First impressions go a long way in renting or selling a property. You can spend hours perfecting the interior, but nobody will even see it if the exterior doesn’t warrant further inquiries. In other words, the outside should make people want to see the inside; it’s really as simple as that. In most cases, prospective buyers form an opinion in the first few seconds of looking at a property. If there is debris and clutter all over the yard, you can bet their initial reaction will be negative. Sometimes poor curb appeal will prevent them from even entering the house.
Fortunately, there are many little things you can do to change the impression your home gives off. Some of are more important than others, but everything you do is critical. If you want to create a strong first impression and give yourself the best chance to rent or sell your property, there are a few areas you need to address to improve your curb appeal:
It does you no good to commit your full budget to the interior if the outside is a mess. Landscaping improvements can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them. Start with the grass and go from there. Burnt or dirt patches make the property feel old, dated and neglected. In most cases, the fix can be as easy as planting some seed and watering the yard for a few weeks. If the problem is more severe, you may want to consider some sod or artificial grass. From there, you should focus on the area immediately nearest to the house. Overgrown or dying bushes are an eyesore, and must be trimmed or removed. Another item you should update is the mulch. A fresh layer of mulch can completely transform the exterior. To get a good idea of the exterior, you should drive down your street and write down the first thing you see when you pull up. These are what other people notice as well.
The driveway is typically something that you may never give a second thought to. You don’t need to repave or reseal the driveway, but it shouldn’t be in poor condition either. Driveways with weeds growing out of them or cracks don’t present your property in the best light. Fixing this can be as easy as a bottle of weed spray and twenty minutes of labor. Dealing with cracks doesn’t mean you have to seal the entire driveway. If you are on a budget, you can touch up just the parts that need the most work.
Windows & Gutters
Updating the windows and gutters doesn’t mean you need to replace them. Dirty windows are often visible as you are walking in the property. Usually, all you need to do is give them a good spray and clean them. The same can be said for the gutters. If the gutters are overflowing or hanging off the house, it is difficult to hide. Cleaning them requires a large ladder, and just a few minutes of your time. If the leaves are dry, you may be able to blow them out of the gutters with a blower.
A dirty exterior is something that should not be ignored. Cleaning dirty siding may not be an easy task, but it certainly isn’t very difficult. If you decide to power wash the house yourself, you need to be careful. The pressure of the water can be a shock if you have never done it before. Power washing a deck or the siding won’t take you very long, but will have a big impact. Think of it as if you were trying to sell a dirty car. A clean car with a nice shine is much easier to sell than a dirty one. The same can be said if you are looking to sell your house.
What is the one item that is almost impossible to ignore every time you walk into your property? The answer is your front door. The closer you get, the easier it is to pick up any defects. Instead of replacing the door, start by seeing if it just needs a fresh coat of paint. Different color paint can give the house a completely different look. If you are looking for a more permanent fix, a new door is certainly money well spent. Putting in a new door today will last you years, and allow you to not think about it again for some time.
Many parts of the country are just starting to get a taste of fall weather. For property owners, this means dealing with leaves, and maybe even snow. With that in mind, clear the walks every time you have a showing. This is rather obvious in the case of snow, but should also be done with leaves. You want to present your property as somewhere people will want to live. If they have to walk on their toes to avoid slipping on leaves, it is an immediate red flag. Every few days, or at least once a week, remove the leaves from the yard and any entry ways.
The exterior of your property cannot be ignored. There is plenty of competition among landlords, and the exterior will often give you an edge over other homes in the area. Improving your curb appeal usually doesn’t take too much time and probably won’t break the bank, but its importance cannot be overstated.