Getting Real: What’s The Deal With “Curb Appeal”?

Once you get your house hunt on, you’ll undoubtedly start hearing lots of terms getting thrown around. From “pre-approval” to “closing costs”, it can be tough to suss out exactly what all of these things mean, especially if it’s your first time looking for a home.

This time, we’re tackling “curb appeal.” Everyone kinda gets it, but really, uh…what is it? No matter if you’re just starting out or have been on the market for a bit, sometimes a little clarity can go a long way.

What is curb appeal, exactly?

Simply put, it’s a first impression.

Like it or not, the way that a home looks from the street can have a huge impact on our overall opinion of it. Similarly to how you would put your best foot forward on a first date or job interview, homeowners–especially those in the market for a buyer–often put extra effort into making their home’s exterior look good.

In real estate terms, curb appeal can be anything that adds either functional or aesthetic value to a home’s exterior. As the buyer, you’ll want to factor these types of details into your home search. As you look at listings, make sure to keep an eye out for elements of curb appeal and to make a note of how they sway your opinion on the home.

That being said, it’s important to keep a balanced perspective. Sometimes curb appeal is not indicative of what a home will look like once you head inside, so it should never be used as your single determining factor for whether or not it’s worth taking a look at a home.

Key factors to look for

Now that you know what curb appeal is, it’s time to get a little deeper into the different elements that go into creating a home that is aesthetically pleasing from the outside.

Typically, these items can be divided into a couple of different categories. They are:

  • Structural Items: Be sure to take a look at the condition of things like the home’s roof, gutters, and siding. While aesthetics are good to have, functionality is arguably more important. Evaluate if these items look well-maintained or if they will probably require some work to get up to snuff.
  • Landscaping: How does the overall landscaping look? Has the lawn been mowed recently? Are there any trees or bushes that look like they may need pruning? Did the seller put effort into decorative landscaping with flowers and plants? Landscaping upgrades and maintenance can both add up.
  • Functional Elements: If the home has any functional elements like a pathway to the front door or exterior lights, take a moment to evaluate those, as well.
  • The Entryway: The last element of curb appeal is the entryway. Ideally, the front door will look especially inviting. Has the front door been freshly painted? Are the address numbers predominantly displayed?

Again, these elements shouldn’t make or break your decision on whether or not to make an offer on the home. However, as you look at a property, it’s a good idea to take these factors into account since if you do decide to make an offer, they’ll be inputs into deciding what’s a fair offer price.

Consider the costs

At its core, curb appeal is actually a financial matter. One way or another, improved curb appeal does come with a cost.

A home that looks better from the outside will likely fetch a higher sale price than one without any of these small touches. However, if you decide to buy a property without these small touches, you may need to pay for them in the long run.

If you do decide to go with a property that’s a bit more of a fixer-upper, keep in mind that you don’t have to take care of everything all at once.

While some of the projects listed above are smaller, things like roofing and professional landscaping can end up costing thousands of dollars.

We suggest doing your research and budgeting carefully before undertaking any DIY projects.

But, boosting curb appeal also boosts equity. If you do decide to invest in some of these projects and improve the look and function of your home over time, you should see that benefit come back to you when you re-sell it. You’ll also find that you’ll take pride in enjoying your investment throughout the duration of your time in the home.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

The Ultimate Checklist for Putting Your Property on the Market

When the time comes to put your property on the market, you will face a number of responsibilities you have to complete before placing an ad. However, this is not anything to be scared of since, in the end, it will get you to your goal to sell your home. In order to do so with the minimum amount of stress, here is the ultimate checklist you should uphold to.

Go To Open House Events

The best way to find out how to sell your home is if you attend the open house events. This way you will see what other homeowners did to make their property attractive. Also, converse with other potential buyers and find out what they think is important when buying a house.

If you live in a less popular neighborhood, visit open houses in similar neighborhoods in your city and see how they deal with this. For example, Astoria in Queens used to be a simple part of New York several decades ago, but today this is a diverse community with a convenient location. The cities evolve and change over time, so check how your neighborhood fairs today since that can affect the selling price.

Find A Reliable Real Estate Agent

If you want to minimize the stress, it’s best to hire a real estate agent who will help you turn your home into a prime selling property. It’s agent’s job to find you the best buyer and represent your interests in the market. After all, they work on a commission and getting the highest price for your home is in their best interest as well as yours.

Do The Repairs

Any damage to the property will certainly reduce the selling price for a considerable amount of money. In order to avoid that, do the repairs before placing your house on the market. This can also get you a better price for the house, especially if you fixed some of the serious issues like installations, piping, and roof.

For example, expert plumbing services in Sydney can give you an estimate of safety problems that may arise from an old piping system dating back to the late ‘70s. These polybutylene pipes were cheap and easy to install back in the day but what was unknown then is that the material will deteriorate due to oxidants in the water. This turned out to be quite a problem for Australian homeowners living in the older neighborhood and deal breaker for many buyers.

Declutter

After repairs, you will have to clean the house thoroughly and keep it spotless until you sell it. This is important since buyers don’t want to look at the mess and clutter everywhere. They want to see the functional side of your home even though they will most likely do the renovations after the purchase.

Stage The Property For Your Open House

Staging a property for an open house event is more than tidying up. It’s creating an environment that buyers will feel welcomed and comfortable in, as well as to see the house’s potential. Usually, real estate agent would take care of this part but add something of your own may sweeten the deal.

For example, bake cookies and leave them on the kitchen counter so visitors can have some while examining the house. A pot of freshly brewed coffee will invoke the memories of home and family time, while fresh flowers will breathe life into the place. Even if you sell an empty house, these things can make all the difference and help buyers decide to buy your home.

Lastly

Listen to your inner voice and create an ultimate checklist based on all the things you would look for when buying a house. This will help you to put the best version of your property on the market, as well as to get the highest price. After all, if you think like a buyer you will be able to sell your home more efficiently and agreeably.