First impressions count in job interviews, dates, and, especially, when it comes to selling your home. In less than the time it takes to walk up to your front door, a prospective buyer has already formed an opinion that can influence how they perceive your home once they are inside.
It Isn’t Just What Others Think
When you start improving your home, whether in preparation for sale or as you prioritize your renovation budget, you may want to think about the outside first. It isn’t just for the sake of buyers, or guests, but for yourself. There is a personal payoff to pulling up to your own home and thinking: I wish I lived here … oh, wait, I do!
Thinking from the Outside
To determine what you need to improve, approach your home from the curb or, better yet, from across the street. Then, quiz yourself using the following checklist:
- Is it easy to spot your home’s address? Even if it is, consider updating your address numbers with something that enhances and matches the appearance of your home.
- Is the front walkway inviting? A level, crack-free surface outlined with plants or shrubs can make a visitor feel more than just welcome – they know they are approaching something special.
- Is the current landscaping neatly trimmed? Buyers tend to look at a well-tended yard as a sign of a well-maintained home. However, many may also appreciate a low-maintenance yard with shrubs and flowers that require minimal fussing.
- Do painted surfaces need attention? Many homeowners find a new coat of paint helps polish up the first impression. It makes older homes seem fresher and invites exploring.
- Is your home’s “skin” well maintained? Replacing dented or worn-looking siding or chipped paint is typically a manageable expense that can pay for itself upon resale. With stucco, brick, or stone, you’ll want to repair cracks or potential areas that will draw the eye of an inspector or appraiser. Fresh tuck-pointing or stucco is a great feature to add to the listing description.
- What do you see when you look up? Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and fixed tightly to the house. Buyers prefer newer roofs and will make their offers accordingly. You may want to have paperwork handy if you have replaced yours in the last several years.
- Are your windows clean, well-maintained and do they have all their screens? Cleaning windows may be the most economical thing you can do to alter the appearance of your home. In addition, it’s one of the few things that will immediately brighten its look to outsiders.
Return on Your Investment
Exterior fixes are often listed among those with the best paybacks upon resale in the annual surveys. So, when you do list your home, the money you spend on improvements may be recouped through a higher selling price and in the need for fewer concessions at closing. Also, your property may spend less time on the market.