Danielle Groeneweg

How Important is Curb Appeal?

The first impression you have on a person or place definitely make a lasting impression on you. So, it should come as no surprise that buyers rate a home lots of times based on their first impression and the first thing they are going to see is the outside of the home. That is why curb appeal is so important. Angela Colley wrote a great article on Realtor.com that describes six curb appeal disasters to avoid. Here it is:

“It’s difficult to put a dollar value on your curb appeal. No one can quite agree on exactly what you’ll get for slaving away in the front yard a few weekends before you put your home up for sale.

Some estimates claim that a well-landscaped lawn could increase the value of your home by 5% to 20%. But other return on investment estimates are even larger—anywhere from 100% to even a whopping 1,000%. Whoa!

Doesn’t it make you want to break out the gardening gloves and hop to it? Good! Because if you skip bumping up your curb appeal before putting your home on the market, the only person who shows up to your open house might be your real estate agent.

Curb appeal is your home’s first impression on prospective buyers and, as we all know, first impressions matter. Make a big mistake in the presentation, and you’ll have a hard time getting buyers through the door.

But how do you know if you’re making a big mistake? It depends. Check out how close you are to these curb appeal disasters.

1. The outside doesn’t match the inside

Ugly Infill in College Hill

Paul Sableman/Flickr CC

Chain-link fence, overgrown lawn, no landscaping … even if your house is gorgeous inside, potential buyers might not be able to see its beauty if they need a weed whacker to get to the front door.

We’ll repeat it: First impressions matter. No matter how great your personality is, you wouldn’t go on a first date without brushing your teeth and hair and putting on pants (we hope). So you shouldn’t put your home on the market without a little TLC, either.

“There is nothing worse than seeing pictures of a home’s beautiful interior online only to find that they completely neglected the outside of their home,” says Liz MacDonald, Philadelphia-based home stager and host of the web series Shelf Help.

2. Overflowing (or visible) trash cans

whiteday

Charles Wagner/Flickr CC

Trash, shockingly enough, is a nonstarter for most home buyers. Obviously, garbage spilling over your lawn is a big no-no. But even the sight of trash cans on the curb can be a turnoff.

“Make sure to keep those trash bins out of sight and as empty as possible at all times,” MacDonald says. “The last thing you want buyers to think about when making a first impression is the trash.”

If you need to move out before the home sells, make sure to check in on things regularly (or have a friend or neighbor do it for you). Movers may leave stuff behind or the neighbor’s trash may blow into your yard—things happen—just don’t let buyers see it.

3. The half-finished house

Fenton-Mi-half-painted-house

Joffre Essley/Flickr CC

Unless you’re selling your house as is or as a tear-down, don’t leave any outdoor home improvement projects incomplete. If the first thing that buyers see is an unfinished paint job or patchy roofing, odds are good they’ll assume the inside is unfinished as well and just keep on driving.

4. An overly unique sense of style

Ugly

Chad Miller/Flickr

Love your bright violet front door? Think your flock of pink flamingos is delightfully kitsch? Are you certain your giant dinosaur-shaped mailbox is so you? We get it. Being able to display a style all your own is one of the best aspects of homeownership.

That is, until you go to sell your house.

“Keeping items like lawn art or ornaments is too specific to appeal to the masses,” MacDonald says.

Rein it in on the inside and the outside, otherwise potential buyers will just see a whole lot of weekend work ahead.

“Your best bet is to go neutral to appeal to the broadest range of buyers,” MacDonald says. That means no bright colors, no unusual trim choices, and no DIY garage-door mural (even if it is kind of adorable).

5. The barren wasteland

IMG_4294

Carolyn Williams/Flickr CC

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to do nothing at all. No matter how clean, updated, and sellable your house is, there’s something extremely off-putting about not having any landscaping.

Houses with nothing green going on just seem, well, naked. And you don’t even have to do much—or spend much—to make your yard pop.

“Modern and minimal is always the way to go,” MacDonald says.

Add some simple shrubs that are native to your area, a few flower beds or fruit trees for some color, and voila—you’ve got curb appeal.

6. The overcrowded porch

Lawn Ornaments Gone Wild

Karen Apricot/Flickr

A big, comfy porch is like catnip to buyers on the prowl, but only if you’ve done it right. If your porch is overflowing with large chairs, planters, and hanging baskets, buyers are going to feel claustrophobic—not cozy.

“Keeping it simple is key,” MacDonald says. “You want to showcase the space without any clutter or extra pieces of furniture that don’t function specifically for the purpose of enjoying your porch.””

If you are getting ready to list your home this Spring, I suggest taking the time to make sure the outside of your home is just as inviting and show ready as the inside. Maybe even add a couple hanging baskets or potted plants to give a pop color for Spring. If you are thinking about selling your home and would like some advice on curb appeal, feel free to contact me.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning!

It is hard to believe that Spring is almost here! With all the snow and rain we have gotten this year it seems like Winter has lasted FOREVER! With all the harsh weather we had it is even more important to check off these Spring Cleaning items for your home. One of the best ways to maintain your home’s value is to take care of it and keeping up with annual maintenance.

Here is a great Spring Cleaning Checklist from Home Advisor. For full article click here.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

  • Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.
  • Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.
  • Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and recaulk needed area.
  • Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.
  • Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.
  • Drain waste and vent system: Flush out system.
  • Hot water heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor.
  • Evaporative air conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.
  • Heat pump: Lubricate blower motor.
  • Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If you can slide a nickle into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a professional immediately.
  • Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Perform a thorough cleaning. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.
  • Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.
  • Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.
  • Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.

 

Remember, it’s better for your home and pocketbook to prevent a problem and be ahead of it then try and fix a disaster later on. Is there any Spring Cleaning items you do every year for your home that didn’t make this list? Let me know what they are!

Thanks for reading & happy Spring Cleaning.