The Importance of Curb Appeal

A large percentage of home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a house based on its curb appeal or exterior appearance. What they see when they drive by or arrive for a showing sets an immediate impression and often determines if they want to come inside.

So, first, you have to get detached! We are all proud of our homes’ but when you are getting ready to sell it, you must detach yourself from the personal feelings and realize this is purely a business transaction. Try to look at your house in the same way that potential home buyers do. Be able to be objective or ask for and accept criticism from others on potential red flags or issues.

The next time you come home, stop across the street or far enough down the driveway to get a good view of the house and its surroundings. Then ask yourself these few simple questions:

  • What is your first impression of the house and yard area?
  • What are the best exterior features of the house or lot?  How can you enhance them?
  • What are the worst exterior features of the house or lot?  How can you minimize or improve them?
  • Park your car and walk towards the house, looking around you as if it were your first visit.  Is the path clean and tidy?

Once you have completed the "curb appeal exercise" start making a list of your positive and negative feelings about the property's appearance. Take photos of the home's exterior. If you have a digital camera, view the color versions first, then switch the photos to grey scale because it is easier to see problems when the color is not present to affect our senses.

Evening appeal is also important so do the "curb appeal exercise" again at dusk or just after dark, because it's not unusual for potential buyers to drive by houses in the evening.

Lighting is always a plus! String low voltage lighting along your driveway, sidewalks, and around landscaping elements. Add a decorative street lamp or an attractive light fixture to a front porch. Solar versions of outdoor lights are quick and easy to install, but only work when then receive full sun each day. Lighting that is visible through front windows should enhance the home's appearance.

Don't forget about the rear view! Potential buyers doing a drive by will try their best to see your back yard. If it's visible from another street or from someone's driveway, it should be addressed as well.

Here are some suggestions to get your curb appeal started:

  • Kill mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof, or driveway.
  • Pressure wash siding and decks.
  • Keep sidewalks and driveways clean.
  • Stow away unnecessary garden implements and tools.
  • Clean the windows and gutters.
  • Mow the lawn regularly. Get rid of weeds.
  • Rake and dispose of leaves, even if your lot is wooded.
  • Edge sidewalks.
  • Trim tree limbs that are near or touching the roof.
  • If you can budget it, a fresh coat of paint does wonders!
  • A more attractive front door....or replace doorknob hardware....or repaint/stain the door and polish the hardware.

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