“I will sell this house today!” affirmed a manically confident Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty. Donning rubber gloves, the anal agent spruced up the Formica and tile, trying to get the hopeless dud she was saddled with to sparkle.
These days, agents still mired in the recession also contemplate how to simply get buyers in the door, and curb appeal is everything when it comes to this lure. These five fixes can make a big difference:
1. Leaner and Cleaner Landscape
If the entrance has a patch of grass, make sure it is manicured. Too many agents and homeowners simply let the grass grow under their feet while waiting for a home to sell and the once landscaped lawn becomes a major turn off to potential buyers, unless of course they are hippies who like overgrown grass. It also helps to replace some of the water sucking plants with drought resistance cactus, and other xeriscape choices that show off your conservation commitment. It also spells low maintenance!
2. Fresh Coat of Exterior Paint
Paint is the one fix that goes the distance since buyers really do judge a listing by its cover. Go with an eco brand like Benjamin Moore and select a popular neutral, cream, white, beige or taupe with pretty trims (greens, browns, reds, blacks).
3. Eliminate all Debris and Encourage Neighbors to do the Same
I fell in love with a charming Mediterranean cottage in a desirable hood of San Francisco and probably would have made an offer if it were not for the butt-ugly neighboring homes spilling over with car and lawn equipment and other debris. It was shocking how one side of the street was pretty well maintained and the opposite site was a blight. Make cookies to bribe your neighbors into helping you with the cause by cleaning up their acts. In the end it will boost the value and saleability of their homes, as well.
4. Patch broken Concrete, Bricks and Tiles
Unless you are marketing a diamond in the rough, it pays to invest in repairing broken chimney bricks, cracked concrete drive ways and flagstone steps. It makes a statement about how you have maintained the inside of the home, just as a well groomed physical appearance often spells a healthy internal system.
5. Clean Windows
You can do this yourself with a sizeable ladder and the right materials or hire a neighborhood service to come out (they usually charge per window) right before you put the house on the market. Weather will dirty them again, but the cleaning should last a couple of months and add also make a statement about the condition of the home. Filmy windows are a deterrent for getting curious lookers inside, unless it is Halloween.
Photo credits: Main image of “Painted Ladies” opposite Alamo Square in San Francisco, licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons by Marit and Toomas Hinnosaar on Flickr.