The power of curb appeal

by REP04 Jul 2016
If you encounter first-time sellers in a healthy market, you may have met one or two who feel that they’ll be able to sell their home as-is for well over asking. That may be the case in Toronto or Vancouver, where desperation leads to tunnel vision and hasty decisions, but in a market where buyers have time to look closely at a property and consider everything they’ve seen during a viewing, flaws and overlooked upkeep can turn them off. There is no such thing as a small imperfection when people are making the biggest purchase of their lives.

A welcoming entrance
The first interaction most buyers have with a potential new home is walking up to the door for the first time. The more pleasant this experience is, the more likely they’ll be to picture themselves going through that door every day.
  • Repaint your front door and update hardware to give it a fresh look. Make sure any damaged or sagging screens are repaired or replaced.
  • Update your house numbers to give your entrance some style.
  • Add or update the light fixtures by your entrance. Bronze finishes complement traditional homes, while brushed nickel accents are best suited for contemporary/modern homes.
  • Don’t neglect your driveway. Make sure to rinse or sweep it regularly, and reseal holes, cracks and potholes that may have accumulated over time. Clean up any fluid leaks or spills as soon as they occur.

Perfect the surroundings
In a paved world, a little well-maintained greenery goes a long way toward making a home feel more like a haven. Neglected landscaping can make a property look cheap and unloved, two words that no buyer wants to associate with their new home.
  • Trim any overgrown greenery, remove weeds and tidy up planting areas.
  • Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, and don’t be afraid to plant bright, colourful shrubs and flowers to increase appeal. Add some garden boxes or large, decorative pots.
  • Add landscape lighting. It will add nighttime ambiance, improve the yard’s overall appearance and increase safety.

Look up – way up
The roof of a property is not just one of its most structurally important aspects, but it can also one of the largest and most visible. Buyers will think one of two things when they see a damaged or poorly maintained roof: “That’s going to be a problem” and “Gross.”
Check your roof at least twice a year for missing, badly curled or damaged shingles that need to be replaced.
  • In general, asphalt shingles need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years.
  • The national median cost of a 2,000-square-foot asphalt shingle roof is approximately $8,000.
  • Clear all gutters and downspouts of any debris that may have accumulated from the previous season.

Not necessarily white picket …
We’ve all had our opinions of a property immediately diminished by a sad, saggy fence. As the outermost segment of a property, a fence can sometimes be the first thing buyers see, in which case all care should be taken to make sure that first impression is a good one.
  • Inspect the fencing around your home, especially if any components may have moved over the winter. Check all latches and gates to ensure they are working properly.
  • The national average cost of a four-foot chain-link fence is approximately $11 to $16 per linear foot. For a five-foot wood cedar fence, the cost is approximately $16 to $27 per linear foot.

Cleanliness is next to sold-liness
This may seem like the most obvious suggestion of all, but that may be why some sellers forget to follow it. Cleaning is the simplest and easiest way to spruce up the appearance of a house.
  • Wash everything – the windows, the front door, porch and garage doors. A bucket of soapy water, a cloth and a soft-bristled brush are all you’ll need for external siding.
  • Rent or buy a pressure washer to get rid of accumulated dirt and grime on your walkways and flagstone.
  • Do it regularly. You may not be selling your home now, but you never know who’s walking past. It could be the future occupant of your home, and it’s doubtful they’ll be saying, “Hey, honey! Can’t you just picture us living in that pigsty?”
A little time and investment will spruce up the exterior of your house and ensure you are always one step ahead of the growing competition – impressing the neighbours and, more important, your prospective buyers.


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