Curb Appeal: Does Your Home Have It?
True curb appeal can be an elusive thing. But there are a number of solutions available to homeowners who want to increase the value of their home or the likelihood of it selling. In fact, sometimes the issue is deciding which projects you should take on and which just are not worth it.
To make things simple, we are going to look at the house itself and the landscaping separately. We also want to make it clear that while you can always add features to both the building and property, proper maintenance of both is paramount in your efforts to get full value out of your sale. Usually, appraisers deduct the estimated cost of repairs from the estimated value. So by keeping up with routine care, you either save money in repair costs or make it close.
If you have the budget for large projects, you will likely want to hire professionals to design and develop a theme that fits the property itself as well as the location. If you are doing this all on your own, your best bet is to play it safe and work on the little things that tie your home together.
The House Itself
This is exactly what the buyer came to see. Therefore, you want to make the home look as inviting as possible. It is important that it looks taken care of so that prospective buyers can see themselves living in it. In nearly every market, how your home stacks up against the surrounding properties for sale is a key factor.
This is where all the hard work you put in over the years pays off or where all the neglect and procrastination finally catches up to you. The majority of the market is not looking for a fixer-upper; make sure both the interior and exterior of your home looks fresh and new! If your home needs a lot of work, it may not be something that buyers want to take on, especially if your competition is virtually maintenance free. Perform home maintenance regularly and it will not seem overwhelming when you are prepping to sell.
Get to Cleaning
Start with the windows, the trim, the siding, even the garage door needs to be cleaned up. Whatever you are not refinishing needs to look as clean and new as possible. Do not be scared to rent a pressure washer, and do not be afraid to ask a few friends to help you a few weekends in a row. If that is just too much fuss for you, a professional cleaning crew will cost you a few hundred dollars and get the job done in a couple of days.
Refinish and Replace
If you really want your home to sell, you have to be willing to touch up the damage that time, the elements, and your family have inflicted upon your home. Paint where necessary. Replace rotted and damaged trim. Find new house numbers and accents to substitute for the old and rusty versions. While making these cost-effective changes, you can simultaneously develop a new look for your property. With less work than homeowners often realize, the entire look of a house can change and its curb appeal can rise dramatically.
Roof and Gutters
This aspect of a home exterior gets special recognition from us because it can be so important but is too often overlooked by homeowners. Roofs are one area where regular maintenance really pays off. A new roof is very expensive and problems are hard for appraisers to miss, especially when they are significantly worse than the rest of the neighborhood. If you are lucky, you may get by with a good cleaning. If you have never given it a thought, you may need a complete overhaul. Either way, hire a professional and solicit the advice of your Realtor®.
Some small upgrades are almost mandatory if you are serious about increasing your curb appeal. Make sure that you determine your budget before you begin to spend money on changes. It is important that you maximize your return on investment when spending money on a home you are looking to sell. No one wants a money pit that does not bring some type of return so invest wisely and reap the rewards.
Spruce up the Front Door
Your homes front door should be the focal point of its exterior. The way you dress it up can go a long way towards presenting an inviting appearance. Luckily, you do not have to make an expensive change to create a large effect. A simple touch of color, to the door itself, with trim, or potted plants as an accent can really make a statement or add a lovely addition to your overall theme. If you want to make a stronger statement, upgrade the light fixtures flanking the front door. Or go even bigger by adding stone or tile to your stoop, steps, or porch.
Windows and Trim
If you want to take things a step further than a coat of paint, getting new windows, trim, and shutters can really transform the look of a house. And when done right, this simple change can tie together a house and significantly increase curb appeal. You can also add extra dimension, texture, and color to the exterior by adding window boxes than fit in with the rest of the design. Surprisingly, even subtle changes (like a new window trim color) can make the exterior of your home stand out and get the property noticed.
Revamp Your Exterior
If it is within your budget, and you want to get the highest impact, upgrade the home’s exterior. You can add some stone detail on the front for texture and class or redo the entire home for the serious increase in equity. If you go the latter route, we highly recommend that you seek professional advice and collaborate with your Realtor® in order to maximize your return on investment. Often, local trends determine what type of large projects can be the most beneficial. A trusted real estate agent is your best resource for important market info!
Does Your Home Have Curb Appeal? Really…Does it?
