By Dayv Morgan
While there is often a lot of focus on getting a home ready to sell by improving and cleaning the interior, what a buyer sees on the exterior is equally as important. When I take potential buyers to look at a home, they begin making their decision on whether they like the property from the moment they get out of the car. Here are some focus areas and simple things you can do to improve the first impression of your home:
Over time, the exterior paint will fade and make the house look older than it is. Instead of repainting a whole house, you can give it a fresh look by repainting the trim or “pop outs” around the windows. This shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars but will vary depending on the size of the house.
As buyers are standing on the porch waiting for the front door to be unlocked, they are examining the area around them. Make sure the ground is swept, cobwebs are removed from the ceiling, and lights are dusted and cleaned of any bugs. Also invest $10 to $20 in a new welcome mat and give the front door a fresh coat of paint, if needed.
The majority of homes have desert landscape, so if you have grass in the front yard it can really be a nice feature. However, this time of year, most lawns have grass that is still dormant from the winter and filled with weeds. If the grass does not look lush and green, then the buyer will assume it is too much work to maintain and view it as a negative. Replacing the existing grass with new sod is not that expensive — a professional landscaper can purchase and install it in a 10-by-20-foot area for about $300.
A burst of color from some flowers can provide a nice accent amid all the shades of tan paint and rocks. Try adding two or three small pots with some flowers on the front porch. The majority of yards already have an automatic landscape watering system, and you could easily connect it so that they are watered and maintained without any extra effort.
The surrounding houses and yards can also impact the value of a home. If a buyer hears barking dogs or sees streets crowded with cars and unkempt yards, they won’t want to buy in that area despite how much they love the home itself. Unfortunately, you can’t pick your neighbors, but you have nothing to lose by politely asking them to keep their dog inside during the day or requesting they move the cars farther down the street until the home sells. And, even if you had to pay $100 for a landscaper to clean up someone else’s yard, it sure beats making a price reduction of $5,000 or more because the house isn’t selling.
Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.
This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.