Curb Appeal: How to be the Prettiest (Home) at the Party
Posted on March 19, 2017
It was a 1940s New England Cape Cod home—two-story, wood-framed, gabled windows. Nestled in a classic 1950s suburban neighborhood, part of its appeal was the setting.
Unlike today’s cookie-cutter suburban settings, the homes in this neighborhood had big lots and multiple home styles. Additionally, located close-in, in SW Portland, the commute to downtown or south to the Lake Oswego/Krus Way area was easy.
When we drove up to the property, the house looked abandoned and sad, including the tired old pick up truck that sat in the driveway.
The overgrown landscape made it difficult to see the house. And because the property was adjacent to a large natural park, deer were actually bedding in the front yard!
Piles of trash blocked the front door, and one of the large living room windows was completely covered by a shrub.
The house was a fixer-upper that had not been fixed up in a long, long time. Although the owner wanted a quick sale—property taxes were due soon—we had our doubts.
The owner was grieving—she had lost all three of her core family members in the last five years—and did not have the emotional, physical or financial wherewithal to get the home for ready for sale.
So we made a deal with her: if she would increase our commission by a small amount, we would get the house ready for sale.
She agreed, we did, and within the first week on the market, we had 10 offers on the house.
Getting a house ready for sale is a lot like dressing for a party to attract suitors. You want to be sure you’re showing off your most attractive features.
Eight Secrets of Good Curb Appeal
No. 1: Showcase the front door.
Your front door is like your smile. It attracts or deters suitors immediately. Any investment you make on it returns high ROI.
To that end, make potential buyers notice your front door. Move any plants away from it. Cut down any shrubs that hide it. Clean it, or better yet, paint it a color that matches your home.
Also, change out any door fixtures, including the knob, so that all the fixtures beam.
No. 2: Invest in a new doormat.
You wouldn’t wear an old pair of shoes to a party, would you? The same holds true for your doormat.
A new doormat, especially one larger than the door, creates an air of expansiveness and luxury. It also frames and balances the door, and further invites a buyer in.
No. 3: Hide the trash.
Airing “dirty laundry” is rarely part of party preparations. The same is true for your home.
Move any trashcans and recycle bins away from the front of the house and out of view. This way, when a buyer walks up to your house, he/she sees, first, the picture-perfect property, and then the house.
No. 4. Clean the windows.
As the bard once said, the eyes are the windows of the soul. And so, too, the windows of a home suggest what lies beyond, in a home’s interior.
So clean them, inside and out, until they shine.
No. 5. De-moss your roof.
In Portland, moss is a way of life. And while it may look cozy and rustic on your roof, it actually shortens your roof’s life span, according to Bob Villa, home improvement guru.
A roof covered in moss also fails to show a potential buyer the condition of your home’s crowning glory and may beg the questions, “What is the seller hiding?”
You can try your hand at de-mossing yourself—see Villa’s suggestions—or hire a professional, using one of our trusted contractors.
No. 6: Dress your home up with “jewelry.”
Like a gold necklace that attracts others’ attention, updated exterior light fixtures can signal class and current fashion.
Spend the $200 it may require to replace exterior light fixtures as old as your home with new, more updated ones. When you do, you’ll see the transformation.
No. 7: Make your house numbers visible.
If buyers can’t find you, they can’t do business with you. That said, make your house numbers visible so your home is easy to spot.
Home buying is emotional enough without this added frustration.
No. 8: A little power washing goes a long way.
There’s nothing like a facial or a body scrub to make you feel attractive before a party. Try the same tactic with your home.
Power-wash the exterior of your home, enough to clean it but not to remove the paint.
Also, power-wash the driveway and sidewalk to showcase them and insure buyers don’t slip on the Portland-predictable moss that accumulates.
Stay tuned for Part 2, Interior Appeal: Not Just Another Pretty Face.
To protect our clients’ privacy, anecdotes shared are based on true stories; however, names and specifics have been changed and/or combined into composites.