Curb appeal – or the attractiveness of a property from the exterior – is one of the most overlooked opportunities for homeowners to increase their chances of a good sale. This, according to Schalk van der Merwe, franchisee for the Rawson Properties Helderberg group.
“Homeowners almost always focus on interiors before a sale,” he says, “often putting a lot of money into sprucing things up and even undertaking minor renovations. That can be a good thing, but I always urge sellers not to get too caught up in the details that they forget to see the bigger picture – like the outside of their homes.”
According to Van der Merwe, a home’s exterior can either be a secret weapon or an active deterrent to potential buyers. After all, it’s the very first thing buyers see, whether driving past on a show day or browsing online listings at home.
“We’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover, but that’s easier said than done, and most buyers form some kind of an impression of a home before they walk in the door,” says Van der Merwe. “If that impression is a good one, the rest of the home is more likely to be viewed in a positive light. We see that all the time inside security estates where curb appeal is enforced by scheme rules.”
If first impressions are less than optimal, however, Van der Merwe says buyers approach the home with a far more critical eye – if they even deign to go inside at all.
“Bad curb appeal can literally be a deal-breaker,” he says, “sending buyers straight on to the next listing without setting foot inside. That may seem short-sighted, but you can actually tell a lot about a property from its exterior. A shabby roof, paint job, driveway or boundary wall, for example, often translates to a badly maintained interior as well, and buyers don’t line up to make offers on homes they suspect could be full of defects.”
The opposite is true of a home with good curb appeal. Van der Merwe says a well-maintained garden (both inside and outside the boundary wall), fresh paintwork, attractive detailing, clean windows and weed-free paving can immediately increase the perceived value of a property.
“This is also true for neighbourhoods in general,” he adds. “Clean streets, plenty of trees, pretty curbside gardens and attractive facades can boost property prices in an entire street or suburb. You can see this very clearly in upmarket areas, which almost invariably have an atmosphere of attention to detail from the street. It’s a great reason to get involved in local community landscaping programmes and neighbourhood watches, and can also have a positive effect on deterring criminals – broken window theory.”
Improving the perceived value of your home and neighbourhood, and decreasing crime, aren’t the only benefits of putting a little love into your property’s exterior, however. According to Van der Merwe, curb appeal also has a direct effect on how quickly homes sell, as well as the prices they achieve on the market.
“There is a definite correlation between houses with attractive exteriors and the number of offers we get from buyers,” says Van der Merwe. “This not only means a quicker sale, but also puts us in a much stronger position to negotiate on price, and can even see certain homes achieving sales prices above asking value.”
All things told, updating your home’s exterior may well be the most effective way to set your home up for positive sale. And the bonus is, it’s a lot less expensive than that kitchen reno!
“A coat of paint and a garden clean-up isn’t usually a massive investment, but the returns can be exponential,” says Van der Merwe. “If you want to maximise your sale potential, do yourself a favour and look beyond your front door. The heart of your home may be on the inside, but the outside is just as important.”
For more advice on how to prepare your property for the best possible sale, get in touch with Rawson Properties Helderberg on 021 851 2656. Alternatively, visit https://www.rawson.co.za/valuation to schedule a complimentary valuation and receive a full comparative market analysis of your home.