It’s What is on the Outside that Counts

by Lara Webb-Barrett | Mar 15, 2006
It’s What is on the Outside that Counts …From the pages of Suburban Home and Garden…

So, you want to sell your house. When selling your house, you have to remember that there are other important jobs during the process. Not just that of the real estate agent. Namely, you need to start your own marketing campaign long before the agent stakes her sign in your lawn. And, just like any marketing manager of a product, you need to make sure that you have packaged your product (your house) in the most optimum way, allowing for more people to see it, and for more people to be caught at first glance.

When you think of it, it’s hard to deny that selling your house is a little like marketing a piece of your life. It takes the same amount of packaging and placement that advertising and marketing executives get into before a certain product goes out to the consumers. Their main concerns are usually: How do we get the outside (packaging) to impact those who see it enough to want to buy it? How do we make a lasting first impression? And, how do we at least make an interested party take a second look at what’s being offered? The outside of your house is the first place that a person may or may not become interested. It is the first thing a buyer sees, and it is the last thing they see when they drive away. Do you want those impressions to fade within seconds - or worse yet -do you want to have an interested buyer leave with only a bad impression? If you don’t think your landscaping and exterior of your home is not all that important, and that it’s what you only do to the inside that counts, you are sorely mistaken.

Pat Dooling of Dooling and Company says, “Curb appeal is judging a book by its cover. The buyers only have seconds to mentally decide yes or no. If you grab them there at the front door, you have a chance of getting them through the whole house. If you get them in your door, your chances of getting an offer obviously increase.”

And, when you really think about the cost of updating and organizing your home’s exterior versus your house staying on the market many months and possibly lowering your asking price to appease an unenthusiastic buyer, it’s a no-brainer. It’s exponentially more cost effective to clean up the outside of your house, versus losing a potential buyer. “How much does paint cost? How much is it to put some mulch down? How much does it cost to clean off your porch? A freshly mulched garden is eye-catching,” says Dooling. “We had a homeowner clean off the porch of debris, add some paint and put out a vase with some winter flowers before we showed it. It was so much more inviting. It sold in eleven days,” says Dooling.

Everything from unkempt shrubbery, kids toys and bikes lying all over your front yard, paint chipping on your columns and woodwork or front door, broken doorbells, flowers that are dying and dog feces or yellow spots on the lawn can make a big difference to someone who is walking onto your property to the first time.

Unfortunately, when a seller becomes comfortable in their living situation, things that used to be at the forefront of his or her mind regarding repairing and updating suddenly are not a priority. It is usually a case of the seller becoming very accustomed to his surroundings, desensitizing him from what he used to consider poor qualities about the home. However, remember that the buyer is seeing your property for the first time, his eye is much more critical. Buyers are much more attentive and perceptive to what’s going on in your yard. Unfortunately, they are more observant, and will usually remember the bad points.

“The view from the street is very important. You want a potential buyer to be interested enough to want to see the rest of your house,” says Pat Santoro of Remax Affiliates. “Do the things that will help your sale. Make landscaping improvements; be sure the front door is clean and in good repair. Is the mailbox in good shape? Does it help to complement the property? Does the driveway need any repairs? What about the pavements–do they present tripping hazards? These are just a few suggestions to get your home sale off on the right track! Don’t forget you only get one chance to make a first impression,” she says.

When all is said and done, it’s your responsibility to package and present your home like you are marketing a new product line for the masses. Don’t assume that the buyers can see the potential if you don’t do a good job at showing off your home’s most beautiful side. So, once you hire yourself a realtor to work for you, it’s your turn to get to work. Make the exterior the talk of the neighborhood. Make the yard a welcome mat for all buyers, and make your home sell faster than you can imagine!

Find Out More

Pat Santoro
Remax Affiliates

Dooling & Company

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Home and Garden, March 2006.
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Author: Lara Webb-Barrett


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