- Curb appeal is to real estate what sex appeal is to men and women. It's the first point of attraction. And how important is that?
"Curb appeal is as important as the nice blue box Tiffany's puts their diamonds in," said Judi Desiderio, president of Town & Country
Real Estate. "Every seller should set their property apart from all the 'comps' in the neighborhood, whether the price is under $1 million or over $20 million."
Judi Desiderio, President of Town & Country Real Estate.
So, if your house is on the market, the next time you come home, stop across the street or far enough down the driveway to get a good view of the house and its surroundings and ask yourself what your impression is. Is the approach clean and tidy? What are the best exterior features of the house or lot and how can you enhance them? What are the worst exterior features of the house or lot? How can you minimize or improve them?
"The architecture of the house is also very important," Desiderio said, adding that landscaping can also improve curb appeal. "It's important that you hire the right landscaper so they put in the right trees and shrubs, so you have some kind of color all year."
Mala Sander, senior vice president and associate broker for Corcoran Group
Real Estate, advises clearing away brush, leaves and any debris in the front yard, painting or power-washing the deck and front porch and adding a coat of fresh paint to the front door. Also, she said, make sure your mailbox is attractive and if it is old and beat-up looking, get a new one. "You'd be surprised what a difference these things can make," she said.
"There are some people who won't go in a house because it's not visually acceptable. Make it charming and clean and visually acceptable as possible," she said. "First impressions are hard to shake. So make sure the house looks fresh and crisp and snappy."
Colorful flowers on the porch or deck can make a big difference, according to Sander.
Brokers suggest making a list of things to do to make your house as attractive as possible, including:
• Kill mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof, or driveway.
• Stow away unnecessary garden implements and tools.
• Clean windows and gutters.
• Pressure wash dirty siding and dingy decks.
• Edge sidewalks and remove vegetation growing between concrete or bricks.
• Mow the lawn. Get rid of weeds.
• Rake and dispose of leaves, even if your lot is wooded.
• Trim tree limbs that are near or touching the home's roof.
With its waterfront of Upper Sag Harbor Cove as its front "yard," this house, available from Corcoran Group Real Estate, is the epitome of "curb" appeal.
"Most buyers cannot visualize changes, and often won't take a second look at a house if the first look doesn't appeal to them. Home buyers who can visualize changes, and are prepared to make them, expect you to reduce the price of the house to compensate for the work they plan to do," states an article on curb appeal at the website About.com.
Make sure your pictures in your listing on the Internet are as attractive as possible, Desiderio said. "The computer has changed the way we serve our clientele, so make sure you have multiple photos and that they are of a very high quality," she said.
Other brokers said that when your house is on the market, it's important to stop thinking of it as your home and start thinking of it as a commodity for sale. "It's worth spending money on curb appeal," one broker said. "It's 90 percent of the battle."