They say not to judge a book by its cover, but unfortunately, we all do it – with books and houses alike! As a listing agent, you know how important it is to stage the inside of a home to show off its best features. But all that work is wasted if the outside of the home deters buyers from wanting to see the inside. That’s why curb appeal is so critical.
A lackluster first impression may make potential buyers scroll right past the listing during their online search or drive past the home without requesting a showing. To help your clients attract buyers, get the best price for their property, and meet their sales goals, be sure to discuss the importance of curb appeal with them.
Take a step back and assess how the exterior of the house might look to prospective buyers. Then make practical recommendations for improvements or updates that the seller can make that will help elevate the listing’s curb appeal.
Here are a few of the biggest turn-offs to buyers and some curb appeal-boosting suggestions to pass on to your sellers:
Overgrown and unkept landscaping
Overgrown bushes, dead or dying trees, weeds, trash, and yard debris can make a property look neglected and uninviting.
Advise your clients to regularly mow their lawn and edge it for a neater appearance. Trimming shrubs, bushes, and trees, and removing dead trees is also a good idea, as is raking up leaves and other debris. Be sure that any yard clutter (such as old cars, appliances, and furniture) is thrown out or stored out of site.
Peeling or faded paint
Don’t underestimate the power of a coat of paint! If the house’s exterior has seen better days, recommend that the seller applies a fresh coat of paint in a neutral but pleasing hue.
If a whole exterior paint refresh isn’t in the budget or timeline, painting the trim and shutters can go a long way, especially when paired with a bold pop of color for the front door.
To buyers, a dirty or damaged exterior might signal that the property is rundown and uncared for. Sellers should address any visible damage, such as broken windows, cracked driveways, missing railings, torn screens, rusted or broken fencing, crumbling stairs, or cracked floorboards.
Obvious damage or dirty appearance
Power washing is an effective method of removing dirt and grime from exterior home surfaces such as siding, brick, and concrete. But agents should advise sellers to consult with a professional since the process can cause damage if done incorrectly.
Poor exterior lighting
Inadequate outdoor lighting can make a home look uninviting and unwelcoming, especially in the evening when prospective buyers are likely to schedule showings.
To help, suggest that your clients fix or replace external light fixtures and install additional outdoor lighting to illuminate walkways and highlight landscaping.
Missing house numbers or a beat-up mailbox
If the house numbers are faded, missing, or difficult to spot from the street, buyers may have trouble finding the property. And if they are too ostentatious or quirky, it might give buyers the wrong impression about what they may find inside. A simple fix is to fix or replace the house numbers so they are visible and easy to read and fit nicely with the style of the home.
Similarly, a beat-up mailbox can be a red flag to buyers. Advise your sellers to replace their old, worn-out, or rusted mailbox with a new one or give it a fresh coat of paint.
A too-bare porch or entry
The porch is one of the most important aspects of a home’s curb appeal. Of course, it should be clean, free of clutter, and in good repair. But don’t let your sellers stop there. They can make their porch and entryway so much more inviting by adding a wreath to the front door and potted plants, hanging baskets, or window boxes filled with flowers and greenery. Tasteful seasonal décor can also help create a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere, and the addition of outdoor seating can make the space feel more polished.
The goal for all of these curb appeal-boosting suggestions is to attract potential buyers and give them a positive impression of the home when they first see it. By passing these tips along to your clients, you can help increase the chances of selling their property faster and for a higher price. And that’s a win-win!