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Do you have curb appeal?

Your SCV home will sell faster if it makes a great curbside impression

Posted: June 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.

This front entrance is very nice as it is, but with just a few items removed it could be even more attractive.

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We are now in prime “home selling time” in the Santa Clarita Valley, and if you intend to sell your home in the next few months, you want it to make the most favorable first impression it can on potential buyers.

That begins with their first look at your home from the street. (And the corresponding photos posted online for the listing.) It’s all about “curb appeal.”

For some excellent advice on this topic, we turn to two experienced local real estate agents with Troop Real Estate in Valencia: Liliana West and Tamar House.

 

Think like a buyer

“You live in your house, so it’s hard to be objective as to how your home looks to a potential buyer,” West said. If you would like to boost your home’s curb appeal, you have to step out of the box. Get out on the street and look at your home while imagining that you do not live there.

What do you see? What can you do to change it? 

Imagine you are a home buyer driving through the neighborhood and looking for the “For Sale” signs.  What will cause your home to have the ‘Honey, stop the car!’ look?” said West.

“First impressions are important, so make sure the house looks well taken care of,” House said.

Here are some steps you can take to that end, ranging from those with no cost to pricier options that will make the biggest impact.

 

No cost options

Clean up: “Pick up toys and debris, especially anything that could pose a tripping hazard.” West said. “Remove anything that may be clutter or doesn’t add to the beautiful picture you’re trying to create.” Sweep up dead leaves and straighten any front patio décor. Remove anything that may not be welcoming (pick up after your dog, etc.).

“Cleanliness implies that the home is well taken care of,” House said.

Trim foliage: Overgrown plants indicate neglect. Remove, or at least cut back, any bushes or other plants that hide the house. Cut dead branches off of trees, too, and eliminate weeds.

Tidy the porch: “If you have a front porch, remember that it’s the ‘welcome mat’ of the home,” West said. Be sure loose porch railings are secured, that cracked or faded posts are replaced, painted or washed, and that the porch steps and floor are clean.

Windows: Wash the windows so they sparkle. Check how the window coverings show through the windows — fix or open up any blinds that may hang crooked or have missing parts.

House emphasized this. “Clean the windows and open the curtains wide (for when a potential buyer comes inside). It’s important that the home look light and bright. And keep the blinds open,” she said.

Sweep: Sweep up any cobwebs around the entrance. Hose off any dirt, as appropriate.

Keep your decor seasonally appropriate: “Do put out flags on Flag Day or the Fourth of July,” West said, “but be sure you don’t still have your Christmas lights out, even if they are turned off.”

Green lawn: Keep your lawn green but do not over-water it. 

Park in the garage: Park your car in the garage or away from your home. This will ensure you do not obstruct your home’s view from the street, and if you leave a parking space available in front of your house, the buyer’s agent (with your potential buyer in his or her car) will appreciate it, West said.

Hide the garbage cans: This is simple to do and can make a huge difference.

Keep garage door closed: This is also an easy one.

 

Low cost options

Flowers and sod: “Plant flowers by the pathway to your front door, and keep them dead-headed. Fill in any bare lawn spots with fresh sod,” West said.

Paint your front door: “Don’t be afraid to use a bold color when you paint. A red door may be very eye-catching and inviting, especially set off with a white trim,” West said.

Pathway lights: If you have a front walkway, add attractive pathway lights to accentuate it. If you choose one of the many solar-powered versions available, it won’t even add to your energy bill.

Seal the driveway: You can quickly repair a worn-out looking asphalt driveway by applying a coat of driveway sealer. Doing this to the average driveway only takes a few hours, West said.

Add a water feature: A new birdbath or garden fountain can make your home stand out from the others on the market.

 

Bigger impact options

Paint: If your house could use a coat of paint, now is the time to do it. “The color on a home can be rich, but do exercise caution,” West said. “If the intensity is too bright, all you see is the color and that takes away from the home.”

House agreed. “Neutral colors are proven to help sell your home faster. It may seem like a pain to paint a house right before you move, but it will make everything look cleaner and fresher,” she said.

Replace the front door: Putting in a new door immediately transforms your home, and it delivers a great return on investment. Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report, which measures the return homeowners get on remodeling projects, says a new steel entry door offers the best return on investment at resale.

Install new garage doors: “The garage door — especially if it’s on the front of the house — always catches the eye, but it’s often ignored by the owner,” West said. And if you haven’t looked at garage doors in awhile, you’re in for a surprise. The basic steel and fiberglass doors are still around, but there are a number of other options. Doors are available with decorative windows and in styles that replicate carriage doors, traditional barn doors or any element of your home.

Upgrade your driveways and paths: “You can take concrete from ‘blah’ to ‘wow’ by replacing plain gray with decorative concrete,” West explained. “Stamped and colored concrete driveways and walkways make an immediate impact.”

Add decorative trim to driveways: If you don’t want to invest in tearing up and replacing your driveway, add an edging of stone, brick or stamped concrete to make your home stand out.

Siding: A “whole house facelift” is the most expensive option, but hiring a professional to replace your home’s siding will probably make the biggest difference if you’re trying to sell it, West noted.

 

Most important

“Remember, potential buyers judge your home before they even enter it. Make this first impression count,” West emphasized.

“Consult your Realtor before preparing your home for the market,” House said. If you just start making changes, you may be focusing on things that might not bring ‘value’ to your home.”

 

Here are 10 minimum improvements to make before selling your home:
       Patch all holes and cracks in walls and ceilings.
       Fix all broken appliances and HVAC systems.
       Repair leaky faucets.
       Replace worn carpeting.
       Repaint dark or marred walls with neutral paint (not white).
       Replace broken windows.
       Repair the roof.
       Change out dated light fixtures / ceiling fans.
       Replace old linens / window coverings.
       Fix code violations.

You can reach Liliana West at 661-433-9378 or Liliana@LilWest.com. Visit www.LilWest.com. You can reach Tamar House at 661-714-0777 or Tamar@TeamHouseRealEstate.com.

Visit www.TeamHouseRealEstate.com.

Troop Real Estate is located at 23822 Valencia Blvd., Valencia, CA 91355. Call 661-705-700.

jwalker@the-signal.com  /  661-733-0337

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