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Curb Appeal – Does Your Home Have It?

May 29th, 2011

Any homeowner wishing to sell the family home should be thinking about something called ‘curb appeal.’ Curb appeal is the view of the property as seen by people as they drive by. Difficult though it is to view your own home through objective eyes, it must be done before you put your property on the market. I.e. Before the photos are taken and viewings of your home begin. This is particularly important because many prospective buyers decide which homes they wish to view firstly from the estate agent’s photograph followed by a drive by.

So, imagine for example that you were going for an interview. We would make the most of our outward appearance even if on the inside we knew ourselves to be perfect for the job? The same theory should be applied to your property going through its interview with a prospective buyer.

So, how should you increase the curb appeal of your own property? Since we are often unable to view our own homes objectively, the simplest way to investigate curb appeal is to take a drive yourself. Drive far enough away to be able to spend a good 20 minutes or so rating the curb appeal of other people’s homes. Make a note of all the reasons that you ranked a property highly (or poorly!) Turn around and make your way back home. It is worth being particularly critical of properties neighbouring your own since your’s should be more visually appealing than either of these. As you drive past your home – from both directions – what do you see? Go back and complete the exercise agin once darkness has fallen. Often, prospective buyers will wait until they have finished work and had an evening meal before they drive off to research potential new homes.

Did you notice that the properties you rated highly during the exercise were (or at least looked) impeccably maintained?. If your budget stretches, a new, solid front door and a new garage door (in the same colour / wood effect) will be the main purchases required. Followed by the purchase of paint: If you’re unable to justify the expense of brand new doors, re-paint in a statement colour and invest in some new garage and door furniture. Consider repainting the whole property exterior (white is the most emotionally appealing.) Ensure that windows are clean and sparkling and that curtain backs are free of mould. Check your roof for moss growth and clean out the gutters.

Then move on to your garden. Dull gardens that have little or no access to direct sunlight will immensely benefit from colourful hanging baskets and cheerful plants in chic pots. Trim your lawns, ensuring that the edges are crisp and kill and remove all weeds growing in the driveway, on paths and in flowerbeds. Rake up and bag up fallen leaves. If there are children’s toys or garden tools littering the garden or old car parts littering the drive, then these should be put away or removed entirely. Difficult and unsighty features that cannot be removed, replaced or improved should be ‘hidden’. Either achieve this directly through the careful positioning of a tall pot plant (ensure you add another matching one equidistant from your front or garage door) or use something eyecatching to draw the eye away.

Finally, night time darkness can be used to best effect by installing welcoming porch lighting. Soft spotlights will enhance occasional plantings and clear fairy lights strung around larger trees never fail to raise a smile.

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