- About Laura
“Curb appeal” is one of those catch-phrases in the Real Estate marketing and Home Staging industry that seems to be overused and yet, cannot be stressed enough to home sellers. The majority of the time, Curb Appeal is used in discussions with clients from a “beautification” perspective: “You can make your home more attractive by adding…”. While there is much wisdom behind adding the right touches to highlight features of your home’s exterior, often it is as much about maintenance and repairs as it is about planting gardens, styling your mailbox, or introducing new lighting and window trim. Entering fall and with winter approaching, I would like to focus on some aspects of Curb Appeal that may not always get the attention they deserve.
Put yourself in the position of the potential buyer coming to see your home. First, you cannot be sure that they are scheduling an appointment or coming with a realtor. People are busy and often will do a drive-by first to see if your home is worth an actual walk-through. If your home is on the market, it always needs to look the part. What will these potential buyers see? In the spring and summer, those seasonal trees and flowers look amazing and add to the look of your home’s exterior. When fall hits, a lawn covered with fallen leaves and petals can spell one thing for potential home buyers: WORK! Let’s be honest. Most people understand home ownership requires rolling up the sleeves to maintain your home, but do you really want the first impression your home makes to be “Look at all the leaves on the lawn!” Get your rake out regularly and stay on top of the seasonal chores.
The same is true of gutters that clog and overflow due to fallen leaves or needles. In wetter climates, you can’t always guarantee a
beautiful day to showcase your home. If it’s raining, the potential home buyer does not want to see water cascading over the edge of your gutters because now they are imagining climbing up the ladder themselves to clean it, rather than imagining being inside, enjoying the benefits your home has to offer.
Ultimately it’s about first impressions and maximizing the look of your home when the potential buyer pulls up to the curb. That look is not only what they see, but how they imagine themselves as the owner of your home. Making your home stand out is as much about what you take away as it is about what you add. Remove the impression that your home is high-maintenance and you are setting the right tone before they even get to the door.
I am often asked “What is the most important thing a seller can do to improve the likelihood their home will sell quickly and at asking price?”. My answer is simple: “Get your home ready for market!” Home buyers in the Greater Vancouver area desire a house that is move-in ready.
Making Repairs/Improvements vs. Asking Price Reductions
It is an all-too common practice for a seller to simply reduce their list price to compensate for needed repairs to the roof; the need to replace the carpets; or to mask a terribly outdated kitchen or bathroom. This way of thinking is a risky proposition that can often back-fire in the following ways:
You’ve reduced the price and acknowledge that the roof needs replacing. A buyer, who has taken the time to see your home, will immediately begin to view your property more critically and will wonder “What other repairs have been neglected that the seller isn’t telling me about?”. The buyer will now also see your home as a fixer-upper and will make an offer accordingly. Further piling on the negatives, moving is an already stressful time and the majority of home-buyers do not wish to be confronted with the prospect of major repairs and expenses at a time when they have already stretched their home-purchasing dollar to the maximum.
The same can be true with carpets (or Kitchens and bathrooms). Yours are tired and well past their Best Before date. A buyer enters your home, sees the work that will need to be undertaken to make the home liveable and begins to weigh the stress and hassle of the work against the asking price and what they feel they will offer.
In both of these cases you, the seller, have framed your property in a negative light and are opening yourself up to bargain-seeking offers substantially less than what you are hoping to sell your home for.
Let’s be honest here. The number of DIY buyers looking to undertake major remodels upon move-in is small compared to the number of buyers looking for a move-in ready home. By leaving the work for the buyer, you are limiting your market and undercutting yourself before your first offer rolls in.
“Buyers want choice in colors and carpets” is a major misconception!
By sticking to neutral colours for your walls and carpets (which are both things the best professional Home Stagers can assist with), the majority of home buyers will view your home as move-in ready and thus more desirable! The easier it is for a buyer to see themselves living in your home, the more likely it is they will want your home. Do not provide them reasons to prefer the house down the street over yours.
Want your home to sell?
Establish the right price, hire the best full-service Realtor in your area, secure the services of a professional Home Stager, and ensure your home is move-in ready!