First impressions make all the difference, and your home's appearance from the outside looking in can command high prices that could get your home sold fast. Every improvement to your home's curb appeal can work in your favor. And keep in mind that buyers have an eagle eye when it comes to a home's first impression. A loose shingle, a wobbly stone in your walkway, some weeds in your landscaping -- they may be mostly invisible to you, but these details stand out to buyers. It can be a big help to have your real estate agent "eagle-eye" your curb appeal to point out any fixes needed.
"Curb appeal is so important when you are selling your home," says Christine Nagy, real estate agent at Coccia Realty. "I am with buyers every day who are sizing up a home from the moment they get out of their car. If the home has a front door with chipped paint or a cracked walkway, they are immediately adding up money for repair before they even walk in the front door. Plus, most buyers do their preliminary searches on the Internet, so if the home doesn't look pretty and well-maintained, they just click on to the next home."
Obviously, your goal is to boost your home's value and attractiveness to buyers, and there are two categories of curb appeal improvements: those that simply impress potential buyers (such as a hammock stand on your lawn,) and those that add extra value to your home's appraisal (such as new windows.) Both types of improvements can add up to a higher selling price and a quicker sale.
Here are some curb appeal improvements to consider:
*Lawn and Garden
--Make sure your lawn is mowed consistently. Apply sod where needed, and pay careful attention to neat edge trimming. "A well-manicured lawn is a great canvas for a picture-perfect home," says Nagy.
--Weed any landscaping areas and pull those tiny weeds from the edges of your driveway and walkways.
--Prune shrubs and replace any old and unsightly shrubs with new ones.
--Deadhead any flowering trees or bushes.
--If any bricks or pavers are missing, replace them with a careful color and style match.
--Search for and remove any bee or wasp nests from the outside of your home and under awnings.
--Plant little pops of color, such as pansies or any other inexpensive blooms, in your landscaping.
--Trim trees back from the roof and siding, doing so safely or hiring a tree company.
--Remove any dirt or grime from your house's siding and brick for its best appearance. You can rent a power-washer from a home improvement store, or hire a company to power-wash for you.
--Power-wash your driveway and flagstone walkways as well.
--Wash all windows, inside and out. Again, you can tackle this job yourself or hire a company to complete this task.
--Clean your garage door, but take care to follow power-washing instructions so that you don't chip paint off of an older garage door. A simple hosing may do the trick.
*A Fresh Coat of Paint
A fresh coat of color can boost your home's curb appeal, and new paint is one of the curb appeal fixes that appraisers will value. Keep in mind, though, that trying to make a statement with a bright or unusual color can actually hurt your appraiser's value of your home, so stick with the original color, or consult with your real estate agent about a smart-selling shade for your property and neighborhood.
*Mind the Roof
Your roof will be one of the first things potential buyers will look at, since a new roof is one of those big ticket items that can be a big turnoff. Faded, curled or cracked shingles can damage your home's appearance and value, especially if all of the neighboring houses have spotless, new or nearly new rooves. Appraisers will mark down the value of your home if your roof is in disrepair. So bring in a roofing company to assess, spot-fix, replace or simply clean off years of mold, lichen, moss and algae.
Assess your gutters, looking for any sagging, bent portions, and be sure your downspouts are in good condition from top to bottom. Gutter guards can impress buyers, as well.
Add some modern flair with a new mailbox, address plaques, doormats and outdoor lighting fixtures. Be sure that all bulbs are in working order and clean out any dead bugs or webs. Buyers will notice those unsightly problems and wonder if your home has bug problems.
Replace torn screens, cracked windows and old door insulation strips.