Here is something real estate agents encounter all of the time. When driving our clients to see a property, we will often pull up and the buyers will take one look at the outside of a home and tell us to keep moving. If a buyer doesn’t like what they see on the outside, it’s often very difficult to get them to see the inside. The biggest remark we hear is, “If I don’t like the outside, I’m not going to like the inside.”
What do buyers see when they don’t like the outside of a home? They see dollar signs. The very first thing you DON’T want them to think about is their first impression. Needless to say, when this happens, we aren’t off to a very good start. Here are some of the things buyers have a problem with:
1. Cluttered Driveway. This often tells a buyer that the house isn’t big enough to store everything. This may or may not be true, but before you put your home on the market, make sure your cars can fit in your garage.
2. Bad Neighbours: This is always unfortunate, because what can you do about neighbours who have a messy yard, overgrown weeks, tacky landscaping or a home that has seen better days. Unfortunately, neighbourhoods are often judged by these eyesore residents. It is always worth a try to politely ask them for their support while you are trying to sell your home. Even if you offer to help them mow their yard or pay for a one-time yard service, it could be worth it in the long run.
3. Yard Ornaments: Okay, you may think having several yard decorations is cute, but there is a good chance, potential buyers won’t. Because this is such a highly personal choice, it’s best to box up anything, including toys, and make your home blend in with the rest of your neighbours. Also, if you are using gravel or stone as opposed to mulch like everyone else in your block, consider doing the same as well. Being unique is often regarded as an eyesore.
4. DOA Plants: Even though it’s fall, anyone can tell when a plant is dead. Remove and spruce up your yard by raking up leaves and anything else that has seen better days. Plant some seasonal flowers near the entry to make a welcoming appearance. Whatever you do, never plant artificial flowers in baskets or from window boxes. Most buyers can spot them a mile away and they look tacky.
5. Upkeep: There is no doubt that your English garden is remarkable and the pride of the neighbourhood. But what some buyers see is major upkeep. While gardening may be your hobby, there is a chance you won’t find a buyer who is as passionate about gardening as you are. Have a conversation with your real estate agent and see how you can make your lovely garden appear low-maintenance.
6. Bold Paint: It’s time for a fresh coat of paint if you have a home in a bright or too extreme color, like purple, bright yellow or pink. Certainly adding touches of color is good so your home has some personality, but when trying to sell your property, opt for neutral colors, such as white, beige, gray or black. Consider a spark of red on the front door, or maybe a dark blue for the shutters on a white house.
7. Eyesores: It’s important that your front entry way look well-kept and cared for. For example, have the walkway swept, the shutters repainted and repaired if they are rotted, the front door looking fresh and clean, with new updated hardware if needed. Brush away the cobwebs, replace the light bulbs in your light fixtures and get rid of anything that is mismatched or dilapidated. While it might take some elbow grease, the costs are usually minimal. Again, you would be surprised what buyers notice.
Do buyers expect perfection? Many do. But again, the key is to get them inside your property. First impressions are absolutely everything. According to the National Association of Realtors in the United States, home over 63 percent of homebuyers will drive by a home they like online. So will your home add up? Will you give them a reason to make an appointment to view the rest of the property?
So when putting your home up for sale, make sure you get buyers in the front door by taking some good photos of the outside of your home. Find the best time of day to shoot the pictures. Overcast days are often the best days as too much sunlight can make a house look like it’s glowing. Make sure you get rid of all the clutter in your front yard. Once you take a digital picture, examine it through the eyes of a buyer. Be critical. Walk around the entire home’s exterior and have a notepad and pen handy. Take notes about what needs to be repaired. If you have problems seeing anything wrong, walk around with your Windsor real estate agent. Chances are, they will notice problems you might not have seen, like a missing shingle on the roof or a ball stuck in the gutter.