First impressions are extraordinarily powerful, and your house is no exception. When others approach it for the first time, does it strike them as clean, inviting and well maintained? In real estate, these all-important qualities are known as “curb appeal.” If you plan to put your home on the market, or simply want it to look its best, here are some ideas that will ensure your home makes a positive first impression.
Clean, clean, clean
Start by cleaning and tidying your driveway, walkway, front yard, and front porch. Pressure washing can make concrete and aggregate surfaces look like new; pressure washers are also ideal for cleaning stains from gutters and removing moss from patios and decks.
In your yard, keep the grass neatly trimmed, and edge your paths and walkways for a meticulously groomed look. Keep the beds weed-free, and trim trees and bushes as needed. Remove and replace any dead or struggling plants. If you are selling your home, it’s a smart investment to have a professional gardener make things picture-perfect, and then you can maintain the look yourself.
On your front porch, remove any cobwebs and sweep away all traces of dirt, leaves and pet hair. Clean your light fixtures and bulbs, and be sure your windows are sparkling clean. Wipe down your front door and polish your door hardware.
Repair and update
Fix or replace loose latticework, gently tap down nail heads that have worked loose from your siding or decks, and ensure that downspouts are attached and secure. It might make sense to replace and outdated front door, or at least give it a fresh coat of paint and update the handle and kick plate. If your exterior light fixtures were fashionable 25 years ago, they’re undoubtedly out of date now. Visit a home-improvement store and choose something more contemporary.
If your exterior paint is in good shape, light pressure washing will make it look almost new, and a fresh coat of pain on just the trim and shutters can provide a quick face lift. On the other hand, shabby paint dramatically devalues a home. If repainting is necessary, use a mainstream color that fits in with your neighborhood.
Keep it simple, clean and classic
If your home is on the market, be ruthless with clutter. Remove anything that distracts from the home itself, including children’s toys, bicycles, garden hoses and tools. You want your home to appeal to as many people as possible. When potential buyers step onto your property, they need to be able to imagine it as their own.
Create a welcoming entry
Your front porch and/or entryway provide an opportunity to make visitors feel comfortable and welcome. Beautiful pots overflowing with flowers appeal to everyone, and a trickling water feature can create a serene atmosphere. And if there’s room, a small table and chairs on the front porch are very inviting. Finally, if your doormat has worn out its welcome, it’s time to purchase a new one.
Get a fresh point of view
It can be surprisingly difficult to view your home objectively and to see it as others do. One helpful trick is to shoot photos or video; for most people, this technique helps them see their home from a fresh perspective. By all means, ask your agent for a professional opinion. He or she can give you a checklist of recommended tasks that will strengthen your home’s curb appeal.
There’s only one chance to make a first impression
Curb appeal is more important than you might imagine. We’ve seen buyers make a snap judgment before they step out of the car. If it’s a negative first impression, that’s hard to overcome no matter how nice the home is inside. One the other hand, when a home is charming and cleaned and cared for on the outside, buyers can be so positively affected that once they’re inside, they are less critical of an outdated kitchen or a small bathroom. Strong curb appeal can help cement a positive opinion.
If you have questions about getting your home ready to sell, or are looking for an agent in your area I can help you. Contact me here.