Selling your home? Making an effort to beautify its exteriors with good landscaping, hardscaping and quality building materials creates a strong lure to potential buyers.
Think of it as the face that your house displays to the world. Is it pretty or in need of a facelift? Real estate professionals call it “curb appeal.”
“The definition of curb appeal is the external personality of a house, equivalent to a smile or a frown on a face,” says Marc Dessureault, a real estate broker with Re/Max Royal Jordan in Beaconsfield. “It’s a reflection of the people who live inside.”
An external façade surrounded by landscaping that is messy or poorly maintained, he says, generally portends mess and a lack of maintenance indoors, too. “As a general observation, houses that are well-maintained outside are the same on the inside. It’s a reflection of pride of ownership. People who take care of their curb appeal are showing their neighbours that they have the nicest house on the street.”
Exterior neglect of a property influences potential buyers on an emotional level, Mr. Dessureault says. “When buyers look at a home—and keep in mind that the exterior façade is the first photo on a home’s listing—they imagine themselves in it, experiencing the property. People say that they shop for houses logically, that they have a checklist based in logic, and that it’s a Cartesian-thought process. In fact, people buy houses through emotion, but they justify their purchases through logic.”
When it comes to curb appeal though, there are some extenuating circumstances, he adds. “I’ve seen homes that are nice on the inside that lack curb appeal, but it’s often because people spend money improving the indoors first. Landscaping is usually the last thing to get done.”
In neighbourhoods developed with tract housing where one home is much like the next, it is the houses with curb appeal that attract the most attention among buyers, he says.
Here are ways to confer curb appeal on your home:
- The driveway, lawn and walkway are key, Mr. Dessureault says. “Patchy grass is not much of an issue but a cracked driveway is. Based on the walkway, people make a judgment and they haven’t even got into the house yet.”
- The quality of a home’s foundation and exterior cladding is also important. “A mish-mash of cladding is visually confusing. Unified cladding is better,” he says.
- Ensure that your front door stands out visually. A U.S, study recently found that houses with black front doors fetch higher selling prices than those of other colours. “A black door has a prestige to it,” Mr. Dessureault says. “But ideally, it should be paired with black-framed windows.”
- Do update the door’s hardware and your mailbox, if necessary.
- “And the more nature you have in front of your house, the better,” Mr. Dessureault says. “Flowers are an inexpensive way of boosting curb appeal.”
While buyers may look past a home’s curb appeal during a frenzied real estate market such as the current one, it’s still an important element to encourage them to take a closer look at a property. “My advice to people is that if you’re planning to sell and want to increase your home’s curb appeal, clean up the outside rather than investing in it. Spending money on landscaping at that stage won’t give you a big return on investment. But you want it looking clean.”
Curb appeal, Mr. Dessureault says, is the first impression homebuyers get. “It makes a property homey rather than housey.”
Marc Dessureault is a real estate broker in the Beaconsfield office of RE/MAX Royal Jordan.