By Andy Smith
The old adage “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is especially true in the housing market, whether you’re looking to sell or rent. The curb appeal — and backyard amenities — of your Seattle-area home are the big draws for millennials.
Why should you cater to millennials? Chances are high your potential renters or buyers will be between the ages of 23 and 38. While millennials represent the largest class of buyers, a huge portion are also renters. And many see themselves renting for the foreseeable future.
A renter’s first impression of your property will likely be online, and the first picture they see will be the exterior of your house. The 30 seconds they will spend assessing your house will determine if they contact an agent for a closer look. Many people will look next at a virtual tour to view the inside of the home.
That’s why it’s vital to have the exterior of your home in tip-top shape.
How to Make a Great First Impression with Your Property
1. Keep Your Yard Well Maintained
Keep your property mowed, edged, free of unsightly weeds, and swept clean of debris and leaves.
Prune trees to remove broken limbs and branches, sprucing up your spruces and making all your trees shapely. The same applies to hedges and shrubs.
Remove dead annuals from your flower beds and cut back perennials where appropriate. All this is especially vital in fall and winter when yards tend to appear barren.
2. Add Color With Plants
You can add some color in the fall and winter by planting chrysanthemums or nandina. Mums flower through late autumn, and nandina turns from a blueish-green to a lovely red and burnt orange in the fall and winter.
Help your home stand out from the gray of cloudy, wet, chilly, and cold days with plants that perk up your property. These spots of color will also help your property stand out from the crowd of home photos viewable online.
The bucks you spend on mums may be what lands you your next renter or buyer.
3. Focus on Your Front Door
The National Association of Realtors says the appearance of a front door is one of the key selling points of a home. They advise homeowners to replace or refurbish a worn door. Sometimes fresh paint can do the job.
Tip: Red remains a bold and popular color for doors, but deep navy blue, dark grays, and even blacks are growing in popularity.
4. Repair and Refresh Your Property
Broken or peeling siding, trim, shutters, and garage doors are a big turnoff for potential renters and buyers. Repairs and fresh paint are relatively inexpensive and provide a high return on investment.
5. Pay Attention to the Little Things
Small details can make a big impression.
It’s easy to overlook the small accents that are part of your exterior appeal. Replacing outdated door hardware, porch lights, worn out mailboxes, and address numerals can be a cost-effective investment.
6. Stage your Exterior
Staging the interior of a home – arranging furnishings and accents much like a movie set decorator might do – has proven effective in sales. Why not do the same to the exterior?
The trick is to make your property look inviting. This can be accomplished by arranging chairs or benches and adding potted plants to the entryway. The idea is to make your rental look homey and welcoming.
7. Spotlight Outdoor Living Potential
Renters and buyers across all demographics are placing greater value on a home’s outdoor living possibilities. Patios, pergolas, and gazebos are definite assets.
This is another area where placing attractive and comfortable furnishings, a grill or smoker, and plants can increase the appeal.
Your Whole Goal? Leave a Lasting Impression
Putting your property’s best foot forward pays in the long run by attracting more – and higher quality – prospects. Attention to your exterior can produce a significant return on your investment.
Andy Smith is a house flipper and freelance writer raised in the Pacific Northwest. He loves to visit breweries and wineries around the world, tries to golf, and like most aspiring writers, is working on his novel.