No matter the housing market fluctuations here in Vancouver, improving resale value is based largely on first impressions. Curb appeal will always be a significant factor in getting the best possible price for your home. This is true today more than ever.
Over 90% of home buyers use the Internet during some point in the buying process, and then many of them, 77% in the case of first time home buyers, drive by the houses they like. But they just keep on driving right by the houses without curb appeal.
Houses are like job applicants; there is only one chance to make a good first impression. Have you noticed how rarely people change their minds? Our brains are wired to form an opinion about something then move on, unless there is a very good reason to change that opinion. If a buyer’s first impression of your house is bad, you will have a hard time changing their mind. But if a buyer’s first impression is of a clean, well-kept exterior, inviting landscaping and a welcoming vibe, they are much more predisposed to forgive imperfections as they tour your home.
There is no getting around it; if you want to sell your house, you need to pay attention to its curb appeal.
Improving Resale Value Through Curb Appeal
Let’s look at some of the best ways to spend your money in order to catch a buyer’s eye.
1. Exterior Clutter Can Kill a House Sale
People want to move into a clean, comfortable space. As they look at your home, they are envisioning where they would put their own belongings. Make it easy for them to imagine themselves in your home by keeping it free of clutter.
- Put away your tools, your bicycles and your kiddy pool.
- Hide the trash cans behind plants or screens.
- Rake the leaves.
- Get rid of all those assorted lawn chairs on your front porch and replace them with an attractive, carefully chosen piece or two.
2. Landscaping Is Essential to Curb Appeal
Experts agree that one of the most important places to put your money when preparing your house for sale is landscaping. Landscaping is so important to getting a good price for your home that experts say you should invest 10% to 15% of the value of your home in it. A 150% return on a landscaping investment is not at all unusual, and you may enjoy an ROI far higher, potentially 215%. Compare that to a kitchen renovation with an ROI of 68%to 81% or a roof replacement with a typical ROI of 75%.
- It goes without saying that your yard must be mowed and all greenery must be kept clean and neat.
- Do some research on your home’s architectural style and create compatible landscaping.
- Design counts and so does the size of your plants. Think about how to group your plants for greatest impact.
- Consider low cost path lighting. Solar lighting, which does not require electricity, is easy and inexpensive.
- Edge paths and garden areas with stone, wood or brick to give them a well-kept look.
- Consider planting annual plants that flower for long periods to add attractive splashes of color.
3. Your Entry Way Welcomes People into Your Home
The entrance to your home should welcome buyers and make them want to see more. Give them a pleasant experience as they wait for the real estate agent to unlock the door and usher them into your house. Ask yourself how you can improve that front entrance toward the goal of improving resale value.
- Consider replacing your front door. People really do notice the door, so a high quality door, perhaps with some custom touches, can give you a return on investment of 102%. If you think replacing the door is overkill, be sure it is sparkling clean and sporting new paint. Consider a contrasting color that works well with your color scheme.
- If they fit into the space, you may want to place an attractive potted plant on each side of the door.
- Repair screens and make sure the front porch is tidy.
4. Pressure Washing Will Give Your House a Face Lift
Pressure washing is a very inexpensive way to give your home a fresh look and will only cost you about $236, less if you rent a machine and do it yourself. If your paint is in good shape, pressure washing can make your house shine. You are accustomed to looking at your house’s exterior, walkways and driveway every day, and you may not realize how dirty they really are.
5. New Paint Will Make Your Home Appear Well-Maintained
Fresh paint goes a long way to adding curb appeal. If your paint is faded or peeling, many buyers will not even bother to get out of the car. If you feel your paint is in pretty good shape, at least paint the trim and shutters. Though we mentioned that you may want to paint your door in a tasteful, contrasting color that makes it pop a little, you should paint your house and trim in neutral shades.
6. Updated Windows Appeal to the Energy Conscious Buyer
Consider whether or not your windows are outdated. Replacing your single-pane windows with new, energy efficient models can give your home a modern feel. A savvy buyer knows they can avoid drafts and reduce their utility bill by hundreds of dollars each year with energy-saving windows. We may have a temperate climate here in Vancouver, but nobody can deny that we have our share of cold, winter days when we just want to curl up comfortably inside our homes.
Of course, whether you buy new windows or not, they must absolutely sparkle when you show your house. A simple thing like giving them an intense cleaning both inside and out goes a long way to improving resale value.
6. Buyers Will Closely Examine the Roof
Potential buyers will examine your house with an eye to how much work and money they will need to put into it. Expect both buyers and appraisers to give close attention to the condition of your roof. Because of the expense, you probably want to avoid replacing the roof unless there is no way around it. But cleaning away weeds and mold, replacing missing shingles and cleaning gutters may be all your roof needs. Or perhaps a partial repair rather than a complete replacement will do. If you are in doubt, you may want to ask yourself a few key questions.
7. Little Touches Mean a Lot
Don’t underestimate the power of little touches in speeding up the sale of your house and influencing bid amounts. You may want to:
- Upgrade your mailbox. If you have a mailbox by the street, it’s one of the first things people see. For $100 to $250, you can add some extra appeal.
- Upgrade your house numbers. People will be looking for them when trying to find your house and looking right at them when they enter.
Walk Around Your House and Try to See It as a Buyer
One of the best ways to improve resale value by increasing your house’s curb appeal is to walk around it and try to see it as a buyer. You may have become blind to the cracks in the walk and the trash cans that are visible from the street. Buyers here in Vancouver expect quality, and they won’t be so forgiving.