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Maximizing Curb Appeal and First Impressions to Sell your Home
We all know that in order for a house or property of any kind to sell faster and for a higher price, it should have what is known as a “curb.” It’s often not the expensive things that make the difference. Here are some things that can be done.
Keep the grass cut, not too short, but well trimmed and often – you never know what day a potential buyer will drive by. Include edging along all sidewalks, driveways, and other decorative features. Use the weed eater around all areas where weeds are growing. Use the hedge clippers on every possible hedge and bush. In particular, trim any hedges that block the view from the windows or limit the light coming through the windows. Use lots and lots of thick, fresh mulch. Mulch is cheap but does wonders to dress up a home. If your yard or area has been vacant for too long, start with a professional service the first time and then maintain the property yourself if you want. If you need to hire lawn and landscaping services during the time of the sale to keep the property in its original condition, do so. Well-maintained lots are the key to the best sales, and a few hundred dollars during the selling season will net you thousands more on the price.
Make the property and home inviting and show it off with bright colorful flowers; red and yellow flowers of the brightest colors are best. Keep the flowers well maintained and the flower beds well maintained. Buyers are unlikely to see other homes in your price range with similar floral arrangements and your home will be at the top of the buyer’s list.
Repair, paint and refurbish all outdoor furniture, patio furniture and decorations and all decorative items on the property. This includes the mailbox, if any. In fact, a bed of mulch, flowers, shrubs that decorate the base of the mailbox can make a great first impression if it is well done and well maintained.
Open the windows or turn on all the fans in the kitchen and bathroom daily to freshen the air in the home. Many people are allergic to perfumes, spices, and aerosol sprays, so don’t do the old tricks of potpourri, aerosol air fresheners, etc. Vanilla extract is usually safe. You can use some real vanilla extract, a few drops, on a piece of bread and put it in the oven on the lowest temperature (about 100 degrees) for 20 minutes or so until the house shows. You can buy or rent electronic room deodorizers to freshen the air with filtration. If you have pets, a thorough cleaning and daily vacuuming and constant running of air purification units is a great idea. There are plenty of people who are allergic to pet dander and the slightest smell of cats or dogs will kill a sale.
If necessary, rent a storage unit, sell at least one and even better two or three yards and get rid of more and more things that you no longer need or use. Clear out the attic and COMPLETELY organize it. Clean out the garage and buildings and completely organize everything left inside. The more stuff you have OUT of the garage, attic, storage buildings, and yard (unless it’s landscaping) and the more you can get out of the closets, the more spacious the home appears to buyers.
Even a cleaned, emptied, and fully organized garage looks a lot bigger and better when they’re out of it. Before the show, please move ALL cars to another location, on the street (not in front of the house) or to a neighbors house or driveway. There should be NO cars in the garage, driveway or front of the house when the buyer arrives with the agent.
Go through the entire home and get rid of most of the typos and about three quarters of everything else. Go to a model house or furniture showroom and study, maybe even take a picture of, how they are decorated. Clean the house, clear the shelves and tops of things – until your property looks like a model home. This goes for every room in the house! Clear the kitchen counters, tidy up or store MOST of the stuff in the kids’ rooms (anything they don’t use much) and get rid of any old paperbacks or unsightly books on the shelves. If the bookshelves are packed, open the shelves by storing more than half of the books or sell them on sale. Remove a lot of furniture and sell what you don’t want to keep in the house next door, or put a lot of it in storage. Dust and polish everything!
Remove all family pictures from walls and furniture. Remove all unprofessional pictures and art from the walls. Fix the holes. However, family photos, very few, in the master bedroom and in the children’s rooms make the home look like a happy home.
If you have a fireplace. Clean it up. Clean it with concrete and brick cleaners and clean all bricks and the interior of the fireplace with suitable professional cleaners from fireplace or hardware stores. In winter, especially if it’s cold or gloomy and cloudy outside, light a fire before the show. In this case, stay by the fire until the estate agent gets there, then just go a little further, for example to the neighbors house, and come back (for safety) once the estate agent leaves. Just make sure that if you get ANY smoke into the house when lighting, fully ventilate the house before the show. It’s great to make and start a fire half an hour before the show.
Be sure to wash all windows inside and outside the home, including second story windows, storm windows, and pressure wash or brush and wash all screens. If there is a screened porch, make sure all screens are in perfect condition, well stretched and well cleaned. Keep every piece of glass and mirror inside your home sparkling clean.
Flower boxes are a great and profitable addition. A perennial favorite is bright red geraniums in outdoor window boxes, under any window that is visible from the street. There are very few things that can elevate a home’s curb appeal like geraniums in window boxes, and they’re inexpensive!
Clean, organize and tidy all cupboards, drawers and cupboards in kitchens and bathrooms. Buyers often pull out the kitchen and bathroom drawers and open the cabinets to better see the size and quality of the construction, as well as the quality of the drawers, whether there are pull-out shelves, etc. Impress them with the quality of your kitchen and bathroom interior cabinets and drawers.
Note: You should leave the home while the agent is showing the home. Leave just before they get there or right after they arrive. Home sellers are killers. Prospective buyers are uncomfortable talking about a property with an agent and don’t enjoy looking too closely at a home if the seller is present.
Fencing is another area where you get back a lot more than you spend with an increased sale price and reduced time on market! New white vinyl fencing is a great investment that will increase the value of your home beyond the cost of fencing and set your home apart from all the others on the market.
Even apartments and townhouses have to be attractive. If there is no yard; make sure every bit of the stairs, walkway and entrance is clean, tidy and in good condition. Check with the condo association to see if they will promptly and professionally fix anything that needs to be done. It is to the advantage of every owner in the area that your house sells for as much as possible and as quickly as possible; this increases the value and marketability of each unit in the association. Make sure your front door and surrounding areas LOOK GOOD!
Check all around the unit; inspect the parking lot and surrounding grounds; also check community landscaping. If something needs to be done, find out if the association will take care of it, or in some cases you can do the work yourself. For example, if edging and weeding needs to be done, you may be allowed to do the work near your unit. For example, if you have a concrete walkway and steps, just brushing and scrubbing them with bleach will greatly improve the appearance and first impression.
Bleach works wonders. If there is ANY mold and mildew on the outside of the house, pressure washing with bleach will clean it and kill the mold and mildew. For wood siding and shingles, pressure washing with bleach (think double or triple the strength of sodium hypochlorite, same as bleach but stronger) will clean wood shingles and give them a new look. You can also use oxalic acid wood bleach or one of the professional wood and shingle cleaners. Pay attention to the labels, these are powerful chemicals and strong!
Proper and effective landscaping and image enhancement techniques such as these will typically add at least 15% and up to 25% to the perceived value, and thus the sale price and appraised value of the home. Most of these techniques will give you at least $4 back for every $1 spent.
The curb should be strong enough to make people driving by the house at ten to thirty miles per hour stop or at least turn their heads to look at your property as they drive by. With a realtor for sale sign on your property and a great curb, you should get a lot of people to stop, write down the information on the sign, and pick up brochures from the brochure box attached to the sign. Curb appeal sells!
Maximize your curb appeal and improve your first impression when looking to sell your property. Otherwise, you will sell more slowly and for less money than using these tips.
Copyright 2000-2005 www.JodyHudson.com
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