First Impression and Home Sale

Lack of Curb Appeal as the Last Showing of the Day

It’s not evident to think of your home as a house, one like any other property for sale. Yet, an objective look is a must. First, address curb appeal before listing the house. Then don’t assume that the ‘potential’ of your house or your expensive renovations guarantee a high asking price. What’s more, unless you have a fabulous view and privacy that will make up for failing to prepare for the sale, it will affect the number of showings—and the opportunity for a quick sale.

Curb appeal is like a business card. It immediately gives an idea of who you are. A solution is to play the role of realtor or buyer—or to enroll a trusted friend—and look at the house with a critical eye. The following checklist will help you do that and inform private buyers too.

Curbside as Pride of Ownership

Often neglected is the street number, yet it’s the first thing a visitor looks for. Then, what has become invisible to the owner such as an obsolete television antenna on the roof, or Christmas lights in July, will be eyesores to visitors.

Don’t leave empty pots and other rubble in front of your house. It’s a lack of consideration anytime, but especially when a house is for sale. And, unless it’s collection day, always keep garbage bins out of sight.

Repainting a gate or garage door and taking care of squeaks is easier than repairing major cracks in retaining walls and pathways, but the visitor and the realtor will notice both. Do what you can.

Clear the driveway of what doesn’t belong there. An unobstructed view of the house will enhance the space, meaning that no vehicle should be in the driveway at the time of a showing.

Landscaping as An Asset and Not an Eyesore

A garden should complement a house and draw the eyes to attractive surroundings. Shape bushes and hedges and trim plants below the windowsills, except for privacy reasons. The easy addition of solar lights under trees will enhance your property, and pleasantly surprise the potential buyer who decides to drive by at night.

Improve stressed areas with bark chips, rocks, or replant. While your house is for sale, fertilize, water, and mow the lawn. Remove dead plants. Don’t forget that water leaks mean problems.

The Front Door Area as An Invitation

Sweep paths or stairs to the front door and keep them unobstructed. Negative signs for visitors walking to the front door are shutters, blinds, and other window treatments that are not hanging properly.

Garden shoes, untidy garden hoses, empty plant containers, and that weathered but comfy chair don’t belong by the front door on showing day. Plants in commercial plastic containers are unattractive, but terra-cotta or ceramic pots with colorful flowers are.

As they wait for the door to open, the realtor and buyer have time to notice insect problems too. If eco-friendly solutions have failed, call a pest exterminator.

A clean front door and polished door handle will make a good impression. And a new doormat as wide as the door says it all.

Curb appeal affects the sale of a house when it limits the number of showings. The fact remains that the bane of a realtor is to sell a house with no curbside appeal—and a seller in denial.

First published April 2010


First Impression as a Selling Point
Photo credit: MCArnott