Many people are familiar with the idea that a strong first impression can go a long way. While that idea is most often referenced in regard to personal interactions, it's also applicable to real estate.
When selling a home, homeowners who emphasize curb appeal may find it far easier to sell their homes. Curb appeal refers to the impression a home's exterior makes on people seeing the home for the first time. In 2014, the online real estate database Zillow® surveyed real estate agents and found that curb appeal was one of the five most important factors when selling a home.
Projects that improve curb appeal can be vast undertakings or simpler projects, and the following are a handful of projects to improve a home's curb appeal that run the gamut from simple to complex.
• Clean up the yard. Cleaning up the yard is among the simpler yet most effective projects to improve a home's curb appeal. When selling their homes, homeowners should clear the yard of any clutter, including kids' toys, grass clippings or items that might be scattered throughout the yard. A cluttered yard suggests homeowners do not care much about their home's appearance, and that may lead buyers to think that indifference extended to maintaining the home's interior as well. Many buyers will ignore properties without any external aesthetic appeal, but cleaning up the yard does not require much effort or expense on the part of sellers.
• Make the main entryway more inviting. Creating a more inviting entryway won't be as simple as cleaning up the yard, but it can help create a strong first impression without breaking the bank. To begin, remove plants and furniture from the front porch or area surrounding the doorway, as such items can create a cluttered feel. If the front door is old, replace it. Custom doors may be expensive, but they might add the wow factor buyers are looking for. If a new door is beyond your means or just unnecessary, repaint the door, ideally in a color that complements the color of your home and the surrounding landscape.
• Address pavement problems. Paving problems are not necessarily an expensive fix, but the cost of repairing driveways and walkways can add up if it's been awhile since these areas were refurbished. Still, one of the first things buyers will notice when getting out of their cars is the ground they're walking on, so patch and repair or even replace driveways and walkways that have fallen into disrepair.
• Add or upgrade outdoor living spaces. Outdoor living spaces also can set a property apart from others on the market. A recent study from the National Association of Realtors found that buyers would not hesitate to pay asking price for homes with outdoor living spaces. When adding or upgrading outdoor living spaces, try to depersonalize the spaces as much as possible, as buyers want to picture themselves, and not the sellers, enjoying these areas. Include some comfortable furniture, adequate lighting and a dining area in your outdoor living space as well.
Curb appeal can add a lot to a home, while lack of such appeal can make a home difficult to sell. Homeowners who want to sell their properties for asking price or more should address curb appeal before putting their homes on the market.