“Focus on the areas that prospective buyers will see immediately!” That is the sage advice of Barbara Corcoran, the businesswoman, investor, speaker, consultant, syndicated columnist, author, television personality and real estate magnate who built and sold The Corcoran Group for $66 million in 2001. Fabulous curb appeal is the recipe for a quick and successful property transaction thus a seller must literally start staging to sell the property at the front curb and continue the process all the way to the back of the property to ensure every inch looks updated, clean and well-maintained. For starters, the house number is one of the first things a potential buyer will notice so we strongly suggest replacing old house numbers with new modern ones on both the entry area as well as on your nicely kept mailbox. The sidewalk and entry pathway should be completely clear of weeds and debris and the front door must be in immaculate condition. Here in South Florida, we always recommend freshly potted plants flanking the entrance or an interesting bench or seating area of some sort. Exterior decor dramatically adds to the curb appeal and should be well-coordinated with the interior style and character of the property. By paying attention to these details at the entry and curb of your property, potential buyers immediately develop an emotional attachment which will entice them inside to see more of what your beautiful property has to offer.
While the term “curb appeal” is a newer phrase used to convey the potential attractiveness of the outside of any property, it is currently an integral part of every savvy sellers check-list. As a seller, you need to understand that potential buyers must feel emotionally drawn to a property in order to feel compelled to make an offer. Those who are in the market for a home in your area are much more apt to stop, backup their car and take notice when passing a well-maintained home. When a seller takes no time to address curb appeal, they immediately lose the greater majority of all serious buyers. To ensure that you have done everything possible to attract the most buyers, it is always wise to align yourself with a professional home stager so you can leverage their knowledge thus minimizing your risk. Always bear in mind that the cost of home staging is not only tax deductible, but it is far less costly than the cost of most price reductions!
Professional home stagers are always allied with a bevy of experts in their area. One of our favorites for curb appeal is Jose Perez, founder of Orchidman Landscape Artisans, who says “clean” is the key word for prepping the exterior of a home to sale. Accordingly, Jose said realtors are focused on this as well as he is most often asked for new sod, mulch and fresh pruning to prep for an open house. In his fifteen years of experience, Jose believes the biggest mistake most people make is not using appropriate plant material for their area. For example, it is popular to use Clusia for hedging in Miami, however, the scale of Clusia can make some properties look smaller. Jose likes to suggest a combination of native plants such as Simpson Stoppers, Red Stoppers, Jamaican Capers and Myrtle-of-the-River as these plants do not require a lot of space around the perimeter of a property and they grow tall very quickly. Incorporating our native plant materials results in less issues with disease, better self-fertilization and greater durability during hurricanes.
Curb appeal is paramount with ninety-four percent of all realtors insisting that sellers must improve the external attractiveness of their property prior to listing. If budgetary constraints prohibit a major landscaping project, simple lawn maintenance that includes new mulch, regular lawn mowing, pruning of hedges and shrubbery and installation of flowering perennials can be a great start. As professional home stagers, we know that staging the exterior of a property can be equally as important as staging the interior. It is extremely important for sellers to be aware that when the competition of similarly listed properties is significant, it is even more important to stand out so that more potential buyers will see your property as the best-looking on the block! STAGE TO SELL!!
Elizabeth Stiff and Jacqueline Krueger are President and President Elect of the Miami Chapter of RESA, Real Estate Staging Association. They are also the founding partners of PeacefulNest Inc., a boutique home staging and design company servicing our local community. (www.peacefulnestinc.com) 305-800-NEST