It’s human nature that first impressions nearly always rule our opinions and thinking. Too often we see a parking space but next to it is a beat-up old jalopy, covered in rust, with a wing mirror hanging off. Do we park alongside it? No—we trust our first impression and assume that when the owner returns he will most likely have no manners and fling his car door open, dinging our paintwork.
The same thinking applies to the house you are trying to sell for top dollar. First impressions are tremendously important, yet many people spend a great deal of time and significant money perfecting the home’s interior while completely ignoring its exterior. Give your prospective buyers every reason to form a positive opinion of your house by creating great curb appeal. Make their first glimpse a positive one.
Go and stand on the sidewalk or across the street and look at your house through a prospective buyer’s eyes; does it look loved and cared for? Does it look welcoming? That’s the definition of “curb appeal”. If they don’t like what they see from the outside, chances are they won’t even walk through the door.
Repair any broken guttering, shutters or window mesh, replace broken fence panels and siding. Do all the exterior lights work? Clean or replace all the bulbs and switch them on during the evening. Prospective buyers often drive by at night and a cheerful, brightly lit house emanates lots of curb appeal.
Move the trash bins out of sight, tidy away all the kids’ toys, skateboards, bicycles, etc. If it’s not the holiday season, take down the Christmas lights. If you don’t have sufficient storage space, rent a lock-up
Trim any trees of any errant branches and suckers. If any shrubs have grown to block windows, trim them back. Similarly, if there are trees or shrubs alongside the sidewalk that block the view of the house or impede walking, cut them back. Surround each tree with mulch, it will give a more ‘groomed’ appearance. Pick up all dead vegetation, get rid of weeds, fertilize and cut and edge the lawn frequently. Pressure wash paths, driveway and the sidewalk fronting the house then sweep them often. Water everything daily.
Clean all the windows till they sparkle and if necessary pressure wash or paint the outside of your home. Paint the trim and front door in a tasteful, neutral color that won’t offend anyone’s preferences. Take lots of soapy water and completely wash the entire front porch area. Is the door hardware dingy and worn? Replace it. Buy a new doormat. Check how your drapes and curtains hang when viewed from the outside. Does the garage door open easily? Is your mailbox peeling and shabby? Replace it. If the house number is painted on the curb, make a paint template and freshen it up.
Fill flower beds with colorful, cheap annuals; put a pot of bright, cheerful flowers in the porch and also on the back patio. Clean or paint the patio furniture and buy new, cheerful cushions. Scrub the barbecue exterior or if it’s really worn, invest in a cover.
Never allow your realtor to take pictures of your home until you’ve done everything possible to create maximum curb appeal. Seventy-five percent of home buyers use the internet to compare homes and if they are put off with that vital first impression, they are gone.
As a final incentive, keep all the invoices covering your expenditure because they can be claimed against your taxes!
Creating great cub appeal is vital if you are trying to sell your home. A realtor loves to show a house that gives a great, positive first impression and these days many people shop the internet or drive by before they officially arrange a showing. Stop viewing your house as an owner and look at it instead as a buyer. What detracts from it making a great first impression?
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Content written for a realtor’s website