I've always said to my clients, who are selling, that we have to getÂ buyers throughÂ the front door.Â To get buyers even to the door, is indeed the real issue. In fact, youÂ have to get buyersÂ out of the car, past the curb, to the front porch and then to the front door. This is why curb appeal is so important. Landscaping, a clean and staged front porch and the condition ofÂ aÂ front door, will always determine a buyer's first impression and first emotional experience. And, the first emotional experience will determine if they even open the car door.
When viewing homes, all buyers have emotional experiences and first impressions determine the start of that emotionalÂ experience.Â If you have your home on the market, put yourself in the buyer's shoes and in their car.Â If the front yard is full of weeds and the front porch is concealed with plant overgrowth, while the frontÂ doorÂ appears weathered, with chipping paint, would you get out of the car or, like most buyers, wouldÂ you say, "Pass."?Â Unless you're an investor, looking for a good flip, a house like I just described, will create a sad and negative emotion, causing you to step on the gas and move on to the next house.
So, how do you "WOW!" that potential buyer andÂ call out that positive, "In love", "This is it!"emotion?Â Â Well,Â if that old saying, "A home is where the heart is", is true, then aimÂ for the heart. Here's how you can do that.
Unless it's winter, when the grass is dry and without color, the lawn is where you want to start. Keeping the lawn trimmed and edgedÂ is extremely important. This may requireÂ getting theÂ mower and edger out,Â two to three times a week. Also,Â a lawn that is green is aÂ pleasurable scene. With this in mind, as soon asÂ the season allows, be sure to fertilize the lawn.Â To maintain a green lawn, if Mother Nature isn't doing her job andÂ if water restrictions allow, be sure to giveÂ the lawn a good watering, two to three times a week. Then, get out the weed killer and getÂ into terminator mode. Weeds are a lawn's worst enemy and if not tended to early on, they will take over a lawn. If you don't have the time for this or have physical limitations that prevent you from doing it yourself, consider paying a lawn service.
LawnÂ careÂ companiesÂ can beÂ very costly,Â especially when used throughout the season.Â Still, there are alternatives.Â Many firemen,Â because of their work schedule,Â have side jobs and offer services, such as lawn care, atÂ very fair price. You will usually fine them advertising on cork boards, in various businesses or in the newspaper.Â If you can't find them there, drop inÂ at the local station.Â Â ThereÂ are alsoÂ teenagers, looking for ways to make some money. If there aren't any interested teens on your block, consider inquiring with the youth pastor of yourÂ localÂ church. Church youth groups areÂ most alwaysÂ working to raise funds for mission trips, camp, etc..Â Teenagers may require some supervision but, with some positive coaching, direction, and redirection, they can do the job and for a lot less than a lawn care company.Â Personally, I prefer the alternatives.Â For one,Â my money is applied to a good cause or with the fireman, I'm giving a business opportunity to express my appreciation.
Trees and Shrubs
Trees and shrubs are greatÂ for enhancing the exterior appearance of a home. If you don't have any, plant some. Without them,Â the landscape of a home is left bare.Â However,Â if notÂ trimmed and kept up with,Â trees and shrubs can turn into yard monsters. Yard monsters areÂ trees, vines, and shrubsÂ thatÂ giveÂ a haunting or scary appearance, like the houses in the television series "TheÂ Adams Family" andÂ "The Munsters". They areÂ dead trees or treesÂ with dead branches or branches that are too close to a roof, threatening to cause damage. They are shrubs that have monster like shapes or thatÂ climbÂ up the brick, hiding a home and appearing as though they are holding it hostage. Vines and Rose bushes, included. When it gets like this, it's time to get out the trimmers, start trimming and set that house free!
Be sure to proceed with caution.Â The last thing you want is to have a limb fall on yours or your neighbor's house, wreaking damage or causing personal injury.Â The task may very well require a bonded and insured tree trimmer.
Flower beds should give a home color and texture. When designing a flowerbed, choose plants that are indigenous.Â A variety of plants, flowers and ground covering,Â when bedded together, will result in a splash of color with varying height and texture. Adding a colored mulch will always complete the look and make any garden stand out. However, keep in mind the maintenance. IfÂ limited in time or haveÂ physical limitations,Â your best bet is to stick with low maintenance greenery or a rock garden with colored mulch andÂ various decorative types of grass. What ever the choice, be sure to keep it trimmed up and free of weeds.
