The Home Seller's Guide to Curb Appeal

Your Guide to Home Curb AppealUnless a seller is fortunate enough to have a professional staff of groundskeepers and maintenance personnel, the aspect of curb appeal is something that most homeowners find themselves dealing with in some capacity when deciding to sell their home. Since buyers often equate curb appeal with actual quality and value, sellers who miss the mark when attempting to improve their home's curb appeal may find themselves experiencing depressed levels of buyer interest, longer market times, and lower purchase offers than a comparable home that buyers view more positively.

If you are preparing your home for sale and want to make sure it is as appealing as possible from the curb, the following information can help cure problem areas and maximize a home's appeal in today's real estate market. 

Worried About First Impressions? Make Sure to Start With a Clean Slate

Much like when prepping the interior of a home, the lawns, gardens, flowerbeds, outbuildings, and hardscape areas also need to be clean, neat, and clutter-free in order to be attractive from the curb. Some suggestions to help with this include:

  • keeping lawns mowed and trimmed, making sure to remove or mulch excess grass trimmings or leaves to keep the grass looking healthy and green
  • feeding and aerating sparse lawns, as well as considering seeding them to help encourage healthy growth
  • removing weeds from flowerbeds, window boxes, and planters, and replacing any dead or unhealthy plants to keep these areas looking colorful and lush
  • putting away tools, garden hoses, trash cans, toys, and any excess items that create a cluttered appearance 
  • having wood, cement, or masonry areas, such as porches, decks, driveways, sidewalks, and garage aprons, pressure washed or cleaned in another manner to remove dirt and oil stains and brighten aging surfaces
  • making sure that exterior surfaces of the home and any outbuildings are in good repair and painted or sided attractively

Failing to Focus? Create Additional Interest to Add Value and Appeal

Even homes that look clean, well-maintained, and clutter-free can lose important curb appeal points if they are viewed as being too plain or generic from the curb – especially in areas with many attractive homes for sale like Lakeway. Sellers who face this problem and want to make their home more memorable to active home buyers can accomplish this by adding one or more focal points to add a spark of interest. Capable of capturing the buyer's eye and being perceived as adding value, relatively inexpensive improvements, such as casual seating areas, fire pits, or an eye-catching landscaping project can spice up curb appeal and make prospective buyers take a second look. 

Need Some Welcoming Touches? Small Changes That Add Up on the Curb Appeal Meter

Another way to increase curb appeal is to go the extra mile and add some additional welcoming touches that buyers will notice and appreciate. For instance, adding a bright coat of paint to a dark, dull front door can be very welcoming. Sellers who cannot change the color of their door can still make their existing one more attractive by making sure that the hardware is polished to a shine and the area is highlighted with a colorful basket or pot of flowers. 

Homes that are attractive during the day can suddenly seem dark and drab from the curb, especially as the days become shorter this fall. To add vibrancy and interest, homeowners who have this problem can consider installing a few well-placed, inexpensive solar yard lights to frame entry areas or along sidewalks. In addition to making the home seem brighter and cheerier during dusky hours and on overcast days, solar lighting can also make buyers feel safer when viewing the home during the evening hours. 

Curb Appeal Mistakes to Avoid

When people see a home, its exterior and landscaping are its first impression. Curb appeal is essential for attracting potential buyers, but many homeowners make mistakes when preparing their home's exterior. Here are some of the most common mistakes homeowners make regarding their home's landscaping and curb appeal and how to avoid them.

Too Much Work

While the home's gardens may be the homeowner's pride and joy, it may seem overwhelming to a buyer who doesn't do a lot of gardening. Many people don't have the time or money to maintain large gardens filled with annual plants that need to be replaced as soon as the next spring arrives. In order to make gardens more manageable to the average home buyer, try downsizing the flowerbeds, planting perennials instead of annuals, or planting native plants that require less special care.

Dead Plants

Under most circumstances, all plants in the gardens and the lawn should be healthy and alive, with the only exception to this being if it's the middle of winter. Even if it's Autumn and the plants have reached the end of their lives, homeowners can still go through the garden and clear it out of any dead sticks and leaves to make it look neater.

Obvious Necessary Repairs

When buyers come to see a home, they keep track of everything they want to change and everything that needs to be fixed. If the home has a lot of problems like peeling paint, old windows, or a cracked driveway, these all count against the home. When a buyer purchases a home, they want to spend as little money possible fixing its faults afterwards. Before putting a home on the market, be sure to fix everything that could possibly turn buyers off.

Clutter in the Yard

Things like kids' toys, bags of mulch, unplanted flowers, and so on can all create eyesores if they're left about the yard, and they can also distract buyers from focusing on the good parts of the yard and garden. On days when there are scheduled showings, be sure to take a quick walk around the yard looking for things that are out of place so there's little to take buyers' interest away from the home.

Cars in the Driveway

To many people, a car in the driveway isn't an issue. After all, that's where people are supposed to park their cars, isn't it? Yes, but when buyers come to the home for a showing and see one or more cars in the driveway instead of in the garage, it may lead them to believe there's not having enough interior storageHaving cars in the driveway can also get in the way of visitors seeing the home, especially in photos.

Poor Paint Choices

When living in a neighborhood, like Leander, it's a common expectation that all the homes in it should follow the same basic aesthetic. So when every house in the row has neutral paint colors and the home for sale is bright blue, it sticks out. Paint choices like these can turn off buyers because it's something they will more than likely want to fix as quickly as possible. In order to appeal to a broad range of buyers, be sure the home's exterior paint fits in with all the other homes in the neighborhood.

These are some of the most common mistakes homeowners make when preparing their home's exterior for selling. Be sure to take these into account and consult your real estate agent for extra advice.

Still Stumped? Get an Expert Opinion

Sellers who face unique curb appeal issues and challenges or those looking for additional tips or advice to make their home look and feel as appealing as possible should discuss the situation with their real estate professional. Because agents work "in the trenches" every day, assisting a wide variety of active real estate buyers, they are primely positioned to know what buyers are looking for and what causes them to lose interest in a particular home. 

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