25 Oct Curb Appeal
There’s an old saying that goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. In real estate, the outside of your home is the first thing potential buyers see when they come for a visit, and it’s their first opportunity to start forming judgments. If your house is unattractive, or looks poorly maintained, people won’t want to go inside. Even if the inside of your home is immaculate and gorgeous, you’ll lose potential buyers if the outside lacks curb appeal. This is one case where people really do judge a book by its cover. If you’re unsure about the condition of your house, ask your real estate agent for an objective opinion. But be prepared to handle the truth.
If the exterior of your home needs some sprucing up, how can you do it without needing a bank loan? For a start, start cleaning. Clear away old lawn furniture, toys, and clutter. Trim hedges, plant flowers, or in winter, keep the path to the front door clear of snow. In fall, rake the leaves and make sure the gutters are clean. If a windowpane is cracked, replace the pane, not the whole window. Put a light bulb in the front porch light and turn it on. And clean up those cobwebs. No one likes to walk up to a dark and dirty entrance. Add some sparkle by polishing any metal fixtures you have, switch out a tired old mailbox for a new one, and replace your old house numbers with something that shines. Put a fresh coat of a nice welcoming red or blue paint on the front door, to set it off from the other houses on your street. Broken steps? Fix them. The one thing buyers are looking for is any hint of poor maintenance. Give them a reason and they will start forming negative opinions about your house before they’ve reached the front door. Stash garbage cans and recycling bins out of sight. And make sure the back garden is just as presentable as the front.
As for large surfaces, you can rent a pressure washer from the hardware store and in a weekend have your aluminum siding looking like new. The old deck in the back yard that you think needs replacing, probably just needs cleaning. Power washers are also great on wood decks and fences. Inspect the painted surfaces, usually the trim around windows and doors. If it needs it, paint the trim white, or a clean neutral color. In a nutshell, if it’s dirty, clean it, if it’s broken, fix it and if it’s cluttered, get rid of it.
Finally, put out a new welcome mat and stand back, preferably over at the curb, and take it all in. You should like what you see and so should those potential buyers. After all, this is one first impression that can lead to a faster sale and a better price, so make it count. Remember, it’s called curb appeal for a reason.