If you are in the real estate business or if you are buying or selling a home, you know exactly what “curb appeal” is. If you are not any of the aforementioned type of folks, the expression is self-explanatory.
When you drive through your neighborhood, some properties are adorned with shrubbery, trees, plants, flowers, hedges, chain link fences, white PVC fences, American flags, gnomes, all year round wreaths on the door, pavers, brick or stone walls. As real estate professionals, we advise our clients, when listing their property, what should be looked at by a “different set of eyes” inside and outside of their homes.
One of the first things I do after the contract signing is ask the client if they have any questions or concerns about what will occur in the listing process. Usually, they question how showings will be handled and who will do them. The Board of Realtors employ a Showing company that will phone, text and/or e-mail both the client and salesperson with any request for showing from another salesperson. If the client is or is not available, they merely respond by any of those three methods. Quite simple! If the client wants to share a key and show when they are not available, the listing agent then responds to the Showing company of his availability.
The second step is photographing the entire home. The more photos that are taken, the better. After you take the photo tour, it is prudent to show your homeowner what the photos look like. Usually, the homeowner is very proud of his property and cannot wait until the public is able to view their beautiful home. At this juncture, you are the “different set of eyes”. Clutter is an issue, especially on kitchen counters, bathroom sinks, bedroom dressers, floors, closets, coffee tables, dining room tables. Clutter must be kept to a minimum if a customer is to see the beauty of your client’s home. I like to see on the photo section of each listing everything, from the storage space in the attic (height and width, floored, insulated), to the basement, finished or unfinished, the furnace (what type), the hot water heater, the amount of space that prospective “savers” may need, windows, second means of egress. The photos should be captioned below so customers and agents will not have to guess what rooms the photos depict.
The third step, which I consider to be the most important, is to have the client accompany me to the outside of the house as I take pictures. At that juncture, I note issues that may hinder the curb appeal. A landscaper may be hired to take care of the lawn and shrubbery and flower beds, or the client may take care of same himself. It cannot hurt if a splash of colorful potted plants adorn the garden or the steps leading to the front door. There are landscape architects and consultants who will critique your outside property and suggest ways to improve the curb appeal. Whatever steps are taken, the grounds should be kept clean and tidy.
I have met customers and clients who have driven up to homes and said, “I will not even consider this house. I hate how it looks.” It is true that everyone has their own taste and you cannot make everyone happy. As real estate professionals, it is our job to assist both our clients and customers in finding the perfect place to live. If prospects will not get out of the car, we are not doing our job. The last thing I say to my client is the following: “You are my boss. I will tell you what steps I take to list your home, how I will market it, how your home will be shown. If you have any questions, please ask them, no matter how silly or serious you may think they are. If you want to make a suggestion, please do so. If I am doing something that you are not comfortable with or do not agree with, please tell me.” The worst thing to hear when you take a new listing that has expired or has been listed by many brokers before you is that the salesperson never communicated with them.
Have you looked at your home with a “different set of eyes” lately? Do you have “clutter” inside or outside your home? Is your front lawn or garden up to snuff or in need of an overhaul?
Let me know what you think. E-mail me at email@example.com or call me at 646-258-9696.
Associate Real Estate Broker
646-258-9696 – cell