What’s the deal with curb appeal?
Today’s market can be tough for sellers who are competing against foreclosures, which have the potential to drag prices down. Giving a home a curb appeal makeover is one way a home can sell more quickly or be valued more appropriately.
Generally, a home that has gone through the foreclosure process sits empty for a variable period of time. In our climate, an empty home in the spring, summer and fall begins to look like a vacant, neglected home. Lawns don’t get watered and turn brown, flowers shrivel and die and even the trees begin to look stressed.
“Great curb appeal is important,” said Linda Afman with Bray Real Estate. “It can mean the difference between a house selling in a few weeks or in a few months.”
Curb appeal speaks to buyers who are looking for a place they want to call home. If the house looks good from the street, they will want to get out of the car and walk through the front door. If the house looks like a wreck, with dying grass, trash in the yard or flowers long since past their prime, they may choose to stay in their car.
The Internet allows Realtors to market properties to buyers who live outside the area fairly easily. Those buyers don’t have the ability to drive the neighborhood or check out the house from multiple angles or at different times during the day. They’re also not interested in properties that have no photo or a single, blurry picture accompanying the online listing, which is why Afman uses a professional photographer to take photos of her listings.
“You have to have the best photo showing on the website,” said Afman, who relies on Chad Mahlum Photography for her photos and uses Karen Moore with Interiors, Etc., for interior staging. “I think it’s really important that we as professional brokers work hand in hand with other professionals who can enhance the property.”
A weedy, overgrown lawn isn’t always indicative of a home that’s in an equal state of disrepair, but a tidy, well-cared-for yard, with a few splashes of color in the form of flowers or bushes, is a sign to buyers that someone cares about the property.
“I feel strongly that a curb appeal makeover costs less than drastic price reductions,” said Kathy Kimbrough, owner of Garden Scentsations, a landscape design company. “First and foremost, make sure everything is clean, clean, clean.”
Kimbrough also recommends painting the front door a bright, vivid color and power-washing the driveway.
“If you have landscaping, prune it and shape it up,” Kimbrough said. “Weed it and make it look presentable.”
Pots of flowers to add color are a great idea, but only if someone is available and willing to water daily. That tells buyers that someone cares enough to water the flowers and make sure the house looks good.
“Never, ever, ever put plastic flowers out there,” Kimbrough said.
Don’t worry if your landscape doesn’t look like the front cover for Better Homes and Gardens. Many times, less is more when it comes to landscape, especially to those buyers who don’t want a yard that looks like it takes hours to maintain.
“The average person may get overwhelmed with too much vegetation,” said Kimbrough.
This is the time of year when a home with beautiful landscaping is going to shine, inviting those who drive by to call up the listing agent and make an appointment to view the inside. If you’re thinking of listing your property, be sure to keep the water on, clean up the outside and make sure your home says “welcome,” before buyers even reach the front door.