Most buyers form their first impression before they even get out of the car. This is "curb appeal," the view from the curb that makes a statement. It sends a message – your home is well-maintained compared to other property for sale. Even with a shortage of inventory, buyers still pay more for homes they can move right into without having to do any work or repairs. If your home is not in pristine condition – freshly painted, cleared of clutter, with no visible repairs needed it will be considered to be a fixer.
To see what needs to be done to sell your home faster, at the highest and best price possible, go outside and stand at the curb. Be honest with yourself and remove your personal preferences. Consider that buyers have no imagination; you are creating the ambiance for them. What do you see? Pay close attention to walkways, exterior features, the entry and landscaping.
Here are a few inexpensive ways to enhance the curb appeal:
Renew Paint, Siding and Trim
An exterior facelift automatically transforms the look of a home. Any obvious defects, such as cracked or rotting material, can downgrade the aesthetics and quickly turn away potential buyers, or reduce the conceived value of your home. Once defects are repaired, look for ways to add personality with color, trim or shutters.
Dress up the Front Door
Make a statement by giving your front door a blast of color with paint or installing a custom wood door. Your entry should also reflect the home's interior design. If you have a Mediterranean or Spanish architectural home, a solid wood door with carved detail will accent that style well. If your home is more modern consider sleek contemporary lines with simple detail.
Replace Old Hardware
Small items like house numbers, entry door hardware, a wall-mounted mailbox and exterior light sconces are all elements that can add style and interest to your home's exterior.
Install Outdoor Lighting
Low-voltage landscape lighting makes a huge impact onyour homes' curb appeal while also providing safety and security. Add accent lighting to trees or focus to the house and illuminate walking paths. If you are not able to use lights that require wiring, install solar fixtures (but understand that their light levels are not as bight or as reliable.)
A Pristine Garden: Priceless
Keep your lawn mowed, edged and watered, prune dead branches and plants. I cannot tell you how much fresh plants and burst of bright colored flowers add to curb appeal.
Container gardens with vivid colored pots add a welcoming feel and colorful appeal to any home exterior. For most landscapes a staggered, asymmetrical arrangement works best to create a dynamic setting.
Mailboxes should complement the home and express the homeowner's personality. When choosing a hanging mail box, pick a box that mirrors your homes trimmings. Dress up mail boxes by painting the wooden post to match the house's exterior color or by surrounding it by a beautiful flowering garden.
Replace Gutters and Downspouts
If your home has an older gutter system, impressions are it's also suffering from other problems that can convey a sense of neglect. Replace old systems with newer, snap-fit vinyl gutter systems that go together with few tools and require no painting. Copper systems, while pricier, convey an unmistakable look of quality.
Driveways and Walkways
Repair any cracks or potholes and cover with a fresh finish. Park cars in the garage, driveways should also be clear of vehicles, toys and debris. Make sure walkways are clear of weeds, or debris. Repair or replace cracked steps or pavers. Remember curb appeal is an invitation to buyers to see more intriguing sights, while planting a pleasant image in their minds as they venture inside. That equates to selling your home for a much higher opportunity price.