| Good Curb Appeal is money in the Bank|
Today’s economic environment has motivated homeowners to get the most out of their homes. Whether they are selling a home or refinancing an existing mortgage loan to tap home equity, homeowners are looking for ways to squeeze as much equity out of their homes as they possibly can.
Real estate professionals know you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why curb appeal is so very important. Improving curb appeal can be as straightforward as fixing a broken window. Some improvements take planning, time, and effort, but will be well worth it at sale or appraisal if you plan to refinance.
Starting from the outside, or “curb,” here are tips for improving your home’s curb appeal.
Start with the Yard. Prune trees and shrubs, making sure there are not branches near the roofline or outer walls of your home. Mow the lawn. Plant flowers for color. Fill in any bare spots in your garden with high foliage plants. Take photos of the house when the flowers are in bloom and the yard looks great. Use these photos if you’re showing your house during times when harsh weather sends your yard into dormancy.
Fix everything. Take a walk around the house and note everything that’s broken, out of alignment, or looks bad. Nail in loose shutters; fix or replace screen doors, fence boards, etc. If you can’t fix it, get rid of it. A window with no screen is better than a window with a ripped screen. It’s better to have everything fixed before a prospective buyer sees the home, offers a lower price and still demands for repairs to be done before the sale.
Paint outside and repair/replace siding. Fresh paint has the lowest cost and most dramatic improvement in the value of a home. Often a fresh coat of paint is easier than cleaning the outside of a home.
Unclutter your surroundings. In the garage, outbuildings, outside, and especially true on the inside, less clutter makes homes seem larger. Have a garage sale, donate to charities or rent a storage unit. Just get rid of it!
Keep pets & children out-of-sight. Pets should not be in a yard when prospective buyers arrive. Keep children out of the way too. While family and pets are part of the fabric of our lives, they can be a distraction. Steer clear of such pitfalls by arranging for children and pets to be somewhere else while someone is looking at your home.
Clean, Clean, Clean. Start with the carpeting and floors, walls, windows, and furniture. A well kept home gives a sign that everything has been kept up equally as well that equates to a higher value.
Think…aroma. Do whatever necessary to create a pleasant scent. First, regularly air your house out, take out the trash, and clean your kitchen thoroughly of food residues. Then help nature along with some aromatic additions. For a “home is where the heart is” aroma, try baking a loaf of bread (frozen dough is available at any grocery store). Another great kitchen smell is cinnamon. In bathrooms and bedrooms, try potpourri or fresh-cut flowers. Wouldn't the scent of leather in a den or home office be nice? Many candle scents smell just as nice when not lit and there are many varieties of scents available to match the mood for any room.
Set the mood. Create a peaceful ambience using solitude or soft music. If your neighborhood is noisy, choose a soothing instrumental background music that will neutralize the noise. A quiet neighborhood or countryside needs no music—take advantage of the peace and quiet. Always keep television sets and radios turned off.
Let the sunshine in. Set a cheery mood by opening curtains enough to let light flow, but not so much as to create a glare. If rooms are dark, install higher watt bulbs and use overhead lighting to brighten gloomy areas. Well-lit rooms are cheery and appear larger.