If you’ve put your home on the market, one of the first things your real estate agent should do is give you an honest, objective opinion of your home. This isn’t because he or she wants to point out all the flaws in your house or imply that you haven’t taken good care of your home. This appraisal is because first impressions are absolutely vital in the real estate market. If a potential buyer steps out of the car and sees a home with an unkempt front yard, chipped paint, and other problems, it doesn’t really matter what the inside looks like—that first impression will most likely have killed any chance of a sale.
This first impression, usually referred to as curb appeal in the real estate world, is often what makes the sale. People will take a look at the home as they drive by or drive up and say something like, “oh, what a cute house!” That’s what often seals the deal even before they see the inside. That cute front door, well-maintained lawn, and other exterior factors are what often sticks in a person’s mind. Of course, if the interior is run down, the best exterior in the world won’t make the sale. However, a horrible exterior can kill a sale before potential buyers even walk in the door.
So what do you need to do to have great curb appeal? Here are a few things to work on:
- Make sure your lawn is mowed. You may need to mow your yard once a week or so if you have a lot of people looking at the house. This will always keep it looking perfect.
- Bag the clippings, too, so the yard doesn’t have cut grass all over it.
- Make sure your flowerbeds look good. Remove any dead plants and weeds.
- Trim your hedges and bushes so they don’t look like they’re growing out of control.
- Keep your yard tidy by keeping children’s outdoor toys put away.
- Repaint or do touch-ups on the porch, the front door, and any part of the home that can be seen from the street.
- Trim the trees. Remove dead limbs and cut any low-hanging branches that might scratch cars or hit someone’s head.
- Remove anything that’s an eyesore. This includes anything on your porch that might look old or out of place and anything in your front lawn.
- Clean the windows. You’d be surprised at how much better this makes your house look.
- Don’t forget that your car may also be seen by potential buyers. Even though it’s not a part of your home, they may subconsciously take its state into account when looking at your house. If your car isn’t presentable, consider putting it in the garage or parking it in such a way that the best side is presented to the potential buyer.
If your real estate agent doesn’t talk to you about curb appeal, be sure to bring it up. It might seem a little silly to think that someone will decide to buy your house based on their first impression of it, but you’d be surprised.