You heard, and read, and perhaps were even advised by a real estate agent, that the most significant selling points in a home are kitchens and bathrooms, followed closely by other communal living areas and the master bedroom.
Given that advice, that’s what you focused on updating and staging before putting your property on the market. Then, it sat and sat, unsold, with hardly a nibble from an interested buyer. What gives?
The truth is, most home buyers won’t even set foot inside your front door to see your great kitchen and top-of-the-line bathrooms if they don’t like the way it looks from the curb.
Even in an age when 90% of buyers begin their home search online, and most are accompanied by Realtors when they head out to view properties, don’t think for a second that the traditional home buying pursuit of a weekend drive past properties on the market for sale to ‘scope them out’ prior to deciding whether to see them is a thing of the past.
It’s a practice that is still very much alive and if the outside of your property is off putting, then it’s almost certain to be removed from a buyer’s ‘to see’ list. People are busy and looking to streamline the process of buying a home as much as possible.
So given all this, the exterior of your home and how it appears to those drive by browsers is of huge importance. People make plenty of mistakes in this area, but here’s a look at some of the most common.
Buyers don’t see green when they see a dead lawn – literally. As in they can’t see parting with it. In their eyes dead or dying brown grass will cost THEM a significant amount of money and time to revitalize, and in the meantime, they’ll have to live an eyesore just outside their window. Not things they want, so any property with a terrible lawn is unlikely to make it to that ‘to see’ list.
If you do nothing else on this list, you need to bring your lawn back to life – no matter what it takes. It might be that your lawn has just been hibernating over the winter and is slow to wake up. If that’s true, you should toss some quick grow grass seed over the top to grow a lush lawn fast. Or, you may need to rip out the old lawn and lay new sod. If you aren’t sure a professional opinion will be well worth the investment.
Modern home buyers tend to like the look and idea of large properties – but they aren’t big fans of large gardens. Expansive flower beds scream lots of yard work, and unless you are selling to a wealthier-than-average market comprised of older buyers who are looking for such pursuits, your buyers probably don’t have the time, energy or money to keep up with such a sprawling garden. Not to mention water costs are on the rise.
If you do have a larger garden work with a local landscaper to find the best way to boost your curb appeal and save on the time and money needed to maintain it.
Car in the Driveway
This may not cost you your sale, but the first impression is essential. When you park your car in the driveway, the buyers won’t be able to see the whole house.
The first time a buyer visits your home – and every time after that, for that matter – they like to imagine that they are pulling into their own home. However, it’s nearly impossible to keep up that illusion when there is someone else’s car in the driveway.
This is an easy fix: Whenever you have a showing, relocate any vehicles in the driveway to somewhere else in your neighborhood.
As is true with cars, so is true with clutter. You shouldn’t leave your shoes, your kids’ toys or any other personal stuff lying around in the front yard; this also ruins the buyer’s experience of picturing themselves living in your home. Make sure everyone knows to hide his or her belongings in assigned storage spaces before buyers come to visit.
Bad Paint Job
There are two types of the bad exterior paint job: One is cracked, messy or poorly executed painting; the other is a hideous color. Both are equally distasteful to buyers, who only see the cost of repairing or covering up what you did. This is a relatively inexpensive fix, so you should have your home repainted professionally and in a neutral tone, like ivory, taupe or gray.
You might love the pink flamingos on your lawn, the ‘last name’ sign on your door or even the sidewalk chalk drawings your kids do every weekend, but buyers don’t. They see this stuff not as décor, not as something cute, but as evidence that someone else – not them – owns this house. You should strive to depersonalize the exterior space as much as possible.
The sconces around your front door were the height of fashion – in 1982. Style changes and your home should look as close to on-trend for the current year as you can make it. If you aren’t certain what seems dated on your home’s exterior, ask a home staging professional as it is THEIR JOB to stay up to minute on such things.
Need help with any and all aspects of your Houston home staging? Contact us today to get started.