You’re ready to put your house on the market. Inside, it is beautifully decorated and sparkling clean. That bit of peeling paint on the porch and the bald spots in the garden won’t bother prospective purchasers, right?
Maybe not. And then again, they may drive by, see these flaws and take your house off the list of houses they plan to view. First impressions count.
What real estate agents call “curb appeal” is the impact your house makes when seen from a car or the sidewalk. If the exterior of the house and the yard are tidy and well maintained, prospective purchasers walk in with a pleasant feeling of expectation that the interior will match up. If the lawn is shaggy, the windows are dirty and the doorbell doesn’t work, they will be on guard for problems inside.
Here’s a short list of things you can do to increase your home’s curb appeal:
- cut and rake the grass and water frequently enough to keep it green; fill and seed any bare patches.
- wash windows and replace any cracked glass.
- weed and edge the garden.
- bridge gaps in foundation plantings with bright annuals in containers.
- remove flaking paint and stucco from the steps, porch or deck, door, trim and storage sheds and repaint.
- keep the lawn and porch or deck clear of bikes, toys, gardening tools, flyers and other clutter.
- keep the pool immaculate.
- make sure the front door opens and shuts smoothly and the doorbell functions.
- tuck garbage containers out of sight.
It’s a good idea to ask your selling agent to take a tour of the exterior, note any flaws and tell you what you need to do to make your home more saleable.
If you don’t have the time or skills to make repairs or spruce up the garden yourself, consider hiring a handyman, gardening service or pool service to visit your home a few times before you list and while it is on the market. Check out ads in the local paper or ask neighbors or your agent to recommend people who can help you at a reasonable price.
Try to think of your home’s appearance as a form of advertising. The few hundred dollars you invest in increasing its curb appeal can mean more viewings, a quicker sale and – possibly – a better price.