Friday, January 15, 2016

Curb Appeal ~ first impressions matter

Despite our best efforts, we do judge a book by its cover, people by their attire and a house by its appearance.  Like it or not, first impressions set the stage for everything that follows.  Curb appeal can be a deal breaker, and houses with an attractive curb appeal sell for higher prices in less time than those with a bit of sloppy out front.

Many classy neighborhoods, condo buildings and gated communities have homeowner associations with covenants, restrictions and easements to maintain visual attraction of the neighborhoods as a whole.   Even so, cobwebs, mildew, peeling trim paint and rust don't discriminate on where they crop up.

There are buyers out there looking for the "handyman's special" and offering low-ball prices, but just as many or more are looking for the equivalent of a nice home on which they can make an offer, sign a contract and move in without lifting a paint brush.   Many people relocating to the Tampa Bay region maybe in accepting a new position or job promotion, and they intend to focus their energy on the company, responsibilities, co-workers, neighbors and new schools for the kids and not on sprucing up the front porch.

Not everything can be addressed in a litany of covenants, and it may be your responsibility to maintain a nice exterior look. But, if you've slipped a bit on the home front, here are some ways to enhance curb appeal:

  • sweep cobwebs, loose dirt
  • check gutters and drains for drainage and damage
  • replace house numbers with classy, large ones
  • touch up or paint trim, porch railings, etc.
  • stain decks and natural wood surfaces
  • power wash everything (this might dislodge loose paint)
  • kill mold and mildew
  • replace or repair garage doors
  • fill cracks in driveway and seal
  • clean windows
  • new mailbox
  • new porch and garage light fixtures
  • paint front door, new door knocker or hardware or polish what's there
  • trim shrubs and weeds; add mulch or potted flowers (even just one)
  • remove branches close to roof or siding         
  • lightscaping along walkways
  • neatly edge sidewalks and driveway
  • put away toys, bicycles, etc.
  • add a color accent ~ chair, flowers, pot, bench
  • fences and fence sections in good repair, stain or paint
  • repoint bricks which have lost mortar
  • replace any cracked glass
  • inspect foundation
  • clean up after pets
  • store trash cans, RVs, boats out of sight or off property

Call Bin There Dump That before you begin your clean-up.   They'll deliver a dumpster, place it neatly in your driveway and pick it up when you ask.   If you don't think you have enough junk for a dumpster, ask the neighbors on either side to go in with you for even greater curb appeal that extends on both sides of your house!

Many buyers cannot see potential, and others are not interested in purchasing potential.  The offer price goes down with every little thing, and they are on the lookout for small stuff to chip away at the price.   Keep your curb appeal at its best, and that first impression may convert quickly to a tour and a contract.

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