In my 14+ years as a real estate agent, I can usually tell when I pull up in front of the home I'm about to show what the inside of a home will look like based on the exterior. If the exterior looks uncared for and messy, then I can pretty much bet that the inside is generally going to look the same.
Here is an exercise you may want to try:
Take a photo of your home’s exterior and critique it through the eyes of a potential buyer and make a list of the problem areas. Complete the repair and clean up chores first, then put some time into making the grounds more attractive.
A vast majority of home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a home, based on their first impressions of the outside… does it have “curb appeal?” The view they see when they drive by or arrive for a showing can determine whether they want to follow through with the showing to see what the home is like on the inside. You can ensure people want to come inside your home by spending some time working on its exterior appearance, making it inviting for buyers to want to see more.
Most potential buyers find it difficult to visualize changes, and very often they won’t take a second look at a home if the first impression does not appeal to them or give them the "WOW" factor. Often buyers who can visualize changes and may be prepared to make them, expect the realtor to reduce the price of the house to compensate for they work they are planning.
As homeowners it is difficult to look at our own home and critique it the same way a potential home buyer does, because we become accustomed to its appearance and the way it functions and we don’t want to see its faults. You must think of your home as a commodity you want to sell at the highest possible dollar amount, and stop thinking of it as your home.
Try This Exercise on Your Home
In order to get a good view of your home, try to stop across the street the next time you come home, or a little way down the street, and try to view it as a potential buyer. What is your FIRST impression of the overall appearance of the house and yard?
•· Is the grass neatly trimmed?
•· Are the flower beds free from weeds?
•· Are there oil stains on the asphalt?
•· Are there toys and other debris etc. lying around the yard?
•· Is the paint on the garage door or shutters peeling and need repainting?
•· What is the best feature or your home, or lot and how can you improve it or emphasize it?
•· What are the worst features of your home and how can you minimize or improve them?
•· Clean windows and eaves
•· Stow away unnecessary garden tools
•· Clean and kill any mould or mildew on the house, sidewalks, or driveway
•· Pressure wash dirty siding or decks
•· Edge sidewalks and remove vegetation growing between concrete or bricks
•· Cut the grass and get rid of weeds
•· Rake and dispose of leaves
Evening Curb Appeal
Try the exercise again in the evening as it is not unusual for potential buyers to drive by homes after dark. One effective way to improve curb appeal is with lighting but make sure any lighting that is visible through the front door or windows enhances the home’s appearance. You may want to consider replacing that tired light fixture at the front porch and add a low voltage fixture to enhance importance landscape elements. Sometimes adding to the landscaping can dramatically improve curb appeal, but other times it can be more effective when something is removed.
Remember….creating a first impression is very important because it will be what brings them inside your home. Assuming the inside of your home looks just as good as the outside, hopefully the impression that you created will be what brings you an offer you can't refuse.