Got curb appeal?

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You only have one chance to make a first impression when you meet someone. First impressions are also important for people selling houses, except that it is called curb appeal. What is curb appeal? It considers how your home looks to a buyer right as they pull up to the curb. It includes your front yard, driveway and everything on your home’s exterior from its paint job to the potted plants on your patio to even the welcome mat that greets people as they pass through your front door.

Creating curb appeal is both an art and a science, and since it’s a buyer’s first impression of your home, it can be absolutely essential in selling your home.

It’s one area where every bit of work that you do can pay off, if you are looking to get top dollar for your home. I mean it. Good landscaping design and appeal could add 20 percent to your home’s value. Ask any renovation expert. Landscaping returns rival, and sometimes surpass, the returns on a new kitchen or bath.

Supercharging your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to cost an outrageous amount of money. You’d be surprised by how inexpensive improving your home’s front exterior can be, if you’re willing to do a little work yourself or maybe a lot of work.

Here are some suggestions.

First, clean everything. Washing the windows is a given, but before you do that, think about giving your house a good power wash to remove the dirt and grime that may have accumulated over the years. This step could save you the expense of repainting your entire home.

Next, go for the touch-up changes. Once your house is shiny and clean, you may find that the entire house doesn’t need repainting, perhaps instead just paint the trim and the front door. While you’re at it, consider brightening the facade with a touch of contrasting color. You’ll be surprised by how a little pop of color can really freshen up the place.

Do consider the mailbox. If your mailbox is on the street, there’s a good chance it’s been a bit beaten up. In fact, it could look like you’ve just stopped paying attention. Paint it, polish it or replace it. You’ll be glad you did.

Repair or clean off the roof. If some of the shingles have come loose or if there’s visible damage to your roof, you absolutely must fix that issue. Hire a roof specialist to see just how much work is needed, and get it done. If your roof is relatively new and in good shape, at least clean off any pine needles, leaves or other detritus that might have accumulated there. Buyers are justifiably picky about the condition of the roof.

Tame the foliage. This grooming involves not only cutting the grass but also clearing out any dead limbs, plants and other unwanted foliage that might be hanging around. In addition, get rid of any tree branches or bushes that may make your yard look crowded and dark and trim all hedges so that they look neat. Finally, plant some colorful flowers. It is best to do any planting a couple of weeks before the house goes on the market, so they’ve had the chance to grow in a bit and won’t look too contrived.

Also, check the light fixtures. A small investment in a new front porch light can work wonders, but you’ll also want to pay attention to the condition of any other light fixtures in front, like those that may be on either side of the garage or the street light in your front yard. Yes, potential buyers will probably make their first visit during the day, but attractive light fixtures can really add to the appeal of a home even if the lights aren’t on.

Pay attention to landscaping trends. Possibly the hottest trend in landscape architecture, particularly with our temperate climate here in Southern California, is the outdoor room or terrace extension. We see a lot of homes with an adjacent outside terrace that marries the inside with the outside. This shift brings outdoor views into the house using fountains, trees or shrubs. Using building materials that complement the inside helps the spaces read fluently from one to the other.

The interest in landscaping and property enhancement is a natural extension of the boom in home renovation and improvement. Homeowners are paying more attention to the link between indoors and outdoors.

Lastly, beware of landscaping pitfalls. Perhaps the biggest mistake homeowners make is taking a piecemeal approach to landscaping. Homeowners begin projects, start to clear areas, put in a mix of plants and proceed without a plan. The result is a hodgepodge of plantings and gardens that give the property a disorganized feel. Following a prepared plan by a professional landscape design will provide a polished look, which will lead you to a beautiful property with great curb appeal while remaining within a pre-established budget.

Call us at (951) 296-8887 and get educated. For questions regarding available inventory and or other real estate matters please contact, [email protected] Mike Mason, Broker/Owner of MASON Real Estate Cal. BRE: 01483044, Board of Director of your Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® (SRCAR).

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