Talk to any Realtor®, it’s hard to sell a house that doesn’t look good from the curb. HGTV concurs: “According to the National Association of Realtors, 63 percent of homebuyers will drop by after viewing a home they like online.” Even more important, 88 percent of homebuyers begin the search for a new house online. Therefore, home sellers must not only think like prospective home buyers, but they think like photographers, too. Not only does the house have to present an attractive and welcoming appearance to people pulling up to the curb, but it must also look good in pictures to persuade home buyers to drive out to see the house in person and discover its other great qualities.
Frame your home with your hands, thumbs to forefingers, and look at your house. What do you see? This snapshot is the first thing potential home buyers will see, because they’ll most likely see that picture online. If the first impression from that snapshot is “Ugh,” then your chances of selling plummet. Act like a prospective home buyer and drive slowly past your house from both directions. Walk around the house with a critical eye and write down the defects. Once you’ve done that, you can sort out those problem areas that can be quickly and simply rectified.
Following are the top tips recommended by Ask Amy Staging to improve your home’s first impression. The best thing: none of these tips will break the bank.
- Clean the exterior. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can rent one. Use the blasting power of a pressure washer to remove mold, mildew, and dirt from siding, porches, and decks. Cleaning also involves tidying those flower beds, sweeping debris off that front porch and walkways, and picking up trash.
- Fix anything broken. The harsh weather of winter can wear on a house’s exterior. If the roof is missing shingles, the gutter sags, a window screen is torn–whatever it is–fix it. Keeping the exterior in good repair builds confidence in prospective buyers.
- Make a statement with a blast of color by painting your front door and/or shutters. Touch up dull or faded paint on trim. Don’t forget to include the mailbox post.
- Replace hardware. Has that doorknob seen better days? Are the house numbers faded or missing? What about the outdoor lighting? Does it project the image you want potential homebuyers to see? Replacing outdated and dingy hardware adds style and interest. Experts recommend coordinating hardware finishes for a unified, cohesive look.
- Install outdoor lighting. Low voltage lighting to illuminate pathways not only add to the house’s safety and security, but also contribute a positive visual impact.
- Add interest with plants. Especially if the exterior of your house is in good shape, but drab, use Mother Nature to add drama and interest with container plants and flower boxes. Group varying sizes and shapes of pots and plants. Vivid colors, wonderful textures, alluring scents, and little or no weeding or mulching all add to the home’s visual appeal with the added benefit that you can container plants all with you.
The primary focus of curb appeal is to make your house look like a place where people want to live, not a place people want to leave. That first impression can make or break the sale. If the first impression your house invites prospective buyers to come on in and make themselves at home, then you’re more likely to make the sale.