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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Curb Appeal for Dummies

 Avondale Porch 
I always enjoy styling and staging houses in our intracoastal neighborhood. One of the problems I run into frequently is overgrown shrubs and outdated plant selections. Newer varieties perform better and don't take over the visual space that we call Curb Appeal.
When these homes were planned many years ago, a certain budget was required by our POA for landscaping. The builder had to supply an abundant selection of prime plant material. Now, twenty-something years later, those plants have taken over the lawn.
One of my clients who could not sell her house called and asked my opinion. The interior of the home was absolutely gorgeous. That was not the problem. I asked her to walk outside and look at the house from across the street.
"Now describe what do you see?" I asked as she turned around. "I see what you mean. The curb appeal and front of the house doesn't begin to tell the story of the beautiful space beyond the front door. In fact, there were times people made an appointment and didn't get out of the car."
 Curb Appeal Orl.
Riverside Historic District

The old overgrown azaleas and junipers dominated most of the front yard and covered the quaint front porch. I recommended that she pull them out completely and plant low-growing plants next to the foundation. Then sod the space where the large plants had been. This added some extra real estate. After the changes were made, the home sold overnight.
Curb Appeal isn't just an after thought. It's the pretty face that gets the date to the prom! Who cares that you spent a fortune for the dress and shoes.
Since 95% of home buyers look online before deciding which homes to tour, the first picture, the front of the house, may be the most important one.
I bumped into one of my Queens Harbour staging clients awhile back and she said the house had not sold after a long time on the market. I was shocked since our average DOM - Days on the Market - is about 2 to 3 weeks.
She remarked that the online stats revealed that 1500 people were looking at the first picture, the front of the house, but only 500 opted to look inside. The interior was beautiful and updated.
After reviewing the online link, I realized what caused the problem. The hedge around the house had obscured the photographer's view so he walked up the driveway to get the whole house into the picture.
It appeared like the property was tiny when in fact, it was huge. An aerial photo fixed the problem and the house sold right away.
How can you judge your property for Curb Appeal? Look at it through the lens of a camera from across the street. This is a powerful tip to objectively view your most important picture.

HGTV 8             HGTV Smart House in Jacksonville Beach
Obviously, a manicured lawn, fresh mulch and annuals go a long way to freshen things up. One of our "tricks of the trade" is too use Design Master acrylic floral spray in green to camouflage a brown spot on the lawn. Sometimes the shutters or front door need a coat of fresh paint or a color change. And obviously, everything must be immaculate.

The decorators of the HGTV Smart House added 2 comfy chairs and a tray table with iced tea glasses and a pitcher. We call that Life Style staging.
So, put on a pretty face to get that date to the prom. All of your efforts will pay off in getting that property sold in record time for more money.