The Daniels and O’Keefe Team's Blog
We have all heard it or said it before, when either introducing or being introduced to a potential mate who may not be known for their strikingly good looks, the first thing that is said is “He/She has a GREAT personality”. Translation – “he or she is not attractive”. Well, although looks are not the most eminent feature about a mate or a house, they are important. Being attracted to a house and all it has to offer on the outside will make a big difference about how the inside appeals to a buyer. Email me all you want about this next statement, but don’t tell me that it is not true. Looks do matter. They matter online, they matter in person, and they absolutely matter to the buyer who will be spending 6 or 7 figures to buy the equivalent of your great personality. While the location and the style of the house can not be easily altered, the features that will initiate the double-take when a buyer is driving by can be easily enhanced. So often, I’ll be with buyers, driving or walking around a neighborhood and he/she will say “I wish that house were on the market”. This common statement is completely based on the look of the outside of the house. Buyers spend more hours than their employers would like to know searching online, checking out every visual tour, every photo, every room of every house on the market. With such limited time, they will omit the houses that don’t look pleasing from the outside. And when the buyers do get to your house, wouldn’t it be nice for them to highly anticipate what is inside? Back to dating – remember when you did go on a date with someone who was really good looking and then when he/she started to talk, you were disappointed? Same thing. To start, take a look at your house from the street. What do you notice? Does anything look unsightly? MAILBOX – Yes, your mailbox. It has nothing to do with the house and its market value or the layout or the amount of money you spent on new windows, but it is the first thing that people see. Think about it, where are most house #s noticed from the street? On the mailbox. If you still have a bungee cord holding it together as a result of the crazy-driving snowplowers, now is a fantastic time to get it fixed or replaced. GARAGE DOORS – Do they need to be power-washed? Is the paint chipping? Does the trim need to be replaced? You don’t necessarily need to replace the garage doors before you move unless they are not operational. Just confirm that they look nice. WALKWAYS – Is your walkway clear? What do you see when you walk to the front door? There are many ways in which to enhance your walkway with flowers, plantings, lights, etc. It is also crucial to ensure that there are no tripping hazards. If any of the stones or bricks are loose – fix them. If the agent is running in the house to get ice from your new freezer because your buyer fell flat on his/her face, that will be the end of the showing for that day. They will always refer to your house as “the one that I fell at”. All of the time you spent on the inside won’t make a difference. ENTRANCES – Do you have an attractive front door? How does your house look to you when you are standing at the door? If the house is to be accessed via a key in the lockbox at the front door, there are typically about 30 seconds or so that the agent and buyers are standing at the door before they go inside. Take 30 seconds to look around. Are there cobwebs hanging off the door that you never use because you come in through the garage? Do you still have holiday lights there? Does the doorbell work? What can you see inside the windows next to the door? How is the railing? What about your house number? If it is the same number that the original owners from 1978 put there, it is time to take a trip to Restoration Hardware and replace the numbers. You get the picture... GUTTERS – when comparing your house to a dating experience, I could certainly easily deviate when referring to the gutters. However, you don’t want anyone’s mind to go near the gutter. Make sure they are clean, clear of debris. The gutter extensions that cost less than $10 will not only look much better, they will help preserve your house. Get the water away from your house. That is why you have the gutters. We, as real estate agents love to see this as it does indicate that care has been taken with preserving the outside of the house. LANDSCAPE – How pretty does your yard look? Does it look like it has been maintained or that you are away and forgot to contract with a landscaper? Mow the lawn, put some pretty flowers outside, add some mulch – and keep the plantings AWAY from the house. You should not have any moisture or anything that would attract wood boring insects against your house. Clear the area around the foundation. Buy new window well covers, they cost approximately $10-$20. There is absolutely nothing green about either of my thumbs, so for more information about gardening and landscaping, there is plenty of information online. DECK/PATIO -Power wash or paint if it needs it. Furniture: Does it look inviting? Could a buyer imagine themselves living there and entertaining friends and family on the deck or patio? Clean the furniture, stage the table. Make the backyard look enticing. EYESORES: A swingset is great, especially if you are planning on leaving it for the buyer. But – the primary color plastic toys that are so popular for kids should be put away. I am not knocking the toys. I have them too – but they don’t need to be on display for your buyers. If you have a tarp laying around, move it somewhere else. This isn’t rocket science – if it doesn’t compliment the look of your house, make it disappear. LIGHTING: Although it is staying light later in the day, outside lighting is important. Make sure the bulbs work. Buyers will drive around neighborhoods at night, and they will make appointments to see your house at night. Allow your house to stand out from the rest. You don’t need Extreme Makeover to visit your house in order for it to look like you just gave it the equivalent of a shot of Botox, a good mani/pedi, a new hairstyle and a look to knock potential buyers out of the market. These are fairly easy fixes and will come back to you when your buyer falls in love, with the great personality – of course.