How to get buyers to commit to showing: Enhance Curb Appeal

Posted on November 18, 2010

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Curb appeal has always been important for homesellers. With the vast majority of today’s homebuyers starting their search on the Internet (over 94% of buyers according to the NAR), the appearance of your property is more critical than ever. You only have a few seconds to catch their attention as they scroll through listings online to get them to stop and take a closer look.

But the role of curb appeal goes beyond just making a good first impression. The way your house looks from the street can impact its value and it time on the market. Here are a few tips on adding some curb appeal to your home.

1. Paint the house.

Hands down, the most commonly offered curb appeal advice from our real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it and appraisers will note it on the valuation. Not only does it help drastically with curb appeal but also with interior appeal. Especially in large window areas that show off the inside of the home from the curb.

Just make sure you stay within the range of accepted colors for your market. A house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition will be marked down in value by appraisers and be less attractive to most buyers. Keep it fairly neutral. It allows the buyer to imagine their own color on the home. At the same time you may not want to be the same color as every third house in your neighborhood. Contact an expert on what you are thinking before you start painting. Paint isn’t cheap and many times it looks different from what you were expecting once it dries.

2. Have the house washed.

Before you make the investment in a paint job, though, take a good look at the house. If it’s got mildew or general grunge, just washing the house could make a world of difference.  Pressure washing makes the house look bright and clean in addition to getting rid of unsightly things like cobwebs, which may not be seen from the yard but will detract from the home’s cleanliness when seen up close. It will also get rid of any dirt or dust collect on the home that may dull the color.The cost to have a professional cleaning should be a few hundred dollars—a fraction of the cost of having the house painted.

3. Trim the shrubs and green up the yard.

Cutting down overgrown bushes and refreshing or replacing the mulch or rock around landscaping can make a world of difference and usually will only cost $50 to $100. Definitely worth the cost for your return on investment.

You also don’t want bare spots. Take the time to fertilize the yard, throw out some grass seed, and if need be, add some sod.

4. Add a splash of color.

It could be a flower bed of annuals by the mailbox, a paint job for the front door, or a brightly colored bench or an Adirondack chair or cute bench for under $100. You can spray paint it for cheap to match the home and landscaping.

5. Repair or clean the roof.

Roofs are a big deal to home inspectors and appraisers.You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal; appraisers will mark down the value by the cost of the repair. That could knock thousands of dollars off your appraisal.

Stains and plant matter, such as moss, can be handled with cleaning. It’s a job that can often be done in a day for a few hundred dollars, and makes the roof look like new. It’s not a DIY project; call a professional with the right tools to clean it without damaging it.

6. Put up a fence.

A picket fence with a garden gate to frame the yard is an asset. A fence has more impact in a family oriented neighborhood than an upscale retirement community but in most instances, appraisers will give extra value for one, as long as it’s in good condition.  Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,500 for a professionally installed gated picket fence 3 feet high and 100 feet long.

7. Perform routine maintenance and cleaning.

Nothing sets off subconscious alarms like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or lawn tools rusting in the bushes. It makes even the professionals question what else hasn’t been taken care of.

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Posted in: Real Estate, Selling