It is very rare that a property is sold sight unseen. It does happen, but it is certainly not common place. As a home seller, your first job is to get people interested in your home enough to want to get a look inside. Whether that happens or not all comes down to something called curb appeal.
Curb appeal is an intangible quality that speaks to peoples’ tastes and emotions. It comprises things like the architecture, building materials, the way the home sits on the lot, and to some extent the landscaping. There are certain things about a home you can change, such as planting more trees or shrubs. But it is hard to compete with a 100 year old oak tree in your competition’s front yard.
What you do have control over is the first impression your home makes “from the curb”. This usually comes down to things that come under the category of maintenance. A well-maintained home on the outside usually means that the owner has taken care of the inside with the same level of attention and care. A nicely kept home means that there won’t be expensive surprises showing up in the inspector’s report or a few years down the road.
Starting at the curb, take a good long look at the mailbox. Does it look fresh and clean? Are the address numbers visible or are they buried under an inch of dirt and dust? It is surprising how many homeowners miss taking care of the very first thing people see when driving down the street.
Your planting beds and shrubbery should be neatly trimmed and mulched from the curb to the front door. Make a crisp delineation between the grass and the beds and you will catch people’s eyes.
The lawn is a very large part of curb appeal. Fertilize your lawn so that weeds disappear and the grass greens up and gets thicker. This alone will help create a positive first impression on potential buyers. Keep your grass cut regularly so that it looks well-tended and lush.
Any hardscaping should be looked at with a critical eye. Is the driveway falling apart or has the asphalt cracked in so many places it is a hazard to walk on? Similarly, the front walkway should be in pristine condition with no trip hazards or cracks. A good power washing of these surfaces should make them look like new if they are in otherwise good shape.
As you get to the front door, people will notice peeling paint, dirt, cobwebs and debris on the home. Make sure these maintenance items are cleaned up and repainted if necessary. Give your front porch lighting a good cleaning to create the best first impression.
Although technically not part of curb appeal, the back yard should also be spruced up. Clean your wooden deck and repair any loose boards or wobbly railings. Pay attention to the lawn as many home buyers are looking for play space for their children.
Clean up around your air conditioning condenser which will help it look better and run more efficiently. Trim away any low hanging tree branches which block the view from outside and from the inside. Get rid of any clutter that you find around the yard.
These simple tips can mean the difference between getting someone inside your home for a showing and a drive by. Mostly they involve elbow grease and not much money, but the result is priceless.