Curb appeal is essential in marketing a house.
The old warning that there is no second chance to make a first impression is true not only for people, but for homes, too. That’s why the way a house looks from the road or street, often called curb appeal, is especially important.
“You must invest a little to make your home flawless in the buyer’s eyes,” explains Dan Belcher, CEO of Mortgage Relief. “Consider first and foremost the curb appeal. First impressions, as they say, are the most valuable. Improve the exterior by upgrading the front door, installing new light fittings or adding plants to make it more enticing to potential purchasers.”
Especially when it comes to landscaping, curb appeal does not have to be complicated, according to Sheila Schrader of Schrader Landscape Design in Lincoln, Neb.
“When I am working with a client who knows they are selling their home, I actually encourage them to do some simplifying to their landscaping and make sure that it looks like it’s easy to maintain,” she says.
Schrader adds that would-be sellers should choose landscaping with selling in mind.
“It’s important to focus on the front of the home, as that is what makes the first impression,” she says. “I recommend choosing plants that have their peak bloom or color when the house is going onto the market.”
She also recommends putting plants in decorative containers near the front door and along sidewalks.
“It’s bright and an easy investment to bring color into your landscape. Plus, you can take those with you when you move to your new home,” she says.
Schrader said the outdoor areas of the home should be staged just like the interior. She suggests cleaning up gardens and flower beds and adding new cushions to outdoor furniture.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Jason Gelios, author of “Think Like a Realtor,” says curb appeal—from the lawn to the way the home’s exterior looks—is incredibly important.
“If you have home buyers pull up to a house … and they see branches and dead trees in the backyard, they’re not going to care if the inside of the house is updated. Landscaping is huge, especially in rural areas,” says Gelios.
He adds that curb appeal does not just mean what can be seen from the road, street or sidewalk; it’s the entire property.
Chase Michels, a Downers Grove, Ill., real estate consultant explains paint is a great investment to enhance curb appeal.
“Painting the exterior is a cost-effective upgrade for a home. An exterior paint job can potentially increase the value of your home from 2 to 5%. Selecting the right paint will give your home a clean look, the widest range of buyers and help improve its value,” he says.
Michels suggests using neutral colors like white or cream for the exterior and a color for railings, trim and accents for a fresh look.
“Consider painting the door an eye-catching color to make a great first impression,” he adds.
First impressions are vital, Gelios says. “You can have a really beautiful home with all the attractive features, but if the curb appeal spells disaster when a buyer pulls up, that may hinder the rest of the showing experience,” he concludes.
Les O’Dell is a multimedia reporter for The Southern Illinoisan and a frequent contributor to Illinois Country Living.