Homes welcome their owners every day, just as they welcome friends and family. Homes also reflect personal identity, so most homeowners care how their homes appear to the world. In real estate jargon this initial impression a home makes is called curb appeal. Curb appeal is also used to tempt potential buyers to stop and take a closer look at a home for sale. When you live in a home, your first concern is for your own comfort. When you sell your home, your first concern is how potential Buyers will view your home.
Smart home sellers know that simple repairs made before putting their home on the market can help sell a home quickly and at the highest possible price. First impressions are important, so now is the time to maximize your curb appeal.
Depending on your home, budget, neighborhood, and desire, you can do anything from the simplest spruce-up to a costly transformation to give your home curb appeal. If you basically like your home and its style, an updated paint job with fresh trim color and a cheerful front door may be all you need. Little extras like adding a new mailbox, a brass kickplate, decorative door handles, and pots of flowers are nice finishing touches. If your home lacks interest, you can add a porch, covered entry, or new windows to create interest. Landscaping adds significantly to curb appeal. Neatness, cleanness, proportion, and scale, rather than showy design give a home good curb appeal.
A home in “move-in” condition can overcome other drawbacks such as a poor location or small rooms. Now is the time to make all those little repairs you have been putting off. Many repairs can be made with little or no expense, and can influence how quickly and for how much your home will sell. De-Clutter. Moving is the perfect time for simplification. Keep in mind the one-year rule: If you have not used or even picked up an item in the past year, it gets donated, tossed or sold.
1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE LASTING IMPRESSIONS! Impress the “Drive Bys”. See that the exterior of your home looks inviting.
Rid yard of ALL clutter. Keep lawn mowed and edged, trees and shrubs pruned, leaves raked. Trim trees or shrubs that may hide your home from the street. Remove dead or dying plants. Add “color” to flower beds and keep them cultivated.
The front door greets the prospects. Remove screen door on the front door to make it visible. (Patch and paint door jamb). Make sure that the Front Door is fresh and clean looking. Clean or if needed consider a quick coat of paint.
Touch up painted surfaces. Any peeling paint should be removed and repainted. Paint gutters to match trim.
Remove or Replace torn or old screens. Repair all cracked or broken windows.
Be sure that your address is easy to see from the street. (Maybe a new, larger set of numbers, either brass or freshly painted, would help)
2. WASH THE WINDOWS! The cheapest improvement is to wash all windows inside and out. Clean windows make a home appear 20% brighter and more inviting!
3. USE A ‘FOR SALE’ YARD SIGN. It has been estimated that 49% of all homes sold by real estate associates were initiated by the buyer first seeing the “for sale” sign.
4. MAKE YOUR HOME LOOK LOVED! Your home should be Clean Beyond Clean! A Clean Home “shows” well and will make buyers feel comfortable. Unless the interior is completely run down and in bad repair, decorating will not add significantly to the price you can get, BUT it can make your home more salable. Faded walls and woodwork reduce appeal. Be critical; others will be. Do not hesitate to make small, inexpensive repairs.
Give special attention to Kitchen and Bathrooms. They sell more homes than any other room so scrub every nook and cranny ...they should be spotless! Check and repair caulking and fixtures.
Walls should be unmarred; wash walls and patch holes. Touch up paint if needed. If any rooms need repainting use a light neutral color to make your home look as spacious as possible.
Repair defective items such as leaky faucets, loose door-knobs, sticky drawers... These items suggest other repairs are needed to the home and detract from the home’s value.
Help your home look bigger and neater: move out excess furniture, pack away knick-knacks, stow away the kid’s gear. Remove unnecessary items from counter tops, closets, cabinets and storage areas. Put away any recognizable valuables.
Keep all rooms clean, bright and neatly arranged. Keep the Beds made. Replace all burned out light bulbs. If carpeting needs cleaning (or replacing) this is the time to have it done!
5. PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR SHOWING. You will need to be ready for to show your home on short notice.
For showings leave all curtains, drapes and blinds open for a “light and bright” feel. Illumination is like a welcome sign. Turn on all the lights. Dark rooms are not appealing to prospective buyers.
Depending on the season, light a fire in the fireplace (keep fireplace clean of dirty ashes and close the screen when not in use). Fresh bouquets of flowers in living room and bedroom are nice.
Turn off the radio and the TV during showings so that the Salesperson can talk with the Buyer without distraction.
6. FOR ALL SHOWINGS greet the agent and their buyers courteously, and then disappear. If you can, leave home, or take a walk around the block. Your presence will make most home buyers ill at ease, and will inhibit discussion.
7. HELP WITH MARKETING Write a letter telling why you like living in your home. Include any special features of the home, the neighbors, the neighborhood (proximity to schools, parks, shopping), etc., could help in swaying a buyer... Give your letter to your agent so he/she can develop an information book and leave it in visible spot for prospective buyers to read.
8. DISCLOSE ALL you know about your home to your agent. Have your agent arrange for a termite inspection. By obtaining the report at the time of listing your home for sale you will know in advance what repairs may be necessary and will be able to plan for the expense.
9. PRICE YOUR HOME RIGHT! Price your home competitively - do not make the mistake of overpricing your home. Have your agent prepare an evaluation for you including recent sales that are comparable to your home. Since the median number of homes that a buyer considers before making a decision is 12, your home is competing with many others.
10. CHOOSE AN EXPERIENCED REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL. The right agent will mean a faster sale at a higher price. The agent is critical to establishing market value, handling complex financial details, effective advertising, negotiating, and guiding the sale through the maze of title and escrow problems.
TO RECAP, If an item or appliance is beyond repair, now is the time to get rid of it. Basically your home should be Clean and Uncluttered. A Clean Home “shows” well and buyers feel comfortable. Donate, Box up, Store or Move all nonessential items, including clothing, books, furniture.
Heed the old saying, "Less is more." You'll save an enormous amount of time, money and stress by thinning out the things you are holding onto. To help your home look bigger & neater: move out excess furniture, pack away knick-knacks and books. Remove unnecessary items from counter tops, closets, & cabinets. This is a great time to clean out all the closets (as well as the garage)!
This information prepared by Gwen Kelly, a real estate broker who has specialized in Beach area properties and putting her clients first since 1978, consistently offering commitment and fine service.
If you know anyone who is thinking of selling, or purchasing a home, please contact me. I guarantee a service that will far exceed expectations.
Have an awesome week!
Real Estate Broker, Realtor ®
Certified Real Estate Specialist
Broadmoor Realty, Inc.
5500 E Atherton Street Suite 310
Long Beach, CA 90815
DRE # 00552325
Phone: (562) 857-4936
Fax: (562) 741-4624