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Boosting Curb Appeal to Sell Your Home Quickly

June 16th, 2008

real-estate-curb-appeal.jpgAlthough real estate prices have declined somewhat in many areas, even in a bear market there is still money to be made by fixing up homes and selling them for profit. This article by Ariana Thompson discusses how to improve a home’s “curb appeal” so that it can appear more attractive to potential buyers and therefore retain a more favorable selling price.

The secret to great curb appeal is making a home look loved, cared for, and ready for a new owner. Whether you are selling your family home or an investment property, the key is ensuring buyers know the home has been looked after. A house that has earned its owner’s affection is universally appealing. A house that appears to have been neglected raises fears of unaddressed maintenance issues, which often scares off buyers.

The first thing thing to do in your quest for curb appeal is to freshen your perspective. Go for a drive and take note of the houses and yards that are appealing and inviting. This is a great way to get ideas for the general mood and feel you want to create. Return from your drive using a route that is different from your usual one, approaching your house from a new direction. Try to see your home through fresh eyes. What strikes you about the front yard or the facade?

Decluttering and cleaning are the best way to start; then a few extra touches are all you need to polish off your look. The yard needs to be clear of equipment or toys. Make sure the driveway, porch and facade of the house are all clean. Rent a pressure washer if necessary. Make certain everything works, from the front porch light, to the doorbell, to the garage door opener. The lawn must be kept mowed and trimmed, and shrubs and flower beds should be watered and groomed. This is especially important for investment properties. A house that has not been lived in can appear forlorn, so create a welcoming yard by giving it the love and attention a family would. Trim or remove shrubs that have become overgrown and are obscuring the house and address any tree branches that extend over the house or block the view. Garden and lawn edging is a great way to add a finishing touch to your well-groomed presentation. Also consider giving the door or trim a fresh coat of paint. Choose a color that is eye-catching without being over the top.

Finally, don’t forget the back view and the night view! Extend your curb appeal efforts to any side or back yards that could be visible. Pack up garden implements as well as lifestyle items like wading pools or trampolines. They take up valuable visual space, making the yard appear smaller. They also create the impression the house is still yours, making potential buyers feel awkward. The evening or night view of your home is important for buyers who may be house hunting after work. The porch lights and driveway lights should be left on all night. If you don’t have any yard lighting, look into low-wattage or solar-powered lights to highlight paths and landscape features. Remember also that the inside of your home is visible at night, so your window treatments and room presentation influence your evening curb appeal. Again, this is especially important for properties that are not occupied. Consider leaving the drapes or blinds of an empty house partially open and putting lamps on timers to give the house more life. Choose bulbs that cast a warm, golden light that looks inviting.

Remember that you are starting a new life and your home needs to be a blank slate for another family. Your personal tastes will be traveling with you to be expressed in your next house. The house you are selling must be redressed to look less like it belongs to you and more like it is ready to fulfill someone else’s dreams.

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