Whether you’ve been living in the same house for 30 years or are buying and flipping homes to earn income, selling a house is challenging. In a perfect world, you’d put up a “for sale” sign and the first passerby to see it would schedule a tour, fall in love and make an offer. In reality, a house might sit on the market for weeks, even months, especially if the owner has taken steps to make it sale-worthy. One of the most important tasks you have when you decide that you want to sell your house is to boost curb appeal.
If you read that and wondered, “What’s curb appeal?” you’ve come to the right place. Just keep reading.
In the real estate sales industry, the term “curb appeal” refers to the overall attractiveness of a home’s exterior or of a piece of property as it is viewed from the street or “curb”. To boost curb appeal is to enhance the beauty of your home’s exterior in order to attract potential buyers. Think of curb appeal as a first impression. First impressions matter, especially when the goal is to sell a house.
What happens if you don’t boost curb appeal?
If you were to pull up to the front of a home with a “for sale” sign in the front yard and notice broken gutters, peeling paint, overgrown weeds and debris lying all over the lawn, would you want to go inside? The aesthetic value of a home’s exterior influences your thoughts on what you might expect to find on the other side of the door. Is it possible for the outside of a house to be a complete mess while the inside is pristine, updated and beautiful? Yes, it’s possible but not likely. When you boost curb appeal, you attract attention to your home and it makes prospective buyers want to schedule a showing.
Carefully assess these 5 things to boost curb appeal
As you prepare your house for the market, take a good look at the exterior. To boost curb appeal, keep these particular areas in mind:
- Sidewalks, walkways, patios and driveway
- Overall condition of house, including gutters, porch railings, paint, windows, etc.
Each of these aspects of your home’s exterior has a significant impact on curb appeal. It’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, meaning curb appeal is somewhwat of a subjective term. One person might love purple houses while another will just keep on driving and not even stop to look at the rest of the house. That said, when your goal is to boost curb appeal think in general terms of neat, clean appearance, working order and overall condition of the house. Be honest with yourself. Judging by curb appeal alone, if you were not the owner of the home, would you want to be? If not, why not?
What can you do to boost curb appeal so that your house has a “Wow!” factor or, at least, so someone who is in the market for a buying will want to see the inside!
Most home searches begin online, so keep that in mind for curb appeal
Most home buyers today start looking for their dream home by conducting an online search. With regard to curb appeal, this means that you want to have high quality photos of your house online. If you’re not a skilled photographer, avoid strolling around the outside of your house with a cell phone, snapping pics to upload on the internet. Get someone who knows what they’re doing to take the photographs for you!
How to get your house is tip top shape for outside viewers
Do you have to replace your roof to boost curb appeal? The answer depends on several factors. Just because it’s an older roof doesn’t necessarily mean you must invest in a replacement before selling the house. However, if it’s faded, worn or in obvious need of repair (Again, walk out to the street and look at it yourself. Would you want it to be your roof? Would you be willing to BUY it?) then consider replacing it before putting the house on the market.
Wherever there’s a hard surface area around the exterior of your home, make sure there are no safety hazards. Large cracks with weeds pushing through not only lack curb appeal, they can cause someone to trip, fall and suffer injury. Deep clean all of your gutters, the front or back porches, windows, etc., so that everything sparkles. Even a house that is 30 years old looks good when it’s clean! As far as shrubbery and trees, don’t let anything growing hide the house. Keep everything nicely trimmed. If you don’t have plants or flowers or bushes outside your home, consider adding some before you try to sell it. Keep your lawn freshly mown and maintain flower patches so they are weed-free. Finally, take a good look at the outside of your house at night. Investing in a simple lightscape design can do wonders to boost curb appeal!
Help the buyer envision himself or herself as the owner of your house
It’s best to store away most items when you’re getting ready to sell your house. For instance, a yard full of dog toys, bicycles and old, broken lawn furniture is not likely going to entice someone to inquire further about a possible purchase. If there are toys outside, make sure they are not randomly lying around or posing a safety obstruction. You want a buyer to easily imagine himself or herself living in your house.
A neat, clean, updated, neutral exterior appearance is your best bet for gaining showings. A carefully staged interior will also help increase the likelihood of an offer!