Curb appeal has been a buzz word in real estate for a long time. The concept of an attractive “drive by” quotient is becoming more critical. Buyers don’t load up their agent’s Cadillac and go out for an afternoon of showings. Let me rabbit trail for a moment and tell you that when I was 12 years old and dreaming of becoming a real estate agent….that is what I pictured. Driving around in my nice Cadi with power everything, showing well staged homes to cash buyers. I wonder why I never envisioned myself in a musty crawl space wearing high heels and coming face to face with a black widow spider…on steroids!
Anyway…..there was a time when the agent chose the houses based on the description and price range the buyers gave them. Plus 10 grand for good measure. This was back when the Multiple Listing Service was simply a book. A book! We faxed a handwritten MLS input forms to the Board of Realtor’s office and then once a MONTH we received our MLS books. Oh happy day! We sat around in the break room drinking coffee and scanning the books to see what was “new” on the market. They were about an 1/4 of an inch thick. Maybe a half inch in the summer-time when inventory was up. Buyers looked at the houses the agents showed them and if they didn’t like the looks from the outside? Too bad! Because, Hello! They had made an appointment. We didn’t cancel appointments in those days because not everyone had a cell phone and because in general people were courteous.
Now buyers look on line and find all the critical information about the house, interior and exterior photos, virtual tours, videos and at some point drive by the property before ever contacting an agent to requesting a showing. It is a beautiful thing because it saves everyone a lot of time! However this brings me back to curb appeal. A house with a below average curb factor has a HUGE disadvantage over it’s competition. Even….if the interior is superior. Buyer’s eliminate houses based on the drive by and the interior doesn’t get a chance to show off. First impressions can not be over-emphasized for people who are planning to list their houses.
Here are a few quick, easy and inexpensive ideas to sharpen the curb appeal of your home.
1. New Welcome mat– I recommend something with a splash of color.
2. Neat & Tidy – Make sure that all toy, bikes etc. are put away and the only things out are there on purpose.
3. Well manicured lawn-Hire help if you need….it will be worth the investment.
4. Sidewalk- Keep free of snow and ice in winter (and spring and fall if you live in Wyoming)
5. Look through your windows from the outside– There is nothing worse that blinds with bent or missing slats. Sometimes you can’t even see them from the inside but from the outside they are screaming…”This house is JUNK”
6. Make sure your doorbell works if you have one-If you don’t normally use the front entrance make a habit of it and you will notice things that are out of sight out of mind.
7. Look at your front door knob. If it is wobbly or has issues fix or replace
8. House Numbers- Make sure your house has numbers and that they are in good shape. Buyer’s can’t drive by a house when the numbers are hidden behind a shrub or are otherwise mia. Contact your local zoning to see what the requirements are regarding house numbers.