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Making the Most of Curb Appeal

Jul 25, 2008
As more homebuyers and real estate agents use the internet to research properties, first impressions are more important than ever. Before scheduling appointments or visiting open houses, homebuyers and their agents will often drive by homes for sale and make assessments based on the exterior. More often than not, if a homebuyer doesn't like the outside of a home, they won't care to see the inside. Yet, it is possible to dramatically alter the appearance of your home with a few simple tasks. As you prepare to list your home, consider implementing some of the tips mentioned here to maximize your property's curb appeal.

Before you begin making repairs to the exterior of your home, you may want to analyze your home from a distance. Look at your home from across the street and try to pinpoint the best and worst qualities of the property. As you walk towards your home, try to make note of both your first impressions and any elements that stand out. When looking at your home from the exterior, you may also want to compare its appearance to other homes in the neighborhood. While you may feel as if you know the details of your home intimately, this step can help you think like a potential buyer and assist you in maximizing the curb appeal.

When it is time to get to work, you should approach the exterior of your home in the same way you would a bedroom or kitchen. Just as you wouldn't want a prospective home buyer to see dirty dishes in your sink, you want to make sure the front of your home is as attractive as possible. While the chores associated with maximizing curb appeal will differ from home to home, the following are the most common and effective methods of enticing potential buyers indoors for a closer look:

Paint - Perhaps the most effective of all pre-sale repairs, a simple coat of paint to the exterior, doors and shutters can make your home appear well cared for and in good condition. When painting the exterior of the home, you may also want to consider if new door knobs and other hardware could boost the appearance of your home. If you don't replace any of the metal on the exterior of your home, polishing brass hardware and cleaning or painting iron fences can also give your home a fresh look.

Lawn - There are a number of landscaping tricks that may improve the curb appeal of your home. First, the lawn should be mowed, raked and edged. Next, try to thoroughly weed all planter boxes, trim larger plants and include some extra flowers near the front of the house. If any large trees hang over your home or obscure the view from the street, you may want to cut away some large branches. You may also want to consider investing some extra money into landscaping by hiring professionals to make your front yard as attractive as possible.

Windows and Gutters - Much like the fresh paint applied to the exterior, taking time to clean the windows can certainly change the appearance of your home. Likewise, try to keep your rain gutters free of leaves and debris as you never know where a potential homebuyer might look.

Driveway - If you have an old, cracked driveway, hiring a professional to reseal the surface can add to your home's curb appeal. If the driveway rests in direct sight in front of the home, this step can become even more important.

Lighting - As potential homebuyers could drive by your property at any time, you want to make sure your home is inviting at night. By installing a street lamp and a front porch light - both of which should match the style of your home - you will dramatically boost your home's 24/7 curb appeal. If you anticipate potential homebuyers coming onto the property after dark, calm lighting that lines the driveway and path to the front door can put your visitors at ease.

Pressure Clean - This process can be applied to both the exterior of the home and the driveway. Just one treatment can eliminate years of dirt, mold and mildew from your property.

If you need to improve the curb appeal of your home before putting it up for sale, the best tool could be your ability to think like a buyer. By repairing or minimizing your property's flaws and drawing attention to key selling points, you may be surprised by the responses you receive from potential homebuyers.
About the Author
Greg Gagnon writes select articles about important topics related to real estate for the Coldwell Banker Corporation. For more information about buying a home or selling your current property, visit Coldwell Banker.
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