner gives to their front door is likely an indication of how they’ve cared for and attended to the rest of their home. Try it next time you go to visit someone else’s home. The results might surprise you.
5) Cars/RV’s/Boats: If possible, relocate unused cars, RV’s, boats, and monster trucks elsewhere or put them into storage while the home is for sale. When evaluating a home, buyers normally try to visualize how they can see themselves living in the actual house, not the 25′ pop-up camper. Leaving the aforementioned out front will only deprive them of that experience and can make them feel unwelcome, stifled, and in extreme cases, claustrophobic. Relocating cars that have been parked for long periods should also give you plenty of time to clear up any unsightly oil leaks from the driveway.
Some of the above tips might seem time-consuming or tedious, but this pails in comparison when you consider the money you could be saying goodbye to after settling for a lower price because of how your home looks from the road. The sacrifice can be well worth the investment. Call or email me if you would like a free consultation on how to improve your home’s curb appeal. For more home selling tips and getting your home ready to place on the market, visit my website.