For a faster, more profitable home sale
What is curb appeal? Curb appeal is that first impression you get as you approach a house from the street.
It includes the home exterior and all of its elements, landscape, front, side and back yards, driveway, and walkway leading up to the front door and even the street in front of the house.
If you have a house for sale, employing some home exterior improvements can potentially add thousands to the value of your property, help it sell faster and for more money!
The first glimpse of your home should impact buyers in a positive way. You have only a minute to convince perspective buyers to get out of their car instead of driving on by.
Your goal is to make the exterior look so appealing that buyers can’t wait to get inside! If you're losing potential buyers at the curb, keep reading for some home improvement ideas that will get them in the door.
Stand across the street from your house and try to see it from a buyer's perspective. What stands out? Perhaps you can’t see your house because it's hidden by overgrown trees and shrubs.
Do the exterior paint colors clash with the rest of the neighborhood, or does your home follow the "Principle of Conformity?"
Principle of Conformity
Select exterior paint colors that fit in with the other houses in your neighborhood. In Real Estate terms, this is called the "Principle of Conformity," which means that the highest value is created when a property is in harmony with its surroundings.
For instance, a mid-century modern house in a neighborhood of Victorian-style homes will be the one house that stands out. It may be a great house, but it becomes the "oddball" in the neighborhood that many buyers won't want to own.
Every little thing that's wrong with your house WILL BE NOTICED by buyers. They'll take note of every flaw and use it as ammunition to negotiate the price of your house down.
Be sure to view your home at night, as well. Because many buyers work during the day and can only view houses at night, be sure that your home is enhanced with a little outdoor landscape lighting.
Affordable solar-powered LED lights can be found at any home improvement store. No fuss to install, simply push into the ground.
If you're having a hard time evaluating the curb appeal of your own home, ask a neighbor or friend for their opinion-- don’t be offended if you don't like what they say. Remember, your ultimate goal is to sell your house fast and for more money.
Start your curb appeal improvements with a yard clean-up. Remove outdoor clutter, like gardening tools, hose, kid’s toys, a rusty swing set, sports equipment, shoddy patio furniture and taste specific outdoor decorative objects, like garden gnomes and flamingos.
Rake up any leaves, broken tree branches, and be sure to take down out-of-season Christmas lights.
Don't forget about the sides and back yard. After you lure buyers in with the front yard curb appeal, they'll want to check out the side and back yards, as well.
Clean up your pool or hot tub. A clean, sparkling swimming pool is often the tipping point in a sale.
There's nothing pretty about a fuel tank or air-conditioning unit. A rusty fuel tank can be scraped, washed and painted. Using paint that matches the house color will make it less conspicuous.
To clean the air-conditioning condenser, turn off the power and clear away leaves and debris that may be trapped inside. Use a garden hose to wash out the coils.
The picture above is a perfect example of a buyer "drive by." Because you can't see the outside of the house, you can't determine if there's any damage to the exterior. This is why curb appeal is so important!
If your lawn has bare or brown patches that need filling in fast, try this quick solution by www.patchperfect.com. This company claims that its grass seed will fill in bare spots in the lawn faster than normal seed and with little effort, except for watering.
Your front door can play a crucial role in the curb appeal buyer snare. The front door is often the only focal point for a house, so it should look outstanding enough to lure buyers in.
According to the principles of feng shui, the front door and foyer should welcome and direct the flow of energy into the house, rather than push it away or weaken it.
This is where you want to use a bold, even fun, bright color. Select a color that coordinates or complements the paint colors of your home exterior.
Use a high-gloss paint on the front door. This will give it a lovely reflective quality.
Be sure to keep door hardware and kickplate polished and gleaming. Use a good metal cleaner like, "Brasso Metal Polish."
The doorbell should be in good working order and house numbers easily seen from the street. Choose numbers that complement the style of your house.
Replace outdated porch lights with those that reflect the style of the house, as well.
If you can't afford to paint your house exterior, be sure to at least clean it. A bucket of soapy water, a long handled brush and a power washer may be all you need.
To clean exterior brick, go to How to clean brick in 7 steps for some good tips.
If soap and water don't get the wood siding clean, try a solution of 1/2 cup TSP (trisodium phosphate) dissolved in a gallon of water. TSP can be found at any home improvement store.
I have successfully removed green mold from my own wood-sided house, using a mixture of 20% bleach and water. Wet the siding first with a hose, apply the bleach mixture to the exterior with a long-handled brush, then rinse well. Repeat, if needed. Check for rot on wood siding and replace if needed.
Clean engineered wood, aluminum, or vinyl siding with an all-purpose cleaner using a soft nylon scrub brush.
There's just something about dirty or broken windows that make a house look so forlorn.
E-Cloth is a window cleaning kit made of microfiber that requires no cleaning products whatsoever, just water. This method cleans better and faster than anything I've ever tried.
The most commonly offered advice from real estate pros, home stagers and appraisers is to paint your home exterior.
This is a big job that will cost you time and money, but it can be the difference in whether your house is sold quickly or languishes on the market for months.
Yes, painting your entire house will be expensive, but the appraiser will figure that cost into the value of your home, so in the end, you'll recap your expenses.
If you can’t afford to paint the entire house, just painting the front and sides that can be seen from the curb will make a huge difference.
Even a fresh coat on the front door, porch, or exterior trim will punch up the curb appeal of your home.
This isn't the time to get carried away with a bold or unusual exterior paint color.
Be sure that the color you choose fits in with the other homes in your neighborhood. Remember the Principle of Conformity.
Unusual paint colors will have buyers thinking of all the re-painting they'll have to do.
If your garage door is ugly, painting it the same color as the garage will make it less obtrusive. Otherwise, paint it in a shade that complements your exterior house colors.
If you don't take care of roof problems now, you will pay for it later when the home inspection comes back. Buyers will insist on a brand new roof for any little problem.
Clean out gutters and downspouts and make sure they are working properly. If your house doesn't have gutters, you might consider having them installed.
Gutters keep your home healthy by moving water away from the building, preventing potential damage.
If you suspect that you have an insect problem, take care of it now. The presence of insects will be disclosed during a home inspection and may discourage buyers from continuing the home sale.
Home insect infestations make most people uncomfortable, to the point where they may walk away from a home sale.
For best results, call a pest control inspector, like the ones at Terminix for a cost estimate on getting rid of the problem.
Watch the video below by Askthebuilder.com demonstrating how to repair cracks in asphalt. He has a good tip for camouflaging cracks as well.
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