Concentrate on Curb Appeal
How important is curb appeal when selling a home? Think of it this way: Landscaping is your home’s hairstyle and you don’t want your split ends to show.
“If you’re going on a date, you’re going to wash your hair first,” says Phyllis Harb, a Los Angeles super agent who’s sold more than 1,000 homes in the Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena area. “Most people look at photos online first and drive by if they’re excited. We want them to be excited.”
And curb appeal helps them stay that way. “When the realtor is at your front door struggling with the lock box, what are your buyers doing?” Harb says. “They’re looking at the landscaping. No matter how things look inside, that first two-minute impression sets the tone.”
A little love in the front yard goes a long way: According to Harb, a small amount of money up front can bump up the bottom line. “”Every market is different, but I recently listed a house where a $1,500 investment in curb appeal could get the sellers another $15,000.”
Here are a few ways to help buyers see the forest for the trees:
Massive cutbacks – Get out the clippers and go to town. “Everything should be cut back so you can see the house,” Harb says.
Hue’s your daddy? – Let colorful flowers and plants guide buyers to the good stuff. “Think about where you want the eye to be drawn,” Harb says. “Maybe you have a beautiful bay window out front. Put a pop of color under that.”
Put it away – Don’t decorate your yard with things that belong in the garage. “You don’t want a hose on the lawn,” Harb says. “Put the trash cans back where they go.”
Look around – Even if your lawn looks great, a problem could be right around the corner. “Buyers aren’t just looking at your house; they’re looking next door and across the street,” Harb says. “I’ve had clients whose neighbor’s lawn was overgrown, so they offered to pay for a gardener.”
Give yourself time to improve the area before listing the house, but don't do so much that it looks high maintenance. “Landscaping shouldn’t be overwhelming, it should enhance the home,” Harb says. “We don’t want buyers to say, ‘That’s the most gorgeous bougainvillea I’ve ever seen.' We’re selling the home, not the landscape.”