Selling your Home:
Boost Your Homes Curb Appeal

Be careful not to underestimate the importance of curb appeal when selling your home.  This critical first impression formed by buyers when they see your home's exterior can motivate or demotivate further interest.  So, given its importance, how can you boost your home's curb appeal?  Here is a suggested approach:

Start with an objective critique.
To you, your house is home.  But when it is on the market, your house is a product competing for buyer attention.  Therefore detach yourself emotionally and see your house as the rest of the world sees it.  Drive by or park and walk up to your property as if you were a potential buyer.  What is your immediate impression?  What features are attractive and what catches your eye because it is not appealing?  Answering these questions helps you focus on which elements you need to repair, minimize, or enhance.

Make a list and set priorities.
As you perform an assessment, jot down problem areas and enhancement possibilities.  Keep in mind that problems range from areas that need repair to those where simply tidying up makes a big difference.  Enhancements can involve additions.  But sometimes, an improved appearance results from the removal of something like shrubbery that hides an attractive feature from view.   

When you divide your list by problems and improvements, you make it easier to determine the order in which to tackle activities.  A good rule of thumb is to begin with problem areas.  Then move on to enhancements.  Why?  Even the most innocuous problems, when left untouched, can send up a "red flag" for potential buyers.  They wonder about overall condition, a perception that sets the tone for their entire viewing.  And even if buyers can see past clutter and needed repairs, they may expect you to make price concessions to cover the work they plan to do.  That reduces your bottom line.

Clean up and spruce up.
Now that you have a general idea of how to get going on curb appeal, what are some specific tips for achieving it?   

  • Clear debris and clutter.  Remove refuse from the grounds surrounding your house.  This includes everything from piles of leaves and discarded household items to broken lawn furniture and home improvement materials.  Store garbage cans out of sight and clear the lawn. 
  • Freshen, polish, and shine.  You want windows and doorknobs to sparkle and gutters and downspouts to be clean.  Scrub mold, mildew, and dirt from driveways and sidewalks.  Pressure wash decks or patios.  Pressure washing the exterior may also save you from having to paint. 
  • Repair and replace.  Your goal is to present your house as the structurally sound property that it is.  So fix anything that detracts from that impression such as loose screens, shutters, and roof shingles.  Replace broken windows, and repair defective siding or other structural flaws.
  • Groom and landscape lawns.   Keep front, side, and rear yards mowed and edged.  Also edge sidewalks and driveways.  Prune shrubbery and add well placed flowers, shrubs, and trees.  Remove dying or unattractive plants and keep the yard raked even if your lot is wooded.
  • Color coordinate when painting.  If your house needs a fresh coat of exterior paint, use a color that matches the color of the roof.  Use complementing colors for trim and on any other outdoor structures on your property.  
  • Use lighting creatively.  Create evening curb appeal for showings that occur at or after dusk.  Place lighting strategically along your driveway and sidewalks.  Use light to showcase eye-catching landscaping.  Have attractive light fixtures at the entry, and ensure that interior lighting is visible and welcoming from the outside.
  • Create an inviting entry.  A nice front door with polished-metal kick plate can offer a welcoming greeting even from the street.  If you have a front porch, charming furniture and homey potted plants will add panache.

The type and number of improvements that you do will depend on your budget and available time.  Therefore find the areas where improvements will make the biggest difference.  Then work on those and watch your curb appeal and your home's value grow.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.