A vast majority of home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a home, based on their first impressions of the outside… does it have “curb appeal?” ..the view they see when they drive by or arrive for a showing. You can ensure people want to come inside your home by spending some time working on its exterior appearance, making it inviting for buyers to want to see more. Most potential buyers find it difficult to visualize changes, and often won’t take a second look at a home if the first impression does not appeal to them.
Pick up. There is nothing that will reduce your home’s curb appeal more quickly than trash and toys thrown around. Remove any junk piles or trash bins that are visible outside the house. If you’ve got kids, make sure the toys are all put away—this means those big plastic toys and play sets as well (or at least place them neatly in a designated area). Even if storage is a problem, put away bikes and other equipment you may have leaning against the house.
Clean up. Stand out by your sidewalk or street curb and take a long, hard look at the front of your house. Does it look clean and inviting, or dingy and unloved? It’s called curb appeal for a reason. Start with a thorough cleaning of your windows and front door area with a bucket of soapy water and a scrub brush. It’s amazing what a little hard work can do to neaten up your home’s exterior elements. Make the door hardware gleam and those windows sparkle. Since we mentioned windows, how do your curtains and blinds look from the outside of the house? Are your windows covered with knickknacks, stickers, and such? Take time to clean up the insides of your home’s window areas that are visible from the curb.
Paint. Is the paint peeling off the shutters or siding? Can you easily notice the front door? Paint is a wonderful thing. It can quickly bring any old object back to life, including shutters and trim on the outside of the house. For a relatively small investment, paint is one of the quickest ways to increase curb appeal. It’s important to do a good job when painting, however. Splotchy work will be immediately noticeable. If you’re not up to doing the painting yourself, consider hiring an expert to help. Also, choose neutral colors—this gives your house the best chance to sell.
Repair. Take time to repair missing siding, broken shutters, broken fence panels, and the like. Is your sidewalk in good condition? The path should be swept clean and cleared of obstacles that might trip someone on the way to the front door. Stare at your garage doors (if you have a garage). Is there a dent in the garage door from the time your teenager was learning to park the car? Does the garage door even work properly? Those things need fixing before you try to sell the house. Don’t forget the mailbox. Whether it’s on a post in the yard or up by the front door, make sure it’s painted or polished. Any numbers or letters on it should look neat and clean.
You can sell your home faster if you give your house lots of curb appeal. This is especially important during a down real estate market.