You’ve probably heard the old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s true in life, and it’s true in real estate. If you’re in the process of selling your home, take a moment to walk across the street and look at your home with a critical eye. What are potential homebuyers seeing as they pull up? Is your home giving off a good first impression? Does it have good curb appeal?
Real estate agents and home staging services know how important curb appeal is to the home selling process. It only takes a couple of seconds for potential homebuyers to form an opinion of your home based on its curb appeal. Below are six ways to improve your home’s first impression.
1. First Step: A Critical Review
Remember that trip across the street I mentioned above? Well, after living in your home for years, you may not be the best judge. Invite a friend or family member over to give your home a critique. What would they do to improve your home’s curb appeal? If they can’t make it over, take some photos and email them to some friends for their review. We tend to see things in photographs that we miss when we’re casually looking at things. Print your pictures out on 8 ½-by-11-inch paper, draw on them, and make notes about what changes you want to make.
2. Give it a Fresh Coat of Paint
A fresh coat of paint can go a long way toward improving your home’s curb appeal. If a potential homebuyer drives up and sees cracked and peeling paint, what impression will that leave? Not only will the homebuyer think you haven’t maintained the exterior of your home, but he is going to wonder what other maintenance items have been neglected.
Make sure the colors you choose fit with the neighborhood and the character of the house. You want your home to have great curb appeal, but that doesn’t mean it should stick out markedly from the rest of the houses on the block. If you’re selling your home, neutral colors are the best because they will have broader appeal. However, a neutral paint color doesn’t have to be boring. Add some pizzazz by painting your front door a more vibrant, complementary color.
3. Make it Welcoming
Whether it’s a decorative wreath on the front door, some decorative pots with brightly colored flowers, or simply great porch lighting, make your front door visible and inviting. Don’t overdo it. Keep things simple, but make it easy to spot your front door. If you have overgrown shrubs blocking the view to your home, it will feel less safe. Trim shrubs back to eliminate any areas where predators could lurk, and make sure your house number is clearly visible.
4. Get Rid of the Junk
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” applies to garage sales and antiquing. Improve your home’s curb appeal by putting things away and storing items that don’t enhance your home’s first impression. The less clutter you have around your front door and in your front yard the better.
5. Maintain Your Lawn
If you have a home with a lawn, the best thing you can do to create great curb appeal is to keep it maintained. Mow your lawn to a height of about 2 inches. Many people believe that mowing a lawn shorter is better, but with a blade height of about 2 inches, the grass is long enough to provide some shade for the roots, which helps the roots retain moisture and promotes stronger root growth.
Manually remove weeds as soon as you see them to prevent them from going to seed and becoming a bigger problem. Weeds generally show up in areas where the lawn is weak or lacking in nutrients. Over-seed any areas where the grass is thin and use an organic fertilizer to provide nutrients and maintain healthy soil.
Near sidewalks, driveways, and planting beds, edge your lawn with a line trimmer or straight spade to maintain a nicely manicured edge. There is no need to buy plastic lawn edging. It rarely holds up over time. A spade and a little muscle can do the trick. However, if you find you really want a built edge to your lawn, use aluminum edging. It is far more durable than plastic and will cut down on some of the maintenance needed to maintain the shape and size of your planting beds.
6. Oh, the Pressure!
Maintaining concrete driveways, sidewalks, and patios is always important for providing safe walking surfaces. However, if you are selling your home, what is the one thing a potential homebuyer is going to do? They will walk up your sidewalk or driveway to your front door. If you want your home to make a great first impression, fix any major cracks and make sure your entry sidewalk is free of debris, moss, and uneven edges. Pressure-wash concrete surfaces to remove any built up dirt and moss.
As you can see, most of these tasks are things you are probably already doing, but when neglected, they can take away from your home’s curb appeal. Creating great curb appeal really just comes down to maintaining your home. Performing these tasks on a regular basis means you’ll never have to worry about your home making a great first impression.
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