Owners and buyers don't look at a house the same way; owners usually can't see their house's faults. Decide right now to stop thinking of the property as a home.
It's a house—a commodity you want to sell for the highest dollar possible.
The next time you drive up to your house, make note of the following:
Park where a potential buyer would and walk towards the house, looking around you as if it were your first visit. Is the approach clean and tidy? What could you do to make it more attractive?
Take photos of the house's exterior. If you have a digital camera, view the color versions first, then remove the color and look at it in black and white. It's easier to see problems when color isn't around to affect our senses.
Make a list of the problem areas you discovered. Tackle clean up and repair chores first, then put some time into projects that make the grounds more attractive.
Buyers doing a drive-by will try to see your backyard. If this area is visible from another street or from someone's driveway, include it in your curb appeal efforts.
Do your curb appeal exercise again at dusk, because some potential buyers drive by houses in the evening.
One quick way to improve evening curb appeal is with lighting:
There are times that adding elements to your landscaping can improve curb appeal, but there are other times when removing something is even more effective.
For example, we listed a large brick house with white columns. Tall evergreens, planted in front of each column, had grown taller than the roof. They obscured the columns and windows and made it difficult to see the front of the house.
We suggested that the owner remove them. She trimmed them back, but it didn't do the trick—they were unattractive and still kept potential buyers from seeing the true character of the house.
I sold the house to a couple who could see past the trees. One of their first tasks after closing was to yank them out of the ground, instantly boosting the home's curb appeal.
Most buyers cannot visualize changes, and often won't take a second look at a house if the first look doesn't appeal to them. Homebuyers who can visualize changes, and are prepared to make them, expect you to reduce the price of the house to compensate for the work they plan to do.
If you brainstorm, you'll find that there's a budget-friendly solution to most curb appeal problems.