Real estate is all too often reduced to numbers, estimates and dollar signs. When we list a house, the most critical feature tends to be the price. When we compare the home to others, we try and find reasonable comparables and estimate value accordingly. We overly focus on analytics.
You may be surprised to know, though, that real estate involves a lot of feeling.
Some of the most reasonably priced homes still don’t sell. Owners become flustered when this happens, and buyers can’t often pinpoint why they don’t like such a home. It’s discouraging not to have good feedback! Well, it’s challenging, if not impossible, to quantify feelings.
A prime example where feeling matters in the real estate process concerns curb appeal! Curb appeal is difficult to quantify, but very important nonetheless. This is especially true in the Okanagan! Folks move here for the lifestyle, and their home is an extension of that lifestyle. In this blog, I’ll detail why curb appeal matters to today’s buyers and give you two general areas to focus on to improve curb appeal.
Here we go!
First Impressions & The Power Of Feeling
Every buyer will view the same house differently, including the first impression upon driving up to the property. Buyers will use this initial feeling as an example of what they feel if they owned the property. They might ask the following questions, either consciously or subconsciously:
Would I take pride in owning this home?
If this were my property, what would my guests think of it when they come over to visit?
How much work will it take to make this property uniquely mine?
Does the owner take pride in this property, judging from my first impression?
As you can see, buyers can be judgemental both of themselves and your property. And they have a right to be! They’re forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, to assume ownership of it. Sellers are wise to concern themselves with such questions. Sure, you’re not going to be able to cater to every buyer’s unique needs, wants and preferences. And there’s no such thing as the perfect curb appeal.
However, you can put yourself in the shoes of the buyer most likely to purchase your home. This is a great place to start!
Upon identifying such buyers, map out their most likely preferences and work from there. The front of your property does not need to be fancy and upscale; it just needs to suit the tastes of those most likely to purchase it. Gaining such insight is crucial to improving your home’s curb appeal when it comes time to sell (or anytime, for that matter!)
Your home’s exterior is the first place to start when deciding to improve curb appeal. Buyers will usually look at the following exterior features during their first impression:
Windows and window trim
General home type/shape
Pay attention to these features and the type of impression they can give to buyers; it matters! Of course, a complete replacement of all the components above can be expensive, so you need to weigh the cost, benefit and importance for each. It’s also true that some of these are merely cosmetic features, some are structural, and some are both!
Pro Tip: Do a drive-up of your home with a friend you can trust to give you impartial advice. Upon driving up to the house, with a pen and pad ready, make a list of the things your friend notices first when it comes to your home’s curb appeal (good and bad).
Remember, there’s no such thing as perfect curb appeal. But you do have the control to use someone impartial to help you along this journey. Consider your advisor’s views, and balance them with your own and your financial obligations for each. Keep it simple, and work outwards from there!
Now to the less intimidating aspect of curb appeal, landscaping!
Landscaping can be tricky because it tends to be one of the more subjective features of any given property. However, there are some considerations to ponder when taking a good look at your front yard. Keep in mind, these all depend on the type of buyer you’re trying to attract.
If your front yard is merely a “blank slate,” meaning it has few to no definable landscaping features, ask yourself if adding attractive features will be a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is an investor, this is likely the best option!
If your front yard has intricate networks of flowers, plants and grasses, ask yourself if simplifying it would be a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is a busy working family with limited time to spare, such investment may pay off!
If your front yard is dominated by lush lawn, ask yourself if keeping the grass in perfect condition is a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is a young family with kids, such investment may be well worth it!
Tailor your front yard landscape to your most likely buyer. In any case, avoid quirky decor pieces and other unnecessary features to capture the broadest base of positive attention.
Improving curb appeal requires you to tap into feeling, which is no easy task. It begins with an understanding of your most likely buyer and the courage to make the needed changes when possible. Then, think about how these people might feel upon discovering your property. Think about how they feel and what they value.
In doing so, you avoid chasing unattainable perfection and work towards an effective, inviting curb appeal for your home!
If you ever need help with your home’s curb appeal, I’m here to help! I help a wide range of buyers and sellers, getting a feel for the preferences of each. I’m more than happy to help guide you in these decisions to help give you an advantage over your selling competition.