Love at first sight…the value of curb appeal when selling your home

The first thing a buyer sees.

The first thing a buyer sees.

Never underestimate the impact of curb appeal when listing your home for sale, as this is the first impression to greet a buyer.  If you have it, it draws the buyer in and signals a well-kept home inside as well as outside.  If you don’t have it, and the exterior looks neglected and run down, the buyer may immediately conclude that the inside is not worth looking at and refuse to even go in.  Dressing your front entrance to show well is one of the least expensive projects you will do to get your home ready; it merely takes some time and elbow grease.

Aside from attractive and well-kept landscaping, there are often many other overlooked areas needing improvement, from the curb to the front door.  Take a hard look with “buyers’ eyes” and use some of the following tips as a check list for a proper makeover.

1)  Front door.  Your front door should be clean and cobweb-free.  If the paint is chipping or peeling, give it a fresh coat and consider a new, dynamic color to draw the eye.  If there is glass in the door or side lights, clean it inside and out.  Use metal polish on the doorknob, and replace it if it’s past polishing. Also replace any worn out trim.

2)  Railings.  Inspect railings and balustrades, sanding and painting any chips or cracks.

3)  Hardware and lights.  Clean the metal and glass of any light fixtures, and replace any old, worn house numbers with some new shiny brass ones.

4)  Doormat.  Throw out that old, worn mat and replace it with a plush new one that blends in with the colors surrounding it. This not only looks inviting, it will make for cleaner shoes tromping through your home.

5)  Shutters and trim.  Consider integrating some of the contemporary composite or fiberglass window shutters and trim in colors complimentary to or contrasting with  the outside of your home.  They’re easy to install and relatively inexpensive.

6)  Lighting.  In addition to a porch light, inexpensive low voltage or solar lights along the sidewalk add drama and visibility, especially in areas with no street lights.

7)  Flowers.  Whether you live in a wooded area or on a sunny street, container pots with fresh flowers in the summer add inviting lush color around the front door.  Additionally, window boxes installed under nearby windows can continue the color theme.  In winter, buy inexpensive pine boughs and spruce tops at your local
nursery to insert into the pots and window boxes, along with some sprigs of colorful berries.

8)  Mailbox.  Dress up (or replace) a tired mailbox with paint, stain, fresh numbers, and anything that coordinates it with the home design.

9)  Gutter and downspouts. Distressed gutters with holes in them and full of leaves signal neglect.  Repair any holes, touch up any paint wear spots, or replace sections.

10)  Porch and front stoop.  Stone tile in luscious colors and textures can be laid over cement floors of a porch or stoop for an attractive update.  For less work and cost, cement floors can also be painted with an outdoor paint to blend with surrounding colors and sparkle with freshness.

11)  Walkways and driveways.  Chipped and missing pavers and sections of cement and stone walkways not only look run down, but can be a safety hazard for a buyer to trip over and should be repaired before any showings. Driveways should be weed-free, with any cracks filled in.  A fresh seal coat on an asphalt driveway can make it look new and prevent further cracking.  To really dress up a tired walkway or driveway, try adding some contrasting pavers along the sides.

When you home is actively listed, leave the outside lights on until later in the evening to show off your hard-earned curb appeal.  If it’s a second, vacation home, leave some lights on timers.  Make arrangements to keep your lawn mowed, leaves raked, and snow shoveled when needed, especially if you’re not there often.  All of this attention to details will make your home stand out, bringing more buyers eager to see inside, and can pay you back with a fast sale at a better price.