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Selling your Home? Curb Appeal Shortens “Shelf Life”



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By : Bonnie Cox    99 or more times read
If you were in the market for a peach, would you pick the one sitting in the bin that had the outer skin torn, was discolored or had bits of “other” green stuff stuck to it?
Or would you choose the peach that was ripe but firm, with skin intact and clean?

That’s what I thought you’d say . . . So why would you assume that home buyers would look for anything less aesthetically pleasing than that perfect peach?

When your listing agent goes over the checklist with you (and they should have one for you), you may be overwhelmed at first. Don’t be. Most if this is typical maintenance you would usually do for yourself to make your home look nice. I like the old adage, “Keep it Simple” and it’s easier than you think.

One of the first things your listing agent will want to do is take pictures of the outside of your house. Inside pictures (If they’re motivated) will also be taken and they are just as important.

Your agent is probably also going to want to schedule an open house or two as soon as your listing hits MRIS and Realtor.com. Here are some quick pointers:

Outside:

Make sure your landscaping is as clean and trimmed as possible. Bushes and shrubs around the house, clean plants and flower beds, edge sidewalks and seed/repair any bare spots in the grass.

Sidewalk cracks? Repair them.

Your home exterior should look welcoming. Peeling paint on the door and rusty or tarnished door fixtures should be rectified.

Paint the front door, trim and make sure house numbers are visible. If there is a front porch, add a hanging potted plant or two, but don’t over do it. You’re going for balance, color and warmth.

The same attention should be paid to garage doors and trim, repair cracked or crumbled driveways. Driveways can be big selling points in a home.

Organize the outside and the inside as much as possible. Put tools away or hung neatly on the walls. Get storage bins for any errant fishing poles, pool toys or yard equipment.

Mow the grass regularly (I shouldn’t have to tell you this) and make sure all outside lamps and walkway lights are in working order.

If time is not on your side (you’re not independently wealthy and have to go to work), ask your agent if they know of a thorough, inexpensive handyman or contractor service to do minor repairs or replacements you may not be skilled on.

Remember, you have a lot of competition out there right now. The best light you can place on your home, the faster the bites will come.

I can’t stress enough the importance of clean windows and storm doors. I know agents that have panic-cleaned glass on the front of a home right before their scheduled open house. Yes, it does make a difference. Clean glass adds so much more polish to a home! You wouldn’t think it would go noticed, but believe me! It does!

Inside:

  • Glass . . . I’m not kidding. Clean glass brightens a room and the home.

  • Bathrooms: The shinier the fixtures, the better. And if you don’t flush, your customers will . . . and they will walk.

  • Mirrors: Treat like glass. Clean. No toothpaste spatters . . . no stray whiskers.

  • Unclutter that vanity sink. You don’t need to impress your visitors with how many different varieties of blow dryers and curling irons you have.

  • Kitchens: People get into trouble here. Clean floors, I would even invest in Counter Magic or similar product to really make your counter tops look immaculate. Shine steel and appliances and declutter the counter tops.

  • Carpeting and floors: Carpet cleaning is the most effective in minimizing trapped odors. It is unbelievable the difference this makes. Plug-in Air Fresheners are fantastic of not over done.

I can’t say enough about the care taken inside to make the home look like the family that lived their cared. Look at it this way. Your home is going on blind dates and it wants to make the best impression possible. Just think if one stained T-shirt is left hanging over a chair, or shoes stick to the floor as you walk in the kitchen (I’ve had an open house like this). Not only are potential buyers going to be turned off, they may even stigmatize the neighborhood based on what they see in your home.

In this market, where the average days on the market for an average home is around 160 days, you don’t want to be giving buyers away to the competition.
Bonnie Cox is a Realtor specializing in Fine Residential homes in the Northern Maryland area, Aberdeen and Harford County.

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