Friday, January 10, 2014

Curb Appeal is Buy Appeal

Yeah, yeah, I know that title is a cliche. But a cliche is often based in a hard reality. In my experience, people typically form strong opinions from their first impression. These can be difficult to change. There has been many a house that I have shown that looked horrible upon pulling up. I always tell my clients to give every house a chance. But over thirty five years of working with clients including fifteen in real estate, that first impression is hard to shake.

Sellers that have a rough looking front yard are well advised to take as many measures as they can afford or manage to perk up that curb appeal. Buyers should also learn to be forgiving when a house looks bad from the front. Ideally, the perspective should be very different depending on whether one is looking to buy a house or trying to sell their home.

Sellers need to maximize the number of people touring their home. They need to get the best price possible and curb appeal starts the tour off with a positive feeling. When a prospective buyer has a warm fuzzy experience as they pull up they are very likely to be more forgiving of minor defects inside. The tone has been set for a good showing when the curb appeal shines. This can add thousands of dollars to the value and that can lead to more and stronger offers.

As a buyer, one needs to learn to look past a rough looking exterior. Buyer's are often looking for a "deal". When the majority of prospective buyers have a tendency to have an unfavorable opinion of a house with bad curb appeal; a savvy buyer can see opportunity for a solid property at an under market value. This is true with interior issues such as bad paint and carpet or poor decorating choices. These are easy fixes for a new homeowner. The reduced competition means the seller will receive fewer offers and likely for lower amounts than a comparable, well staged home with broad curb appeal. That translates for buyers as a "good deal".

Sellers attempting to sell in the winter may have a difficult time building a strong curb appeal unless they are located in the southern half of the nation. Upper latitudes often have dark and dreary winters with dead grass, leafless trees and a general ugly yard syndrome. Keeping the home free of yard debris and greened up with some evergreen bushes or trees can help.

In summary, sellers can not overlook curb appeal if they want the best price for their house. Our current market rewards turn key, move in ready listings, with multiple offers often at or above full price and a quick closing. Less desirable condition tends to benefit buyers. Houses that don't have that move in ready sharpness, lend to linger on the market. These homes are the ones that get discounted and sold for less than market. For buyers these can be that "deal" they have been looking for.

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