When it comes to selling real estate, most people assume the first impression hits prospective buyers when they enter the house. They’re wrong. That’s the second impression. The first impression comes much sooner and learning about a little concept called road appeal will help you as an agent or seller move your real estate properties quickly.
Road appeal is just what it sounds like – how your house looks when prospective buyers drive by. There are some very basic, but often overlooked, elements to increasing your property’s real estate road appeal.
Remember, some buyers are not good at viewing a piece of property for its potential if it already has a lot of pieces filled in. Make your real estate property a canvas so your prospective buyers can imagine their lives in it. If they like what they see when they imagine themselves enjoying your yard, they will buy it.
If that first impression is of a cluttered, trashy yard, they will subconsciously view the rest of the house that way, no matter how clean and neat.
First, give everything a trim. The yard should be neat and well groomed. It does not have to look like the Biltmore Estates, but the grass should be mowed, hedges pruned, large clumps of weeds pulled. All the basic yard grooming things you should do, but might not think of as priorities.
Next, consider pressure washing your house and driveway. Years of dirt and grime can make a house seem old and dingy. Pressure washing removes all that build-up for a clean glow. A few paint touch-ups on the porch or gables is also a good idea. Any repairs you’ve been putting off? Go ahead and fix that creaky step, rotten banister rail, or missing rail post. It may seem silly since you won’t get to enjoy the repairs. But the impression of a needed $10 repair can kill a prospective buyer’s interest.
Now, step back and take an honest look at your house from the road. Imagine you are a prospective real estate buyer. What do you see? As a parent, you’re used to seeing your kids toys scattered around, but as a buyer all those balls, bats and Tonka trucks clutter the yard. The trampoline, which the kids never use, makes the yard look small. And those adorable pink flamingos suddenly seem a little, well, . . . tacky. Those big, Miami green planters your wife loves? Also tacky. Be honest with yourself about the decorative elements of your yard and make an effort to keep them appealing to the widest audience possible.
Believe it or not, one of the things real estate agents have to do frequently is ask their clients to remove junky cards, furniture and trash from their front yards. Many families overlook the trashy elements of their yards if they do not spend much time there.
Another key element to road appeal is to remember your location. If you are in the country, the first impression should fit that setting. If your home a log cabin? Keep the yard and patio furniture in tune with that theme. If you have a house in a subdivision, follow all the subdivision codes.
Finally, remember is that keeping the yard free of toys and debris is not just important when you have an appointment to show the house. Prospective buyers may drive by your home at any time, with or without a real estate agent. In fact, prospective buyers often drive by a property many times before even contacting their real estate agent.