Curb appeal is that indefinable “something” that makes a home look inviting from the outside, even before the front door has been opened. It is also one of the most important factors in selling a home. Many, if not most, potential buyers will do a real or virtual “drive-by” of a prospective home before viewing it. So how do you give your home curb appeal?
Once you have decided to sell your home, it is a great idea to stand outside your home, at the outer limit of the front garden or driveway, and make an objective assessment. To get an even better assessment, ask a friend or neighbour to help. Key questions to ask include:
- Does your house blend with those around it, or does it look out of place?
- If there is a front lawn, is it well tended?
- If there is a driveway, it is in good condition?
- Do the gutters need repair?
- Are there loose tiles or any missing from the roof?
- Is there any clutter, in the form of garden furniture, toys discarded by pets or children, or general rubbish?
- Are the windows and doors in good condition?
- Are the windows clean?
- If it is spring or summer, are there any pleasant touches of colour, for example, flowers in the garden?
- Are any of the trees in need of attention?
- Do any of the exterior walls need re-painting, or are any of the bricks damaged or missing?
- If there is a fence, a gate a shed or other woodwork, do these need paint or a new coat of varnish/wood preserver?
- Honest answers to these questions will almost always reveal some areas in need of attention. The next question is: what can you do about them?
Clearly, it does not make financial sense to spend a great deal of money renovating a house that you are about to sell unless that renovation is going to add a lot to the selling price. If the problem is major (e.g. if there are signs of movement or subsidence, or the roof is leaking) then a quick fix is usually all that is required. As the homeowner, you are tasked with creating an exterior that blends well with the environment around it. Many purchasers base their choice on location and the perceived qualities of that location.
Once any basic fixes, such as clutter clearing and mowing the lawn, are out of the way, there are several other ways of heightening curb appeal. One is to differentiate the house by using unusual or somewhat exclusive accessories. For example, dressing the windows with custom shutters rather than curtains, or lining paths and walkways with solar-powered lights. Another is to add a striking (but never tasteless) feature such as the house number in a bold or unusual font that echoes the age or style of the home. Essentially, anything that differentiates the house, adding individuality without making it far too much with its surroundings or the building's style, is likely to be helpful.