You might think the age of online real estate listings and virtual tours has rendered curb appeal less important than in days gone by. But you'd be mistaken. Sure, a potential buyer's first impression of your home might be of your kitchen or living room, displayed on her computer screen from the comfort of her own home. He or she can learn how many rooms your home has, whether the heat is electric or gas, when you last remodeled the kitchen, and all kinds of other particulars.
But guess what? At some point, that buyer will visit your home in person. And when he or she shows up and takes that first look, the impression your property makes at first blush can really influence the way a person sees the rest of your home - good or bad. What you want - the whole point of enhancing your home's curb appeal - is for that potential buyer to get excited about your house from the first glimpse.
The little things count
There's not much you can do about the architecture of your house. You can, though, take many steps to boost its drive-up appeal. For starters, keep the yard neat during the time your home is on the market. Don't let the grass get too long between each mowing, edge the walkways and driveway, rake leaves, pull weeds, and get rid of any clutter, junk, or toys.
If you've been using your garage for belongings other than your cars, now would be a good time to rent a storage unit or sell and give away items to make room for your vehicles.
What kind of impression do you think buyers take away from dead limbs or a six-foot-tall tree stump smack dab in the middle of the front yard? And don't think that the ivy growing over the dead tree will fool anyone. Fairly or not, a visitor will assume that if the yard and exterior are not well-taken-care-of, the interior must be neglected as well. (Not to mention the danger posed by dead limbs and trees.)
Make a grand entrance
When's the last time you painted your front door? A fresh coat of paint takes little time, is an easy do-it-yourself project, doesn't cost much, and makes a wonderful first impression. Don't ruin your hard work by leaving the crummy-looking or poorly functioning lock and doorknob. Likewise, you can easily spruce up the area right around the entrance. Put some pots or planters with seasonal flowers around the entrance and buy a new doormat. (You may want to change out the one with your name on it, as that makes it more difficult to imagine the home as anyone but yours.)
Take the next step
If your exterior paint or siding has seen better days, do what you can to improve it. That may mean a new paint job, patching some cracks, or replacing the fascia boards. Or it might just need a good power washing. Shine up the windows inside and out, get rid of any cobwebs hanging under the eaves, and clean out the gutters, too.
You can take other steps to enhance the first impression your home makes, like paying attention to outdoor lighting or creating an inviting sitting area on your front porch. Your Realtor can give you ideas that will increase the interest in your home and help you get the highest selling price.
For more information, I invite you to visit http://www.texasrealestate.com/ or http://www.har.com/ and for all of your Pearland TX and Northern Brazoria and Galveston County real estate needs, please visit my site at http://www.danfrankrealty.com. Danny Frank is a local Pearland Real Estate expert.
This column was published in the 27April08 edition of the Galveston County Daily News.