Curb Appeal Counts When Selling
Home buyers are buzzing through Oshawa and Whitby neighbourhoods to check for new "For Sale" signs.Curb appeal is the nectar that beckons buyers to stop and sniff the flowers. Peeling paint, overgrown shrubbery and an unkempt appearance is a buzz kill. Buyers read "keep out" when the message should be "welcome."
Prospective home buyers usually make up their minds about viewing a home less than 10 seconds after seeing the exterior. If they don't like what they see outside, nothing a real estate agent says or does - short of dragging them kicking and screaming - will get them inside.
Even if the interior has been redone, they don't want to stop and go in. People want to be excited about coming home to their house every day. It sends a subliminal message when a potential buyer drives up and sees everything is neat, clean and in its place. That says 'this is a great home' and sends the message that if the exterior is taken care of, probably they've cared for the interiors, too.
Make the front entry as welcoming and warm as possible. That front door needs to be clean, the glass sparkling, the porch cleaned up, and when you open the door, no clutter and no odors.
Beyond curb appeal:
One of the biggest errors is trying to mask an odor rather than get rid of it. Too many scented plug-ins and candles from room to room is just as bad. If there are pet odors, some people won't even go through the door because of allergies.
The better dressed your home, the more people want to see it. Make it inviting. Repaint, hose down the siding, make sure the landscaping is trimmed back and presentable, put a wreath on the door. Step back and be objective. Ask yourself, 'Would I want to go into this house or would I pass it by?'
But a seller's efforts don't stop at the front door. It's the "little things" that can make or break a sale, particularly odor, cleanliness and clutter. Some real estate agents suggest a teaspoon of vanilla poured on a cookie sheet and placed in a warm oven will fill the house with a light, appealing fragrance before a showing. Just remember to turn off the oven before leaving the house.
If a home isn't sparkling clean and uncluttered, especially the kitchens and bathrooms, the woman is going to walk out the door. Thoroughly scrub bathrooms and kitchens. Replacing worn, corroded fixtures can give older sinks and tubs an inexpensive facelift. Remove small appliances and give counters a clean sweep to clear counter space. Clean off magnets, photos and take-out menus from the refrigerator door.
You want bathrooms and kitchens looking their best because those are the rooms that will reap the most rewards. Also, if you have old carpeting throughout the house and hardwood floors underneath, remove the carpeting and get the floors cleaned up. Let them sing. If the carpet is in good shape, have it cleaned.
De-personalize the space by removing the family photo gallery off the walls. Prospective buyers should picture themselves living in the home.
Pack up salt-and-pepper shakers, velvet Elvis paintings and Precious Moments collections and put them in storage. Clean out and organize basements, garages and attics. Ask children to help out by removing posters and glow-in-the-dark stickers from their bedroom walls. Paint rooms to freshen the space. Have a garage sale to get rid of stuff you don't want and have been meaning to ditch for years.
Don't over-decorate. "People would rather see more of a blank slate so they can envision their own personality in the house. Toss down personal colors. Take down those family pictures -- a buyer doesn't want to feel they're moving a family out, they want to envision themselves moving in.
Declutter closets. If your closets are jammed full of stuff, if you've got shoeboxes and sweatshirts stacked 2 feet high, even if it's a huge closet or a walk-in closet, you're giving the buyer the thought that closets aren't big enough.
Rearrange furniture and remove pieces to aid traffic flow. Minimalist - that's the thought process ... if you have too many chairs or your furniture is large, a buyer is going to think the rooms are too small because all the furniture doesn't fit. If somebody is truly thinking about buying a house and get into a home and every corner is full, it's going to discourage the buyer. Unconsciously if they like the house, a buyer's eyes gravitate to an empty corner and they start arranging their own furniture. If they don't have that empty corner, they'll move on.
Inside and out, tackle chores on the "honey-do" list. Unfinished projects are red flags to potential buyers. Wives say - 'sure, you'll fix that for the realtor and I've been after you to finish that for the last 10 years'. If you're selling your house, you can't live in it like you normally would. It's all about presentation.
If possible, remove pets from the home during a showing. It will make for happier pets who may feel threatened by strangers, and a better showing.
Homeowners should leave during showings. Otherwise prospective buyers won't feel free to ask questions and the real estate agent can't effectively do their job.
Curb appeal counts when sellingIt's important that your home look tidy outside as well as inside. You're ready to put your house on the market. Inside, it is beautifully decorated and sparkling clean. That bit of peeling paint on the porch and the bald spots in the garden won't bother prospective purchasers, right?
Maybe not. And then again, they may drive by, see these flaws and take your house off the list of houses they plan to view. First impressions count.
What real estate agents call "curb appeal" is the impact your house makes when seen from a car or the sidewalk. If the exterior of the house and the yard are tidy and well maintained, prospective purchasers walk in with a pleasant feeling of expectation that the interior will match up. If the lawn is shaggy, the windows are dirty and the doorbell doesn't work, they will be on guard for problems inside.
Here's a short list of things you can do to increase your home's curb appeal:
cut and rake the grass and water frequently enough to keep it green; fill and seed any bare patches.
wash windows and replace any cracked glass.
weed and edge the garden.
bridge gaps in foundation plantings with bright annuals in containers.
remove flaking paint and stucco from the steps, porch or deck, door, trim and storage sheds and repaint.
keep the lawn and porch or deck clear of bikes, toys, gardening tools, flyers and other clutter.
keep the pool immaculate.
make sure the front door opens and shuts smoothly and the doorbell functions.
tuck garbage containers out of sight.
It's a good idea to ask your listing agent to take a tour of the exterior, note any flaws and tell you what you need to do to make your home more saleable.
I would be happy to look at your house before you start working at the exterior or interior to brainstorm with you and give you some additional ideas. I firmly believe in getting you the most bang for the fewest bucks. As well I have names of contractors clients have used in the past. Just contact me.
Try to think of your home's appearance as a form of advertising. The few hundred dollars you invest in increasing its curb appeal can mean more viewings, a quicker sale and - possibly - a better price.