The answer is simple: curb appeal.
While location, location, location is still a selling point, it’s your home’s curb appeal that brings you offers quicker than anything else. Curb appeal gives potential buyers a first impression of what your house is – and what it can be.
“Curb appeal is everything,” said Wes Olson, owner and realtor for WR Properties in Brentwood. “Especially in this market, when bank-owned properties are selling for a lot less, curb appeal really helps a house stand apart from the competition. Presentation is everything.”
Olson suggests sprucing up the exterior of your property before even placing it on the market. He recommends you clean the windows, power wash the exterior, keep the lawn green and lush, trim the shrubs and landscaping, and keep a clean car in the driveway. Make sure the gutters are cleaned out, and replace any broken or missing boards in the fence. And put a fresh coat of stain on that fence while you’re at it.
All this home improvement doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. You can do many of these little jobs yourself over the course of a weekend or two.
“You don’t get a second chance to make that first impression,” Olson said. “If buyers drive by and don’t like what they see, chances are they won’t come back for a second look. You don’t need to hire professionals to spruce up the yard. You can do it yourself. Once you’ve power washed the house, you might notice that you could use a fresh coat of paint. But a lot of times, you just need to paint the trim. Polishing the trim can make a big difference. So you just need to be aware of the little things.”
While all the little details matter, Olson suggests you view your entire property as a product you’re marketing to the public, so you want it to look its best. If you drove by, would you want to live there? So don’t leave bikes and children’s toys strewn about the yard, and put the trash cans behind the fence. Get the newspapers out of the driveway and make sure the weeds have been pulled.
Olson even suggests mowing the yard of a neighboring house that’s in foreclosure to help give your house an extra advantage. “You want your home to look like it could be on the cover of a magazine,” Olson said. “When you’re done with the curb appeal improvements, you should be proud to put up a For Sale sign in your yard and show it off. With the economy, there are a lot of short sales, and since the owner isn’t making a profit, they just let the property go. But a little maintenance can go a long way and give you a competitive edge in the market.”
WR Properties is located at 651 First St. in Brentwood. For more information, call 925-634-3100 or visit www.wr-properties.com.