Curb Appeal, The Most Important First Step in Selling Your Home

In home selling, curb appeal is the most important first step. If you can get buyers through the front door, you've passed the first hurdle in selling your home. If people don’t like what they see in that first picture or that initial drive by you won’t get them thru the front door. Curb appeal can often mean the difference between a house sitting for months or selling in a few weeks. Seventy-four percent of all home buyers use the Internet to shop for a new home, according to 2004 figures from the National Association of Realtors. So the view from the street can net you more traffic than you might think.

So 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.

  1. What is your first impression of the house and yard? What does your eye immediately go to?
  2. What are the best exterior features of the house or lot? How can you enhance them?
  3. What are the worst exterior features of the house or lot? How can you minimize or improve them? Or can they be removed?

Park and walk towards the house, looking around you as if it were your first visit. Is the approach clean and tidy? What could you do to make it more attractive?

Take photos of the home's exterior with a digital camera if you have one. Look at the photos on a computer, what draws your attention first? Is it a good thing or a bad thing that is capturing your attention? If possible remove the colour and view it in black and white, sometimes it’s easier to see problems when we aren’t distracted by colours. Sometimes when we have lived with things for years we don’t truly see them as they are anymore.

Next make a list of the clean up chores to be done and then one of repairs and or possible changes to be made. Tackle the clean up ones first, these will be the easiest and all of them should be completed.

These should always be on your list of clean up chores..

  • ·         Kill mold and mildew on your house, roof, walkway and driveway and sidewalk
  • ·         Stow away garden tools
  • ·         Clean windows and gutters
  • ·         Pressure wash dirty siding and dingy decks
  • ·         Edge sidewalks and garden remove vegetation growing between concrete and bricks
  • ·         Mow the lawn and get rid of weeds
  • ·         Trim bushes
  • ·         Rake and dispose of leaves, even if its a wooded lot
  • ·         Trim tree limbs that are touching the home's roof
  • ·         Fix replace or remove anything that is broken, hanging oddly or seems out of place

Then sit back and look at the home again, reassessing the repairs and changes you initially thought of.

When it comes to repairs start with the important ones.

Trim and Doors, touch up or repaint these, flaking and peeling paint looks like a sign of trouble and age. A nice fresh bright front door looks welcoming. Polish or change the door hardware, hang a seasonal or decorative wreath on the door. Add symmetry, for example two big pots with plants on either side of the door looks great and helps to create a focal point when looking at the home and that focal point is the front door, welcoming people inside.

Fit into the community, if you’re in an aging neighbourhood filled with mostly retirees then remove the bikes from the driveway and kids toys and their little patio sets from the porch. If it’s a neighbourhood filled with kids then those things can be fine, even welcomed. It’s catering to your audience.

Evening appeal is important also, so do the same walk to your front door again at night, with the interior and exterior lights on. What do you see? Is it well lit? Do the windows sparkle? Is it still welcoming?

  • ·         String low voltage lighting along your driveway, walkway
  •           Light important landscaping elements
  • ·         Add a decorative strret lamp or an attractive light fixture to your front porch
  • ·         Make sure exterior light fixtures are clean
  • ·         Is the path to the front door well lit? Any hazards?
  • ·         Where are your eyes drawn?

Don’t forget the back yard. 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, make sure what can be seen in top shape. Always keep the rest of the yard well mowed, manicured and free from clutter and garbage. Children’s toys and playthings should be kept fairly tidy, keeping in mind the rules from the front of the house, welcoming and spacious looking but keeping in mind your audience.

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