CURB APPEAL – FIRST IMPRESSIONS

When putting your house up for sale, curb appeal is the main attraction the first impression.  When people drive by, they see the “For Sale” sign and then look up at your house, specifically the front door!  I know you think they see the whole house but they don’t, they see your front door and then, if they like what they see, they look at the rest of the house and either say pretty or ugh. It is a bit like prom night for your house!  So let us pursue the curb appeal for your home.

Today most homes are viewed on line and often on a cell phone, so that curb appeal is mandatory along with a fabulous photo or they aren’t even going to click on your house to read about all the goodies it offers.  So what is curb appeal and what can you do?

Curb Appeal is the things that draws people into your house, grabs their attention.  It can be design, color, style but above all uncluttered and clean.  This means you have to do the following things during the entire duration your home is for sale.  Start with the grand view:  the grass, the yard, the gardens, the driveway, the garage, the path to the all important front door.  Mow the grass, keep it weed wacked and fresh looking.  Remove all trash and those cute little things you put in your yard, unclutter.  Be sure the house number is visable on the curb, mailbox and house, repaint or buy new numbers if needed as they are cheap.  Be sure the front porch or any solar and/or outdoor lights are working.  Close the garage door and keep a minimal number of vehicles in the driveway, none if possible.   Put gravel in the driveway if needed or have the blacktop resealed.  If you have fencing, be sure it is freshly painted or at least in very nice condition, keep the gates closed except for the one leading to the house.  You want the potential buyers to feel welcomed so you might even put a welcome sign on the gate.  If you have storage sheds or other outbuildings, keep them clutter free, doors closed, freshly painted.  Be sure the walkways are clean, well trimmed and have some landscaping around them.  A few yellow or red flowers with lots of greenery help.   Remember – we are talking about the outside of things here …we haven’t even gone inside yet!

If your house is looking a bit drab, get it repainted.  Don’t let gutters and downspouts get clogged and have debris hanging from them.  Keep them painted and in good working order.  Be sure your roof looks safe and has no leaks, if so – get them fixed.  If you have a deck or porch, re-stain or paint as needed and fix any rotten or missing boards, keep it fresh and uncluttered.  Keep the windows clean and replace any missing or torn screens.  I keep saying “uncluttered and clean” and that is probably one of the hardest things to do.  You always seem to have more than you need in any given space and sometimes forget to throw things away.  It is important that you unclutter – you are moving and need to get rid of these items anyways, so now is the time.  If your house is in need of paint, get it repainted.  I know this is a big project but this is what makes the difference between a sale and a no sale.  Repaint or replace those shutters as well.  Keep colors neutrals, stay away from loud or unusual colors as you want to appeal to as many people as possible. Trendy front door colors can be found that may work but just be careful.  Take a look at your neighbors and try not to clash with their color schemes.

Now for the most important place, that front door.  Once you un-clutter the walkways, yard and porch you arrive at the front door.  If the wood is worn or the paint fading or chipped or just plain out of date, repaint.   A gallon of paint makes a big statement, just stick to neutral colors.  A white house always looks great with black shutters and a red door.  If your door is wood, re-stain and finish to a fresh look.  Be sure to repaint the surrounding trim too, don’t leave it looking drab, white is usually the best choice for trim.  Wash the windows in the door and be sure the hardware looks good too.  If the storm door is worn or has torn screen or claw marks, replace it even if you just buy a simple screen door.  Make the entry look inviting.  Be sure the porch light is working with a white or clean light – no color lights, and the glass on the light is clean.  Brush away any cobwebs you find on the doors, lights, windows or porch ceilings.  Make this area spotless.  Put a new welcome door mat in front of door.  You want buyers who are willing to buy your house at the price you want, this is what it takes.

Once all the above is done, you get to do a bit of decorating.  Find a nice wreath that fits the season, is the right size for your door and the colors in the wreath go with your front door.  Take a look at some of our front doors to see what we did.  We keep our wreaths and decor fresh looking, vibrant and eye catching plus seasonal.  When the flowers get a bit worn, we simply replace them – don’t keep worn looking wreaths.  If you can switch them when the seasons change that is even better but hopefully your home will be sold before that new season arrives.  This is what we call “curb appeal”.

Something you don’t want to overlook is the very first photo of your house, the one that will be used for that all important ad, the “attention getter”.  It should be a nice day outside and you should remove any vehicles or clutter.  Again, close that garage door, freshen up the yard, put that wreath on the door.  Then step back and get the entire house in the photo frame but not any portion of your neighbor’s home.  Sometimes if you have trees in the yard you have to step to the right or left to get the entire house but never take that photo if you can’t clearly see the front door.  Move until you have a great view of the entire house and can see the front door, then click for the photo.  Remember this is the first thing people see when they look at houses for sale and yours need to stand out and above everyone else’s ad.  Most realtor and sellers don’t take the best photos nor really try for that great first impression so it is up to you.  We call the first photo the “gallery” photo, the one that will be on the MLS, the one Realtor, Trulia and Zillow will post to show the house on their listings.  If you have a great photo and have done the curb appeal, buyers will click on the listing and then be able to read all about your house and all the great reasons to buy it and that is the goal isn’t it!  This isn’t hard to do, it just takes time and planning.

It may seem overwhelming at first but just do it.  Start with something that isn’t too hard and work you way through the whole process.  Once you have everything done, then you are ready to list your home providing you have done pretty much the same thing inside!  If you don’t do these things, you won’t attract buyers and those buyers you do attract will make low offers.  Of course you could just call us and sell your house for CASH and QUICK close and not do anything!   Remember once you get the curb appeal and have their attention, you still have the entire inside to do!

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