Curb Appeal Do’s and Don’ts
First impressions matter, and a clean, well-maintained home exterior will get your property noticed for the right reasons. When curb appeal is neglected you are potentially limiting the number of buyers that will even take a look inside, and homes lacking in curb appeal often sit on the market longer and sell for a lower price compared with similar homes that have a well maintained exterior.
Good curb appeal gives potential buyers confidence in the quality of the property. A home should appear to be well-tended and welcoming, beckoning potential buyers inside and not scaring them off with expensive-looking projects or maintenance.
Becky Johnson, Certified Residential Specialist and president of The Stars in Lafayette, Indiana states, “If the outside looks pristine, that’s definitely a part of buyers knowing that the house has been taken care of. They feel like that pristine quality applies to the rest of the home.”
Here are some of our best tips for improving a home’s curb appeal, as well as some mistakes to avoid.
DO think like a buyer
Walk around the home and inspect it with a critical eye. Observe and take notes on what needs cleaning or repair, and any other changes you should make. Buyers are going to pay extra attention to the parts of the house that will cost the most to replace or repair. Be sure to examine your roof and make any necessary changes, such as replacing shingles, having it professionally cleaned, or potentially even replacing it entirely.
DO get some help
Asking for a second pair of eyes to point out what needs to be changed can help determine the priority in which things should be updated. Kelly O’Ryan, an office manager for Coldwell Banker in Lexington, Mass says, “Know your budget and how much time you can spend, and get an outsider to help you decide what needs work.”
DO consider a fresh coat of paint
You may not be able to (or need to) repaint your entire house, but sprucing up the exterior by repainting the front door, trim, and shutters is a great way to improve the look of the home. If the paint on the trim or windows is peeling, scrape and replace. Improper, extreme paint colors are a big turn off to buyers and negatively impact curb appeal in a dramatic way. Instead, use neutral tones such as gray, black, white, beige, or olive.
DON’T underestimate the benefits of a good cleaning
Pressure wash dirty siding, deck, driveway and walkways for a clean, well-cared for look. This is a budget friendly tip that can have great impact on the appearance of a property. Washing the house’s exterior and cleaning the gutters will also improve the look of the home. Be sure to clean your windows and replace any broken glass as well.
DO consider the impact of a welcoming entryway
You should be able to see the front door as you approach the home, so be sure to tend to any overgrowth that may be limiting visibility. Further, a new front door may also help with the appearance. Though the right door can be a costly investment, it can greatly increase the resale value and overall appeal.
DON’T scare buyers off with an upkeep nightmare
Buyers don’t want complex landscaping that will cost them a fortune to maintain or replace. Be thoughtful when planning your landscaping by utilizing some low maintenance options. Consider adding new plants and mulch to containers, window boxes, and front beds. This pop of color will add visual interest while also creating a welcoming entrance. Further, remove weeds and overgrown plants, and clean up existing beds. While you are at it, prune shrubs and trim tree branches.
DO consider the small things
A few other small (but impactful), inexpensive tweaks include a new mailbox, porch light fixture, and welcome mat. The house numbers should be clean, prominently placed, and easy to read – and if you purchase new house numbers, be sure that they complement the style of the house.
DON’T overlook photos
88% of buyers view a home online prior to seeing it in person, and will make a judgment within the first few seconds. Therefore, it is critical that you use quality, professional-looking photos that flatter the house and accentuate its positive qualities. In today’s world, web appeal is just as important as curb appeal.
Tip from the pros: Before taking photos, be sure to remove any cars from the driveway.