First Impressions Are Everything

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First impressions are everything, and that's no different for our homes. Having great curb appeal will add value to your home, whether it is on the market or you plan to stay forever. Your home’s interior is important when selling a home, but it’s the exterior that helps get potential buyers in

Angie’s List founder and owner Angie Hicks said that exterior home staging seems to be a new phenomenon, with companies offering roof cleaning, landscaping and house painting services all geared toward increasing the curb appeal of your home.

“Keep in mind that your exterior is your first impression, so you want to have a great first impression because some people may not even be willing to go into a house because they’ve been turned off by something in the front yard,” she says.

However, Hicks says if you’re on a budget, you don’t need to hire someone to fix your home for you. She suggests “looking at your home from a distance and think about ways that you can make it look clean and simplify it.”

She says it’s the little things such as planting flower beds on the front porch makes a big difference.

Mike Puckette, a real estate agent, said exterior home staging helped him sell his house quicker.

“The people who bought my house actually said to me ‘we were driving down the street and we saw your home and my wife said that’s the one I want!’” he said.  “Without ever seeing the inside, that’s the one.”

He added decorating your front door will set your house apart from all other neighborhood doors.

“When you come to a home that is the first thing that you see and (it) does leave an impression. It’s also the last thing you see when you leave the home.”

What factors can affect curb appeal?
•    Clean and tidy yard
•    Exterior color choices
•    Lighting
•    Fresh paint/no wood rot
•    Power washed sidewalk/driveway
•    Trim shrubs so they don’t block focal points of the house
•    Nicely planted flowers
•    Fresh mulch
•    No weeds or dead plants
•    Clean windows and roof
•    House number is visible

Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated real estate agents about the 6 improvements that can benefit your home’s curb appeal:

1. Start with a clean house: The first step in achieving great curb appeal is to start with a clean house. Power-washing the exterior is a great way to remove any dirt, grime and moss that has accumulated. All of the windows should be clear and sparkling, and because some are hard to reach with a normal ladder, consider hiring a pro to help. Get into the gutters and the roof line to remove all dirt, leaves and branches.
2. Revamp the yard: You can’t sell a home if it can’t be seen - trim, prune and shape all trees, bushes and shrubs. Plant some colorful flowers, add new mulch, shrubs and cover bare spots in the grass with seed or sod.
3. Replace your entry door: Make a great impression on buyers and visitors by replacing an old, peeling or an outdated entry door with a new steel or fiberglass model. If you live in an older home or have an inefficient door, installing a new door with new weather stripping can also help improve your home’s energy efficiency. One caveat for replacing an entry door is if your home is in a historic neighborhood, has a custom-made door or one-of-a-kind entry portal. You may decrease your home’s curb appeal and its resale value if you replace a one-of-kind door with a run-of-the-mill modern model. Consult a contractor or handyman with experience in installing new doors if you’re unsure about what’s the best option.
4. Get a new garage door: If your home has an attached garage door, proportionally, your garage door takes up a large amount of street-facing frontage on your home. Because it takes up so much visual real estate, a dingy, dented or damaged garage door can make a bad impression on buyers. Not only can you improve your home’s curb appeal and resale value with a new garage door, you can also improve its safety and energy efficiency.
5. Freshen paint: If your home’s exterior paint is chipping, peeling or faded, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get what you think is the full asking price from a buyer. Whether you’re touching up the details on a focus area like a front porch or repainting your entire home, cladding your home in new paint will almost certainly enhance its appeal. Since this may be a larger project, it’s recommended to enlist the help of a professional painter – unless you have sufficient time and experience to complete the work yourself. If a painting job is not properly prepared, whatever gains in improved appearance made by painting may quickly disappear.
6. Don’t forget the details: Everything from the mailbox and street numbers, to the door knob and the door knocker all impact the overall impression from the curb. Pay attention to how interior window fixtures, like curtains and blinds, look from the outside. Don’t forget to take a night view of your house. If it gets lost in the darkness, consider adding landscape lighting for a final pop. If you’re uncertain about what to do or how to prioritize, contact a professional home stager or real estate agent for their expertise and services.