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Can I get by with limited curb appeal?

If the inside of my home is a show-stopper, can I get by with mediocre curb appeal?

I recently received an email from a Prairie Village resident asking about the value of landscaping and how it impacts the value of a home. Because I have never written specifically about curb appeal, I thought it was time to do so. Thank you for the question!

There is a reason that 70 percent of the home projects that yield the highest return on investment (ROI) are exterior projects. The reason is that curb appeal matters. And it matters a lot. Just think, which picture is usually the first image that you see of a home on line? The answer: a shot of the front of the home. Therefore, the curb appeal of a property represents the first impression that it will make on the open market.

Let’s pretend that you are new to the dating scene and you hit the local club on a Friday night. Let’s also say that you have a heart of gold, a great job, and the best of intentions for all you come into contact with. But walking in the club you realize that you are wearing your acid washed jeans from the late 80’s (tight-rolled at the bottom, nonetheless), a Panama Jack shirt, and your fluorescent Converse high tops folded over with iridescent yellow laces. Odds are that you will leave the club alone. Not because you are a bad person, but because you did not take the time to present yourself properly to the “open market.” I have often said that this market is a “price war” and a “beauty contest.” If you want to be the winner of the beauty contest and snag a buyer today, you have to have strong curb appeal.

So what is strong curb appeal? Here are just a few examples:

-Well maintained driveway and walkways

-Healthy lawn and landscaping

-Exterior paint/siding in good condition

-Seasonal color- mums for example right now are really beautiful

-Properly trimmed trees

-Update light fixtures, mail box, and address numbers

-Easy to operate front door and lock (this one is easily over looked)

When it comes to landscaping, I would suggest that if you are considering a move at some point in the future, don’t make the design too personal. By personal, I mean appealing mainly to you and not the general public. Also, keep it low maintenance. A green thumb is a great talent that is not possessed by every buyer out there. Most buyers appreciate a landscape design that shows forethought and intention coupled with lesser maintenance. If you do have an intricate design of plantings, a sprinkler system would be a brilliant idea. Just as you may hate to walk around your yard with a watering can or hose, so thinks your buyer perhaps.

Remember, 70 percent of the highest yielding home projects are exterior projects. Subsequently, they can be some of the lesser expensive projects when compared to a kitchen remodel or a master bathroom remodel. Therefore, focus some of your budget outside first then work your way inside.

When in doubt, it is always a good idea to consult your local real estate expert. I consult with clients about home improvement projects all of the time and am happy to do so.

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