Walkway to the Door
When was the last time you approached your home the same way visitor's do.Â With attached garages, most people enter their homes through the garage door. If this is your case, take the time to walk up to your front door the very way a potential buyer would. Whether the walkway is made of cement, paved stone, etc.., be sure to look for cracks or areas that aren't level.Â Besides the poor cosmetic appearance, a walkway with cracks and protruding cement or stones, can be dangerous and a liability. Again, put yourself in the buyer's shoes. If you were to trip and fall, ending up with an injury, where would you be going? Into the house, toÂ complete the showing, or back to the car, so you can head to the hospital for aid?Â So, not only does it take away from your home's appearance, it also becomes a liability.Â Address the problem, as well as you possibly can and do it right. Potential buyers can always spot when a problem area has been addressed with a simple band-aid.Â And, daily, make sure the walkway is clear of toys, bikes or any lawn equipment, obstructing the way.
Like back yard patios, today,Â front porches are looked at as outdoor living space. If you have the space, stage it appropriately. Just don't over do it.Â A crowded front porch is a huge distraction. Many people love yard art and other decorative outdoor items. Remove your signatureÂ and taste from the house so that it has a better chance of catering to everyone versus a few. Be sure to pick up water hoses and any lawn equipment. Potted plants and hanging baskets are great for staging a front porch. If your have them, be sure to keep them maintained.Â A dead plant = a negative and sad emotion from a potential buyer. It, along with many other things,Â may communicate that the homeowner has just stopped caring. Â
Since the front porch is exposed to the elements, examine everything, such as, theÂ porchÂ posts, rails and door mats.Â Especially examine any seating, such as aÂ porch swing or rocking chair. IfÂ something is weather worn it's betterÂ off removed. In regardÂ to anything hanging,Â make sure it's secured. Anything made of wood, check for wood rot. Again, consider your liability. The most dreaded showing feedback you can get is that that porch swing came loose, with the buyer in it.Â As a Realtor, I can't tell you how often I've seen buyers take advantage of a place to sit and rest, while giving a particular home some serious thought.
The Front Door
So, you've done such a great job with the lawn.Â The trees and shrubs are trimmed, the front porch looks like the ideal place to sit down and relax, with a glass of ice tea in hand. Coming from the buyer's view, in the car, everything looks great! The buyer gets out of the car and slowly walks up to the house, admiring the manicured lawn and flowerbeds. Then, they get to the door.Â You got them thisÂ far. Now, what does the frontÂ door say to them?Â Does it say, "Welcome and please come in."?Â Better yet, will they be able to get in?Â
As I said earlier, most people enter their home through the garage and because of this, they have no idea how well the key and locks are working.Â A door knob that hardly gets used can at times refuse to cooperate with the key.Â Before you hand over the keys to your listing agent, test your key and door hardware. If it's a hassle to work with, try spraying some WD-40, into the key hole.Â If this doesn't work, replace the hardware.Â As a Realtor, a lock that does not work can be very frustrating. In fact, I've been in situations in which I couldn't get it to work at all, and sadly had to turn to my buyers and say, "Sorry, we can't get in."
While taking the time to address theÂ front doorÂ hardware, take a look at the door. Is it calling out for a new look? Or, is it hurting because it's chipping away?Â You may be able to get by with a new coat of paint. If the door is outdated, consider replacing it. Every front door makes a statement. A statement of pride and prestige, or aÂ statement that says, "better days have come and gone."Â What does your front door say?
Perhaps a new coat of paint will do the trick. When choosing a paint color, choose a color that will pop and stand out and at the same time blend and mesh with the brick or the trim on the house.
If a new coat of paint isn't going to cut it and you choose to replace the front door, take a picture of your home (front elevation)Â and an additional photo of the exterior side of the door, making sure you zoom in onÂ the location of theÂ door knob.Â When you go to make the purchase, take the photos with you. You will find them to be veryÂ helpful when deciding on what style of door to purchase.Â The photos will also helpÂ determine if replacing the doorÂ will require a left hand or right hand door. Determining if a door is left hand or right hand, can be confusing. Instead of trying to make the decision on your own, leave out theÂ guess work and show the photo to an associate at Lowes or Home Depot.
Now, after having read all the above, you're probably thinking, "This requires too much money."Â That couldn't be further from the truth. If you take the time and money to make these improvements and if your asking price is in line with the neighborhood and theÂ interior of the home is up to par, you can expectÂ showingsÂ to increase.Â In fact, your chances of getting your asking price are greater. Failure to make improvements can result in getting no offers and the longer you stay in your holding period, the more house payments you will haveÂ made and the prorated amount of property tax gets higher ,every day you fail to get a buyer.Â Just asÂ well, homes that appear distressed on the outside tend to attract offers from investors or very low offers from potential buyers.
Do you want a "This is it!", reaction?Â Then remember, a home is where the heart is.Â Aim for the heart.
REPRO TEAM..The real estate professionals you can rely on. I guarantee it!
Keller Williams Realty
2951 Ridge RD
Rockwall, Texas 75032
Office: (972) 772-7000
Cell: (469) 628-5458