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Selling Your Home? Pay Attention To Curb Appeal

An article from the Chronicle Herald by Bob Weinstein

If you’re planning on selling your home, don’t underestimate the power of “curb appeal.” Curb appeal is a term used by Realtors that describes the attractiveness of a house or a piece of property from the sidewalk. It can be likened to the power of first impressions when meeting someone for the first time. Whether rational or irrational, logical or illogical, we form positive or negative impressions based on the power of first impressions. And first impressions are formed within seconds of meeting someone.

I never heard the term “curb appeal” until a neighbour, who’s been frenetically fixing up the exterior of his house, defined it for me. I knew he was selling his home, but I never thought about the importance of landscape — the look, feeling, and ambience of the grounds or land surrounding your home. It doesn’t matter whether you have a tiny gated yard or a couple of acres, it pays to get it in shape if you want your home to command top price, according to Realtors.

A survey of Realtors found that 90 per cent of real estate agents felt a buyer’s first impression of the front entry was important when selling a home, and 82 per cent said buyers declined to look inside a house based on the exterior appearance. And I naively thought that new-home buyers look at bathrooms and kitchens first. Ultra-modern bathrooms and kitchens, with expensive new fixtures, cabinets and lighting, are hot selling points. But so is a house’s exterior.

I obsessively care for my land because I enjoy keeping it healthy and vibrant so that everything from flowers and shrubs to trees and vegetables thrive. While it makes perfect sense going to the trouble to get your home’s exterior looking neat and well-pruned, many sellers overlook or don’t think about the impression the exterior of their homes make. Many potential home buyers are turned off by unmowed lawns, dense patches of weeks or shrubs and trees badly in need of pruning. A professional landscaper can whip a lawn in shape in a couple of hours. But why pay someone to do it when you can do it yourself? You don’t have to be an experienced, DIYer to do the job. All it takes is common sense and basic outdoor lawn equipment.

If you’re contemplating selling your home, consider that every potential buyer is a fanatical gardener, maybe a DIYer as well. That ought to be inspiration enough to get lawns and gardens in order.

Here are a few fast tips to help you get yard and lawn looking incredible.

Prune and cleanup containers

Many homes have a number of outdoor containers in front, sides, and on their decks. They’re a favourite for decorating patios and doorways. Whether you’re growing small trees, shrubs or large tropicals, make sure they’re well pruned (remove dead leaves and branches) and are healthy (regularly watered and fed).

Mow lawn weekly

But don’t cut it too short. To maintain a healthy, great looking lawn, keep grass level at five to nine cm.

Trim hedges

There’s nothing more elegant than perfectly trimmed hedges. You don’t have to be a professional gardener to do a first-rate job. All you need is quality hedge cutters and patience.

The power of colour

Seasonal colour makes the landscape stand out. There are many ways to do it. One way is to cutback overgrown bushes and add leafy plants and colourful perennials.

Install outdoor lighting

There are two ways to do it. The expensive way is to install outdoor lighting. The inexpensive way — and the one I use — is to place inexpensive solar lights in your driveway and a few around your gardens. Not only are they money-savers, but they look fantastic.