First impressions are everything. That goes equally for job interviews, first dates, and selling your home. After all, if that perfect buyer takes one look at the outward condition of your home and refuses to step out of their car, well, you’re sunk. You’re far better served to put the polish on your home and property before you list it, if you want to get the best results.
Through the Buyer’s Eyes…
Before you jump into your curb appeal upgrade with both feet, you need a clear picture of what your property really looks like to someone else. That may seem like a small thing, but if you think about it, after all those years of living in a place, you kind of get used to its quirks. What you find endearing someone else may see as an eyesore or even a sign of more trouble ahead.
That’s why it’s so vital to imagine yourself as a person who’s never set foot on your property and try to see what they would see. If you don’t have a head for this, invite a friend over who’ll be honest with you. Have them take a hard look at the property, from the moment they pull up to the walk, on up to the front door.
What do they notice needs to be fixed or cleaned? What seems like it would be a hassle if they were buying it?
How Much Curb Appeal Do You Need?
Generally, the idea floating around in the ether is that you should have as much curb appeal as possible, so as to impress and emotionally envelop anyone who may drive by your home. In practice, though, it doesn’t really work that way. The biggest thing with curb appeal is to keep it in tune with the rest of the neighborhood.
Live in a neighborhood full of circle drives surrounding fountains and trees? You’ll need to step your game way up if you’re behind on the curb appeal front. But if you live in a neighborhood of starter homes, it might be a lot more appropriate to add a little bit here and there and just generally spruce up the place.
A drive around your neighborhood to find the houses with the most appeal will give you a better idea of how much work to do – or not to do – and what is really working for homes like yours. Just make sure to choose properties that resemble your own for inspiration or you risk making things weirder.
Curb Appeal: Working with What You Have
When you’re trying to increase your curb appeal, you should start with what’s already there. Usually, this means removing things or fixing things. Think about these questions when looking at where you are today:
Is your landscaping overgrown or worse, is it dead? Overgrown landscaping is not helping your case. Clean it up, tear it out, or replace it. Anything that’s clearly dead needs to be sent to plant heaven, rather than simply cut back. Remove the whole plant to the roots and fill in the hole with a replacement or soil and grass seed. Water liberally to keep the replacement alive. Sprinklers can be useful for this job. Also, don’t forget to refresh your mulch.
Is your driveway or walkway in good repair? It’s usually the first thing someone sees, and if your walk or driveway is in bad condition, it’s easy to assume the rest of the house is, too. Give a good first impression by repairing or cleaning all of those hard surfaces so they make your home feel welcoming and tidy.
How are your accent pieces? Things like mailboxes, shutters, porch lights, and other details can tell a story all their own. If your shutters are cracked and failing, they need to be thrown away or replaced. A new porch light doesn’t cost much by comparison to how much it’ll help sell your home. Make sure your front door and garage door are also very nicely cleaned or repainted, your house will get a huge facelift from these simple acts.
Does your house itself need a cleaning? A lot of homes with siding suffer from a bad case of dirty house. Does yours? A power washer and a weekend can make that house look like a new place. Don’t forget to clean all the glass, too. You’d be shocked at how much atmosphere a clean or dirty window can influence a property’s curb appeal.
Curb Appeal: Doing Some Upgrades
Few homes truly need a whole new front porch or complete landscape overhaul to sell. Of course, this will depend largely on the home and the neighborhood (remember, the goal is to blend into the neighborhood in a cozy way). There are a few bigger projects that can make a big difference, though:
Repainting. If your house doesn’t have washable siding, it’s time to get out the paint buckets and go to work. Get familiar with your siding type and choose paint that will adhere and cover well. If painting seems like a big task, call a siding professional for a quote on a washable type of siding. While you’re repainting, don’t forget to touch up those rusty carport nails, fill any holes in the siding, and to check the trim for damage.
Porch Updates. Although it’s rarely vital to completely replace the porch, it can be really useful to update the styling of your porch. For example, thin metal railings or awnings in specific styles may really date your home in the bad way, so consider having someone come out to help swap those for more contemporary solutions. Resurfacing the porch and hanging a new porch ceiling can help to really brighten the place up, too.
Accent Fences. Not all homes will benefit from a front yard fence, but many can use them to help draw the eye to more attractive features of the landscape. Consider a short section of corner fencing for a planting that kind of blends into the landscape and could use a little pop. White picket fencing can be the right decision for many different kinds of homes and is easy to install and maintain.
When you’re working on the curb appeal of your home, the most important thing is to actually make it appealing. Look online for ideas, cruise your neighborhood for homes that really stand out, and ask your friends for help creating mass appeal as simply as possible. With curb appeal, it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference.
When you are ready to sell your home, contact us here at Tudor Square and our agents will be thrilled to help you determine what needs to be done to get the most value from the sale of your home.