Curb Appeal: The Seller's Edge in Today's Market

Curb appeal is an important factor in today's housing market and can mean the difference between selling your home or having it linger on the market. While early signs point to the real estate market beginning to improve, there is still a huge inventory of homes on the market for potential buyers to choose from.

According to, 80 percent of home buyers look at pictures of homes on the internet before deciding to tour them. Since they only tour about 45 percent of those they've looked at, your home's photo and curb appeal is paramount in getting showings. Even if you pass the internet screening, minor flaws in your home's exterior can reduce your home from a showing into merely a drive-by.
Why is curb appeal so important? Your home's appearance has a psychological effect on potential buyers. If the exterior of the house and yard is well-maintained, buyers enter the home with positivity, believing the interior will measure up to the standards set outside. If the exterior looks poorly maintained, buyers enter the home with a negative mindset, specifically looking for problems.

To be sure your home will attract, and not repel potential buyers, invite a meticulous friend to tour the outside of your property. Ask them to be brutally honest (you know buyers will!) and point out any flaws. Homeowners are used to seeing things the way they are, and a fresh set of eyes can help see issues which may have slipped by unnoticed with familiarity.

Here are some suggestions for improving your curb appeal (and home value):

•Wash dirt, mildew, and grime off the outside of your home
•Wash windows and repair any broken or unsealed glass
•Keep grass cut, watered, and green
•Seed bare patches of lawn
•Keep gardens cleanly edged and weed-free
•Fill bare areas of foundation plantings with colorful flowers
•Add fresh mulch for a polished and professional look
•Keep yard and porch clear of bikes, toys, tools, newspapers, and any other clutter
•Scrape and repaint flaking paint on door, trim, porch, deck, steps, or outbuildings
•Make sure the front door opens and closes easily and the doorbell works
•Keep garbage cans out of sight
•Fences should be clean and in good condition. Replace broken gates, pickets, or latches

Your home's curb appeal is one facet of your marketing plan. If you don't have the time or skills to take care of it, hire someone to do it for you. It is that important! Investing time and money into your curb appeal leads to more viewings, a quicker sale, and usually a higher price.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

These AOL Real Estateguides can help, no matter whether you choose to buy or sell:
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