Curbside appeal is key to making the right first impression. When it comes to selling your home, this first impression is critical. Today most buyers are searching for homes online. This means the photos your realtor includes in your listing need to be perfect, highlighting your home's best features inside and out and the view from the road, commonly referred to as curb appeal, is key.
Jennifer Myers, a professional home stager, also explained that it's important to update exterior photos to reflect the current season when a home is listed for an extended period of time.
Curb Appeal Influences Buyers
When a potential buyer drives by your home, you want them to take notice. If your home doesn't look cared for, or it looks like every other house in the neighborhood, buyers are likely to keep driving. If they arrive for a scheduled appointment and don't like the appearance of the home from the street, they might decide not to tour the house but rather spend the time looking for more appealing homes.
Here are tips for what you can do to motivate your potential buyers to step inside. If you're at all uncertain that you will know what to do, most professional stagers offer an inexpensive curbside consultation where they'll walk through your home and give you a room by room list of recommendations, what Jennifer describes … from the front porch to the back deck, and her most common recommendation is to paint the front door. Many home stagers also offer photography services using a wide angle lens, to show off your home's best features.
The house should appear well cared for, i.e. buyers want a house in move-inn condition with few or no repairs needed. They want to focus on moving and getting settled in their new home versus fixing up the house. If you are consistent in repairing and maintaining your home, you won't have to much work to prepare for selling your house. If not, roll up up your sleeves and prepare to work to increase your chances of selling quickly in a buyers market and getting the price you want.
- Make sure all exterior trim is in good repair including shutters, window sills, trim around the windows, corner boards, fascia and soffitts under the roof overhang
- Clean out gutters and make sure they are draining away from the house.
- Inspect and repair wood rot which will be identified by the home inspection. Address window sills not maintained or shrubs too close so they don't dry out, kick plates under exterior doors and where deck is attached to the home.
- Wood fencing should be secure and structurally sound.
- Touch up exterior paint as needed, especially the front of the house.
- Repair or replace window panes and/or screens that are damaged.
- Make sure your house number is easy to find and read from the street.
- Clean the windows so they sparkle inside and out.
- Store trash containers and debris out of sight.
Yard, Walkways and Driveway
From the curb, the next thing buyers look at after the house is the yard. You want the yard to appear well cared for, i.e. not require any work on the part of the new owners. You also want to make sure that any potential eyesores visible to buyers as they approach the house, are dealt with including:
- Clear the driveway and clean up oil spills.
- Maintain landscaping and add color with easy to care for plants.
- Minimize any pet friendly features and pick up all pet waste.
- Turn on exterior lights for night showings, adding solar lights for long, unlit walkways.
- In winter, make sure there's a clear path from the driveway to the front door and salt as needed.
Once prospective buyers arrive at the front door, they should feel welcome and not be distracted by any problems. Here is where you set the mood for the home viewing.
- Make sure the front door(s) are in good condition, and a new coat of paint is best.
- The door hardware and doorbell should work and look good … polish or replace.
- The porch and front steps should be clean, in good condition and free of clutter.
- Mailboxes should be pleasing to look at, or replace with something simple.
- Add a new doormat, wreath or other decorations like hanging plants or seasonal items.
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