Lawn and Landscaping
The modern home buyer understands that with their purchase, comes not only a building or two on a plot of land, but that plot of land itself. And as far as curb appeal is concerned, a buyer notices the lawn and landscaping well before they ever see how the master bathroom looks. What you do with the property can go a long way toward determining how long it stays on the market. Keep your yard looking its best and you will minimize any possible distractions as new buyers pull up to view your home.
Fortunately, a little elbow grease can go a long way in the yard. If you always take care of your grass and natural areas, you can spend a lot less time here when it comes to putting your home on the market. The better your yard looks the more likely it is that buyers will want to stop and see what the rest of the home looks like. If you are unable to do the work yourself, hire out, but ensure your yard looks its best at all times.
Green Grass and Pretty Beds
You can avoid having to buy sod by taking care of your yard year-round. Seed, fertilize, water diligently, and it will pay off when it is time to move. Make sure that you keep your flower beds and natural areas free of weeds. Trim what needs to be trimmed, lay on a thick layer of mulch, and you can move onto the next project. If you have to do a whole revamp from neglect, you will have to spend a lot more time and energy just to get your landscape respectable.
Accents such as arches, gates, fences, and sitting areas can be an asset to you as you attempt to sell your house. But if these items are in disarray or disrepair, they can actually have a negative effect. You do not want buyers to look at pieces in the yard and think the word “chore”. This can discourage buyers completely. Make sure that you take care of your yard so that it does not look cluttered and neglected. Your landscaping and architectural accents should compliment the home, not detract from it.
It is smart to incorporate nature in multiple ways to the overall design and theme of your home’s exterior. There is also potential for significant increase in home value with different landscaping projects. If in doubt, drive through a few subdivisions or visit a new community in town to see what they are doing. Smart upgrades can add value to the home…unwise changes are a waste of time and money.
Flowers and Other Vegetation
Flowers are one of the best ways to splash some color across your lawn. Trees can provide aesthetic and practical value by providing shade or fruit. You can provide even more practical value by planting food or herbs gardens, which can also provide pleasant seasonal aromas or help to keep insects at bay. Sometimes, your existing beds can be enhanced with stone borders or a few new additions. This is one of the most inexpensive ways to attract more buyers and get your home off the market.
For most homes, the mailbox is something like the ambassador for curb appeal. Make sure your mailbox at least looks new. Add some color with a few hardy flowers. At least make sure your mailbox is up to the neighborhood standard. But if you really want to make a statement, you can go for an upscale upgrade that will set your place apart from the street. Custom numbers or plates are another unique addition that can make your address stand out in a buyer’s mind.
Other Outside Accents
If you do not have any already, landscaping accents can be an inexpensive way to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property. Comfortable places to sit, architectural novelties, and anything with water can really add that special touch of charm home buyers are often looking for. Certainly do not spend money here when you have more pressing concerns, but additions such as these can be a great way to spend the last couple hundred dollars of your budget.
Driveways and Walkways
If you have the budget for it, enhancing your driveways and walkways could be one of the best ways to gain a significant amount of home value. If you do not have a paved drive at all, or if it is in disrepair, this is a great way to add plenty of curb appeal. You can add stone borders or lighting to put your property in a different class. Driveways and walkways are the paths to your home, you want them to be an inviting path a buyer wants to travel on every day.
Remember, curb appeal is not that difficult to come by, as long as you go about obtaining it the smart way. Start with maintenance: take care of your house and it will take care of you. Neglect it and reap what you sow!
A buyer’s first impression is all important. That is why it is so vital to coordinate your house and its landscaping in such a way that the property is instantly appealing. Professional advice is the best way to ensure that your money is well spent and that the changes you make will have a positive impact on your home’s value.
Try to look at your home as a potential buyer might. When you put yourself in that mindset, it is a lot easier to sense where you should really be critical, and most importantly, where your money is best spent.
Additional Seller Resources
The Secret to Great Curb Appeal by Karen Highland
Cheap Ways to Add Curb Appeal Via Bill Gassett
Curb Appeal Makeoves courtesy of frontdoor.com
Top Curb Appeal Tips by HouseLogic
Neighborhood Things to be on the Lookout For via Tim Lucas
Springtime Curb Appeal Tips by Jennifer Fivelsdal
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