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Curb Appeal: Why Beauty On The Outside Counts

How your house looks from the street is a factor often overlooked by sellers. Lisa Carroll explains why exterior appearance is crucial in luring potential buyers.

It has been said that you should not judge a book by its cover nor the value of a person by their looks - it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

But in the world of real estate, that saying couldn’t be further from the truth. The exterior does count. Every part of the exterior visible from the street, the look known as ‘curb appeal,’ is the first impression. It has the power to invite the potential buyer in to see what lies inside or to turn them off.

For the seller, getting curbappeal’ right is essential and can woo and win the heart of the prospective buyer before they even open the door.

Experts and specialists at leading real estate firm Mario Carey Realty are providing advice aimed at helping buyers, sellers, renters and those who want to build their dream home navigate the world of residential and commercial real estate in a weekly series of articles in The Tribune.

Firstly, it sets the tone for your entire home. Buyers generally associate the condition of the exterior and landscape with the condition of the interior. Your home’s curb appeal must invite buyers to view the rest of the property. In a buyer’s market, curb appeal can mean the difference between a home that sells quickly for the asking price and a home that sells below the asking price after months of sitting on the market.

Given the fact that the vast majority of searches start online with a search engine like the Bahamas Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the first image that is usually displayed is the exterior, curb appeal in today’s real estate world is more important than ever. One split-second look at a less than pleasing exterior can send the buyer clicking to the next listing. The inside of the house may have blown them away: all those little touches that took so much time and effort, but the buyer has moved on, not even pausing to check out details of the interior. They may never know about the thousands of dollars spent on renovations that equipped it with energy-efficient lighting, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and porcelain tiles.

No question about it, curb appeal is a critical component in marketing and selling a home. To ensure your home puts its best face forward and boost its online and in person sales potential, consider these three tips.

Assess your home’s curb appeal

In order to boost your home’s curb appeal, you must first identify your trouble areas. This means taking a careful inventory of repairs you need to complete before you begin showing your home or before the first listing photos appear online.

Stand across the street from your house in order to get the full view of the front, the driveway and the sides. Note any painting, repairs or replacements needed. Identify bushes or trees that are overgrown. Walk towards your home following the path that a potential buyer would most likely take. Take note of landscaping needs such as edging, raking, weeding, pruning and trash removal. Look for items that should be removed or hidden such as hoses, sprinklers, trash cans or toys. Inspect your home’s walkway entrance. Note any cleaning, repairs, painting and lighting needs.

Perform this evaluation again in the early morning and late evening. Seeing your home at different times of the day can reveal other trouble areas. A couple of coats of paint on the porch, replacing a broken railing and swapping out a sliced screen door can make the difference between fair market value and a low-ball offer.

Yard beautification

A well-manicured lawn and attractive landscaping add to a home’s value in the buyer’s mind. You don’t have to have the fanciest Orchids and Desert Roses in the neighbourhood to impress a potential buyer, but you must have a well-maintained, attractive yard. A mowed lawn, well-kept flowerbeds and a fence that is in good condition will all get a thumbs-up. If your outside looks good, buyers will already be anticipating a great inside.

Make a neighbourhood

comparison

Compare your property to others in the neighbouring area. Curb appeal can set you apart from competitors when strategically you highlight the best features of your home and downplay less attractive attributes. Keep in mind that everyone has their own individual likes and dislikes. Make it a point to look and think “outside the box” in an effort to view your home from the eyes of a potential buyer. Make your property stand out among a sea of similar boxes on the block by refreshing exterior paint with a classic colour or using spotlighting or contrasting hues to call attention to special architectural elements.

If you really want to sell your home quickly and at the best price, consider how your potential buyers will see it while they are sitting in their car on the street. Do the work necessary to make it look its best. It will pay off in the end. Remember, your home only has one chance to make a good first impression.

Lisa Carroll is a Marketing/Sales Agent with Mario Carey Realty

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