In the real estate profession, there are many catch-phrases that we use in advertising or otherwise promoting a property for sale. “Curb appeal” is one of those phrases. Most of us know what it implies, but perhaps it may be one of the most overused and somewhat ignored words in our society today. What does it mean?
Curb appeal: The first impression that your property makes to a prospective buyer. That is the simplest definition. Used mainly to describe residential properties in-town, it can equally apply to a commercial building or to a rural ranch property. When a buyer first drives up to your property, he/she makes a judgment call about the property and usually it is an emotional reaction in some way. “Wow, I like the landscaping” or “I like the style of the walkway,” color of the paint, appearance of the front door or the two rockers on the front porch, etc. Sometimes the buyer says, “Oh, we don’t need to look at the inside of this one; let’s go on to the next one.” And the buyer never goes inside.
As realtors, if we can’t get the purchaser inside, we can’t sell them the property – buyers will usually not purchase what they have not fully seen in person. In this market, with few qualified buyers looking to purchase, not getting a buyer to look inside may be the difference between having a successful sale or a property remaining on the market for many more weeks. So, when we are listing a property, we frequently discuss curb appeal with the seller.
If your property is for sale, springtime is a good time to rethink your property’s curb appeal. Does it need the weeds cut already and does the dead grass need to be cleaned out of the shrubbery? Would some flowers brighten up the walkway when planted in the flower beds? Or would some flower pots, filled with bright spring flowers and placed on the porch near the entrance, be appealing? Perhaps a new welcome mat to replace the worn one would be useful? What about the paint on the trim? Does it need to be scraped and repainted and the front door cleaned? Do the windows need to be washed and cleaned from the dust and debris of winter? Perhaps planting a couple of new shrubs would be helpful to enhance the visual attractiveness of the property?
Think about the last property you bought. What appealed to you? Was the exterior appearance of the front of the property of significant importance in your decision to purchase?
A couple of other things may impress some buyers: Are there missing shingles that have blown off the roof? Western Colorado is infamous for wind blowing in the springtime and wind can wreak havoc on roof shingles. Do the trees need to be trimmed away from the roof line, so the limbs do not sway against the roof shingles when the wind blows? Are the gutters cleaned from last year’s leaves, and are there take-away extensions for the gutters so the spring rains flow to the yard and not just down to the foundation? Does the fence need repair or the gate adjusted?
It’s surprising what a buyer can take into consideration in just a few minutes of observation when driving up to and getting out of the car while considering your property. If your property is for sale, drive around and look at a few other properties in your neighborhood or in Rifle that are presently on the market. Look at their curb appeal and see how yours compares. Being one step ahead of the competition is always a useful thing.
Happy springtime and may we all enjoy good curb appeal as spring brings smiles to our tired-of-the-cold-and-snow, winter-weary faces.
Mary Huffine is a broker at Real Estate Out West in Rifle.