Thursday, May 24, 2007

Improving your home’s curb appeal

What is the charm factor of my house? When it comes time to sell, most homeowners’ concerns turn to “curb appeal.” A new welcome mat just isn’t enough anymore. Competition among sellers is fierce so the goal is to make your home so attractive from the roadway that all who pass will want to see the inside.
I suggest that my clients perform this curb appeal test. On your way home, stop the car in the roadway and try to see your home with an objective eye. Ask yourself these questions:
1. What is the first impression of my house and the property? Does it look cluttered or too bare?
2. What is the best exterior attribute of the house or the lot? How can I enhance that?
3. What is the most unflattering feature of the home or lot? What can be done to fix it, remove it, remodel it, add to it or hide it?
Then park the car where a potential buyer would and walk towards the house noticing if the approach is clean and tidy or what improvements are needed.
Don’t forget about evening curb appeal too. One quick way to improve nighttime curb appeal is with lighting. Pathway lighting along sidewalks or the driveway can make a dramatic difference, as well as replacing front porch and garage lights with updated fixtures.
To grow your home’s curb appeal I suggest giving your front door a little attention. The door can be repainted (along with matching shutters), replaced with a new and more attractive door or perhaps the addition of a quality storm door is the perfect finishing touch. Then top off the transformation with a welcoming seasonal wreath.
Be sure to get rid of all mold or mildew on the house and roof, find a hidden place for all gardening items and tools, rake and dispose of fallen leaves, clean windows and gutters, and trim tree limbs that hang near or touch the roof.
Many sellers turn to landscaping when an outdoor spruce-up is needed. Be careful not to overwhelm the property and the potential buyers with obscure, high-maintenance plants. Predicting the weather, especially in St. Charles, is an inexact science so be careful not to lose money and plants to an unexpected cold snap. Colorful hanging flower pots spaced evenly along the front porch can add life to a white house. If you have always considered adding a water feature or an architectural element to the garden go ahead and do it. These projects can be inexpensive and enjoyable for the do-it-yourselfer and will at the very least make the house stand out among other homes. “I’d like to go back and see the house with the waterfall.”
Other easy projects that are sure to raise your home’s charm factor are to replace the beat-up mailbox with a brightly colored or ornamental iron mailbox, install awnings, paint and stencil a wooden porch floor, add ceiling fans to a roomy front porch, or simply add a flag stand to display “Old Glory.”

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