Curb Appeal Basics: A Checklist for Home Sellers

What is Good Curb AppealCurb appeal is a valuable part of staging a home to appeal to buyers, as the front yard is the first thing a buyer sees when they approach a house. A poorly maintained or unappealing front yard can deter buyers by giving them the impression that the home isn't well maintained by the owner and possibly in a state of disrepair. On the other hand, a vibrant, well maintained yard can attract buyers with a clean look that excites them and encourages them to see the rest of the house. Here are a few common trouble areas where curb appeal improvements can be made.

Curb

The curb isn’t the first thing that buyers see, but it is the first aspect of the property they will see up close. Take the time to get it in hand: Repair cracked concrete; make sure that the mailbox is in excellent condition and has no chips, dents, or rust; and confirm that the house number is easy to see from the street, as buyers are less likely to scope out an address they can’t find.

Driveway

Sellers might think that buyers will barely see the driveway, but if it looks bad, it might be the only thing they see. Driveways often show buyers how the current owners treat the home, especially the parts that do not matter as much. A driveway with cracks and stains gives an impression of disrepair to viewers, and it can serve as a deterrent to potential buyers. Even a great listing in Carolina Forest might turn away a buyer if it looks like enough care isn't put into the upkeep of the home.Clean up stains and oil spills, and repair cracks in the concrete. Add lighting in the event of late evening showings, so any visitors can find their way around.

Front Door/Porch

Once potential buyers arrive at the front door, they are prepared to go inside. Sellers should want them to feel comfortable and invited, and the porch can set them up for a good experience. Replace the porch light, or add wall sconces to show off interesting brick or stone. Think about replacing the door with a steel entry door, because this is an excellent investment with a great return. Otherwise, touch up the paint or give the door a complete refresh with a new color.

Landscaping

Like paint colors, landscaping is a really subjective concept. What looks beautiful to one person may seem frightful to others. Keeping this in mind, go over the home's landscaping with a view to preserving a simple, pleasant look. Clear away anything that is dead, dying or past its prime. Arrange to have bushes and trees trimmed regularly. Add a pop of color here and there to show that the garden is alive and thriving. If planning to put in anything new, give it at least a couple of weeks to settle, so it does not suddenly die on you the day of your open house.

Lighting

Buyers are told to drive by a home at night to see how it looks. If they can’t see it because it is so dark, they may be tempted to look elsewhere. Invest in some simple outdoor lighting that will follow along the driveway and walkways, at the very least. For a greater investment, consider adding some lighting under the eaves or around trees to show off the home’s exterior and landscaping.

Home Exterior

From a distance, buyers can see the home’s exterior. Does it fill them with anticipation or dread? Take a cold, objective eye to the home. Clean the roof and the gutters. Wash the windows. Carefully analyze chipped paint or cracked siding. If portions of it need replacement, or if the exterior needs a full paint job, get this done before you list the home. Avoid using really loud color schemes, because they will distract buyers from the most picturesque aspects of the property.

The goal of curb appeal is to make buyers feel like this home came straight out of a magazine. With these tips, a seller can present the best version of their home to anyone who takes the time to come and see it.

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