After living in a home for any amount of time, surroundings become familiar and expected. No longer are we the inquisitive and investigative beings that we were when we moved in, and gradual changes may not be noticed. I mention this because it is so easy for this to occur when listing a house.
While the appearance of a home may look just fine to a homeowner who has lived in the home, there may be some things that stand out to a potential buyer of the home. This buyer is looking at the home with a fresh pair of eyes. With this in mind, many simple things can be done to a home, with a small price tag, to help a home appear at its best.
First, think back about when you purchased or rented a home or apartment. What were the things you noticed first upon arriving at the property? Many times there are things that our conscious and subconscious mind notices that either gives value or takes value away from a property at first glance. For instance, if I arrive at a property and the blinds on the windows are crooked, pulled sideways, or broken, I tend to make an immediate prediction that the home will have deferred maintenance issues when I get inside. True or not, it is that feeling that strikes when I pull up outside.
So, both from personal experience, and from listening to clients, here are some things I would suggest that could help start off on the right foot:
A front door is something that makes a statement as a potential buyer drives up to the house. This does not mean that the door has to be a new, fancy or expensive door by any means. Removing any dull or peeling paint/stain and re-painting/re-staining, for instance, can have a similar effect. If a door is in good shape, a cleaning may be all it needs.
View Through Windows:
When a potential Buyer pulls up outside the home and there are things stuffed between the couch and the window, visible from the outside, it takes away from the “awe” factor. Similarly, as I mentioned above, having blinds that hang unevenly or are broken makes a negative statement.
Overgrown bushes and trees, as well as weeds, can stand out like a sore thumb and pull attention away from the actual home or property. Something as simple as trimming back bushes, removing excessive branches, and weeding flower beds can help SO much. If there is wood bark in the beds, maybe consider adding a fresh layer to the top. Coming into the Fall and Winter, just keeping the leaves raked as they come down, and the snow shoveled on the walkways, helps immensely.
The exterior surfaces of a home can really add to, or take away from, a home. Taking the time to ensure that siding is in good shape prior to listing a home will definitely pay off. If paint is starting to flake, it is definitely worth the effort to scrape and re-paint those areas. Siding may also be dirty, and a power-wash could completely change the appearance. If those areas around windows are starting to peel, scraping and painting those areas will give the house a “facelift”. Older homes could contain lead-based paint in layers underneath, so it might be worth having a paint chip tested. If it does contain lead-based paint, there are other precautions you will want to address (such as collecting all the paint chips as you scrape to be disposed of properly).
Yard and Grass:
In the Summer, keeping the grass mowed is key. It makes a statement to a potential Buyer that the home is cared for. Along those same lines, keeping yards free of animal feces (pet and our other friendly deer neighbors) enhances the same statement.
Similar to the front door, the garage door can become very noticeable if it is scraped, dented or dinged. Painting or a good power-wash could help a lot. While someone may not notice that the garage door looks nice, they probably will notice if it looks rough.
These are just a few items that I have seen myself, or have heard clients mention as first impressions, during showings. I think the biggest issue is that potential Buyers may tend to over-estimate the cost to repair these items, thereby lessening the value of the home in their own minds. If a potential Buyer walks into a house and already has compiled a checklist in their head that “need attention”, it may be difficult to overcome.