One of the questions that came in last week was from a rehabber finishing up a job he was going to flip, and was just about to put it on the market. He took a picture of it, and sent to me, asking me to give him a few pointers on what he could do to spruce up the outside of the property, to make it more appealing to buyers. His question spurred me to write it down for this topic.
1. Do NOT let your landscaping grow too long, even for one day.
Nothing says “No one cares about me” like an unkempt lawn. Potential buyers drive by your property every day. If they happen to see a lawn start to grow a bit higher than the other houses on the street, the emotional part of their brain (the one that actually makes their buying decisions) immediately turns off, and so goes the potential sale. After the initial cleanup my landscaper does, I always have the lawns cut at least once every week and a half, if not once a week.
2. Do NOT ignore your gutters & roof.
You have beautiful doors, new siding, new cement steps with beautiful wrought-iron handrails, and an excellent landscaping job. You stand back to admire your work… and realize there are rust stains all over the gutters. I want you to notice how all your attention turns away from the beauty of the house, to the ugliness of even those 4 rust spots on the gutters. Take care of them! The same goes for any fishing of roof shingles. If you notice shingles coming off or loose upon purchasing the house, it’s probably a good idea to figure in a whole new roof, in your purchase price.
3. Do NOT overdo it.
It’s not always necessary to tear out every tree & shrub surrounding the property, or to replace all the siding, doors & windows to give the house a new, fresh look. You want the buyers to pull up and say, “Wow. This looks better than the others I’ve seen in this price range.”
THAT’S the key… to be the nicest looking house (inside AND out), at the lowest price in that area.
Some tips on what you CAN do:
1. Start by looking at all the other houses on that street. Do they all have vinyl siding? Do they have roofs newer than yours? DO they have white picket fences outlining their front yards, or shrubs, or nothing? The chances are good the buyers will also see your house compared with others on the street, and they will want to see at least similar features… your goal is to be the best & brightest.
2. Repaint the exterior a bright, neutral color (here is where you can look to the other houses in the neighborhood). If it’s vinyl sided and is not in need of repair / replacement, power wash it. You’d be amazed how much brighter a house can look once it’s been power washed. And – if it has a detached garage – remember the garage door!
3. Add fresh mulch: If there are shrubs or plants around the entryway or the street, a good way to make them stand out is to add fresh mulch around the plants. This also makes your green lawn stand out better, in the high “pride of ownership” areas.
4. Add a new mailbox. Sometimes, it IS that simple a change to make the front of a house look good. If it’s a high end house, I like to use the granite columns with black mailboxes. If a lower end house, a nice wood post with a black mailbox will do. If theres no lawn, then it’s more important than ever to add a nice “high-end” look to a mailbox you’ll bolt to the side of the door.
5. Give it a “Wow” factor. Many times, it’s as simple as going with a really nice front door from Home Depot. Make it the next model up from what everyone else on the street has. Sometimes, it’s installing a containment wall with nice stone or brick, which makes it so the buyers do not see an ugly dirt hill as they approach your property. Repainting the shutters, or even adding a small hose-powered fountain are other small ideas that will give them a nice feeling as they approach.
Hope these tips were helpful to some of you rehabbers out there (and some of you wholesalers, too)! Keep those deals going, and as always,