Curb appeal is everything that makes a home look good from the curb – well-tended lawn, complementary landscaping, freshly painted trim, lack of exterior clutter, appealing entry area, fencing in tip-top shape, and more. Curb appeal is what creates that all-important great first impression. Without it, potential buyers may not even tour the inside if your house. In one survey real estate agents overwhelmingly listed curb appeal among the top “five most important factors in selling a home.” In fact, houses with strong curb appeal routinely bring prices about 10% higher. With that in mind, here are our tips for using curb appeal to sell your house in Martinsburg and Hagerstown.
1. Eliminate Clutter
Most sellers know that they have to declutter the inside of their homes and invest a lot of time and effort to ensure that it is done well. But they often neglect to declutter the outside, which can be a costly oversight. According to real estate agent Kevin Kieffer, “Your house needs to be framed up. It needs to look like a picture when people pull up.” That’s why eliminating exterior clutter is one of the top tips for using curb appeal to sell your house in Martinsburg and Hagerstown.
It’s not only beauty that is in the eye of the beholder – that’s where clutter resides too. A lot of what you have outside may not seem like clutter to you because you’ve grown accustomed to seeing it there. But that’s not the case with buyers. They need to be able to see and imagine your house as their own home – without all your stuff scattered around outside. So here’s some of what you can do:
- Remove all evidence of a robust family life, such as bicycles, skateboards, basketballs, kiddie pools, and garden tools.
- Pick up all trash and refuse like dead leaves, fallen branches, dog waste, paper and plastic scraps, and anything else that detracts from visual appeal.
- Keep only a few of your best pots and only a few pieces of strategically placed outdoor furniture.
2. Beautify the Entry
The next most important of our tips for using curb appeal to sell your house in Martinsburg and Hagerstown concerns the entry area and door. This is where buyers’ eyes will be naturally drawn they get out of the car and approach your house. So it better look good.
Begin by replacing or repainting (whichever it needs) the front entry door. A new front door doesn’t cost a lot and offers a high return on the investment. Remove most of the pots and furniture and then clean the area thoroughly, keeping it to only one big pot on each side of the front door.
Also, be sure to take care of all the minor details in your entry area. A new welcome mat is a nice and noticeable touch. Also, if you replace the door, you should replace the hardware while you’re at it, especially the lock set. (Brushed nickel or oiled bronze are good choices here.) And don’t neglect the light fixtures because old fixtures are unappealing to buyers and can give the area a tired, dated look.
3. TOUCH UP OR REPAINT THE EXTERIOR
Among the tips for using curb appeal to sell your house in Martinsburg and Hagerstown, repainting the exterior is an important but costly one. Still, most people will need to paint only the trim (fascia, soffit, window trim, and so on) because they have brick or siding on exterior walls, and this will lower the cost significantly. In any case, it’s important because, as any marketer will tell you, the packaging is at least as important as the product itself. And new paint provides a buyer-appealing package to seriously enhance curb appeal.
4. Concentrate on Landscaping
You’re probably aware that you need to do or improve some landscaping, but you may not be aware of how much it can add to curb appeal and increase the sale price. Typically, complementary and judicious landscaping will increase your home’s value by 10% to 12% – and that’s a significant bump in price. The landscape designs that most increase values are sophisticated ones that include both deciduous and evergreen trees, variously colored plants, and colored hardscape. Professional landscaping can be fairly expensive, but you can do much of it yourself.
5. Add (or Improve) Outdoor Living Space
An important, but often overlooked, one of the tips for using curb appeal to sell your house in Martinsburg and Hagerstown is to make sure your house has some outdoor living space that will appeal to buyers. Buyers like to envision enjoying this space when your house becomes their home, so this is often a bigger selling point than many people realize. Outdoor rooms are now a popular feature, and you should always have attractive deck furnishings in place.
6. Hire a Local Agent
Remember, you have only one chance to make a great first impression, and that’s what curb appeal does, making buyers want to go inside to see more. In fact, real estate studies have revealed that 50% of purchasing decisions are made within the first 60 seconds while buyers are walking up to a house.