They say that if you want to sell a house, it should have curb appeal. What it means is that you chould make your house look captivating enough that homebuyers who drive by your house should be compelled to stop and take down the contact information for your agent.
According to the National Association of Realtors, curb appeal is the reason for the sale of 49% of houses.
However, there are some things that you can’t control such as your neighbor’s houses and yards. You can do everything to make hour home and lawn tidy and beautiful but what if the other houses in the neighborhood are not as attractive as yours? Don’t worry. In fact you can use it to your advantage. This means your house will standout. If the other houses look as good as yours, they might be more interested in those houses or think that yours look inferior. If the houses are sprawling with toys, it gives the homebuyers an idea that there are many kids in the neighborhood. If they have children, they’ll be happy about it. Their children will have playmates. If however the neighborhood has a lot of junk, then it’s a problem.
Based on my experience on curb appeal, this is how you can beautify city and suburban (or semi-suburban) houses:
- In the case of a yardless townhouse
1987. A time when the real estate business is taking a downturn. There are many other townhouses for sale downtown. The house is located near a public-housing project which gives an impression of the area being high-risk for crime. On the other hand, it is home to beautiful townhouses, a school around the corner, streets with many trees and a close-knit neighborhood. Since their are many children playing in the street, crimes are prevented. There are no abandoned cars in the street.
- What I did to prep it up
I repainted the blue paint on the trim and on the front door. To give a feel of warmth and privacy, I added shutters to the windows in the living room. Then I set up a flower box on the window ledge. I also added a filled half-barrel on the side of the two marble steps up to the front door as well as the small area around the tree in front of the house. The front steps were bleached and scrubbed.
To deal with the children, I treated them with ice cream so they’d be less rowdy on open house days.
All my efforts yielded a favorable outcome. The succesful buyer was at the first open house. Prior to this, the house was on the market for five months with two real estate brokerages.
- Golden rule:
Give all the neighborhood kids ice cream. Unfortunately, I missed one kid who announced to everyone on open house that someone stole her bike. (It wasn’t true though)
- In the case of a city house with front yard
June 2001. The real estate market is booming. Houses in the $150,000-to-$300,000 range are a hot item. The house is located at a semi-suburban neighborhood. The flowers are in bloom; there are plenty of trees; and the street has reopened after a year of railroad-bridge replacement.
On the downside, there’s a beer ditributor at the corner and they cause a lot of trash. And the street is busy since it’s a main route between two major city avenues.
- What to do to prep it up
Clean the facade of the house. Clean the porch columns and rails carefully to get rid of the mildew. Repaint the porch floor. Trim the hedges regularly and plant lots of pretty flowers. Touch up on the paint of the concrete bench under the dogwood. Repaint the stairs on the porch. Fix the sidewalk. Wash the windows.
Water the lawn regularly and mow it once a week. When you pick up trash in front of your house, do the same with nearby houses.
Outcome: It only took one weekend to get the house off the market. As early as day 2, eighteen couples were scheduled for appointments.
Golden rule: Don’t risk selling your house at an ugly state. Do what you can to make it attractive. But don’t overdo it. Don’t spend so much to beautify the house. Your main goal is to get their attention, make them stop and give your house a good look. But keep their interest by making the inside of the house desirable as well.