Saturday, July 27, 2013

Curb Appeal Increases Real Estate Values

Real estate markets in the U.S. are varied by region.  And some regions are rebounding after property values diminished several years ago. Many homes lost up to one third of their value overnight. Other regions, however, are still depressed due to a large amount of foreclosures in the area which bring down home prices in that neighborhood.  for sale signs
Many homeowners need to sell their properties, but with the prices down, and interest rates on the way up from record low rates, how can the seller get the most buyers to see this house as their new home?

Curb appeal – that element of the home that is viewed from the outside by prospective buyers.  Most buyers will drive by a listing before they actually go inside the property and 63% of those driving by will never go inside.
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So let’s see what the 37% of home buyers find attractive enough to walk in the front door. What can the seller do to make a good impression? 

Good curb appeal will tell the story of this house.  Gee, the house must be neat inside, because, look at the outside.  They have time to relax on the front porch.  Adding a sitting area will go a long way to invite folks in.
Many avid gardeners can go a long way to be attractive by reducing massive gardens.  To the onlooker, these gardens mean work.  They see, not only mowing, but weeding, pruning, painting, and a big commitment to the landscape.  The reminder is that not everyone likes to garden, so simplify the impression that this yard takes a lot of time to maintain.

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Personal style is another risky element to the curb appeal.  Not everyone will be drawn to your style and to limit the future buyer to a chosen few will greatly reduce the buyer pool looking for a home in the area. Appealing to ‘most’ buyers is going to pay off in a timely sale at maximum dollars.

images (23)too specific of a garden
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Exterior maintenance delayed costs money. Few buyers, if any, will want to tackle a major project like these.  The buyers may agree to a sale IF the seller fixes the problems before the sale.  So if the homeowner is going to have the expense of fixing this anyway, go ahead and present a well maintained landscape from the beginning. 
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No landscaping or dead landscaping will not lure a buyer to this property. Before putting the house on the market, spray weeds, and  water and fertilize the lawn.

no landscaping

A bare landscape is just as much a turn-off  as an overgrown landscape.
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Tearing out, pruning, and weeding a landscape will show the buyers that this house is well taken care of and it shows a degree of pride in this home.

Clean up drives and walkways as well.  Edging to make crisp neat lines will show the onlooker this yard and home are not hiding any difficult maintenance issues, since the current homeowner seems to have time to keep the yard looking good.

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edged walkway

Another aspect of too owner specific is artwork displayed in the yard.  The seller may like his gnomes and flamingos, but removed, the curb appeal will speak to many more buyers.

images (22)Pearl's-Rainbow

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This may be charming, livable house inside, but with these shrubs hiding the front, who can tell?  Open up the view to the house by pruning, or removing overgrown plantings.

good curb appeal
Opening up the site of the house shows a couple of aspects that a buyer may find appealing.  The siding is in good condition, and the beds are neat, and would be easy to maintain.  That is good curb appeal.

images (17)too many containers

Clutter of any kind is a drawback to curb appeal.  These planters are another hint that this house is hard to maintain so that the yard was just too much for these homeowners.  Fence lines need to be trimmed, and clutter removed before the curb appeal has a chance to scare off too many potential buyers.

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Front doors need to be welcoming.  Power washing siding to remove dirt, mold, and spider webs, or a fresh coat of paint will say ‘come on into your new home’. 

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Good exterior lighting is another aspect of curb appeal.  Keep porch lamps on in the evenings.  A well lit exterior appears welcoming and safe. Safety is another reason to remove overgrown shrubbery around the front door.  Do not give intruders a place to hide and the prospective buyers will see a safe place to call home.

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Spend a few dollars to add bright, colorful plants at or near the entrance.  Power wash the walkways, or paint the porch surface for a new, clean look.

Plant a tree.  These two homes are in the same upscale neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio.  Yet the top property is valued at $10,000 more than the lower house.  Why?  The value of the landscape.  People will pay more for a wooded lot.  Trees create a sense of peacefulness and calmness.  So if a seller can add a tree to the property, that property will appear to have a greater value. 

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Curb appeal is an important aspect of selling real estate.  If the potential buyer keeps on going, there is no chance for the property to get sold.
Inexpensive chores like mowing, weeding, and pruning can put money in the seller’s pocket.

Adding a shrub or planter gives the landscape a finishing touch, much like a piece of jewelry does to an outfit.

The optimum time to sell is when the homeowner decides to sell. As house prices go up, and interest rates go up, make sure the curb appeal does not limit the amount of good, qualified buyers from taking an interest in the house.  

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