Sprucing Up for Curb Appeal
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's got the fairest home of all?
If first impressions are everything, then your home's exterior should make a
bold statement, something like, "Hey homebuyer, look at me! " In fact, curb
appeal is so important that exterior improvements may do more to sell your
home than investing big bucks on interior renovations. It's the packaging of
your home, the photograph that appears in your home listing ad, and your
home's debut on the market that could fly or flop. When that spotlight
shines, make sure your home sparkles.
And don't waste time and money on fruitless enhancements that don't provide
bang for the buck. Not only do many home sellers make unnecessary
improvements, thinking they are sure to boost the appeal, experienced real
estate sales agents say the wrong improvements can actually deter the sale of
the home. Knowing how to dress a house for sale, and what improvements to
avoid can save you thousands of dollars. Here's a basic approach with ideas
to boost your curb appeal up a notch or two.
Frequently, homes in suburban subdivisions take on that uniform, vanilla
flavor for homebuyers driving through tract housing. Remember that anything
creative you can do to give your home a unique, tasteful personality will go
a long way. Sometimes it's adding a unique feature such as a trellis or
gazebo. Or it might be simply redesigning the front landscape and adding new
flowers and shrubs.
Creating more usable space for outdoor barbecues, parties, or relaxation may
be just the ticket to capture the homebuyer's fancy. For example, installing
a small patio with landscaping and planters around it will turn a bland
backyard into a delightful space. Trees are a simple improvement to greatly
improve your outdoor ambience. They can add privacy in the backyard, or
create a pastoral feeling with green space.
When making exterior improvements, follow these general principles.
Front Yard Focus. Pull together some interesting features in the front of
the house such as colorful shrubs or trees. Or plant some bold, colorful
annuals. Another way to increase utility and appeal is to create street
access to the front of the house with a path or walkway.
Porch and Patio Permutations. The front or back porch are heavily used in
pleasant weather, so it pays to enlarge or improve the porch. A variety of
other exterior items will lend beauty and functionality, including patios,
patio covers, seating walls, fireplaces, waterfalls, fountains, ponds, fire
pits and barbecue centers. If you have these items, put them in tiptop shape
and replace any damaged or deteriorating concrete, brick, or flagstone. If
you don't already have them, carefully assess the cost of installing them and
don't go overboard without some assurance of recouping the outlay at resale.
Build in Basics. Consider installing privacy screening or trellises and
arbors to accent any entrance area. Other accessory items include gazing
balls, obelisks, sundials and birdbaths. Landscape lighting can add a touch
of class. Update and re-sod or replant the lawn. If your grass is more than
20 years old, your lawn probably needs a makeover.
Sources used to create this article include Julie Bawden Davis and the Los