The Mitchell Team's Blog
“Curb appeal” is a term that worries many sellers who are concerned that their house doesn’t have what it takes to woo buyers when they pull up to your driveway. Some aspects of curb appeal aren’t always in your control, such as the neighborhood your house is in, the state of sidewalks and roads, and eyesores like outdated power lines.
However, there are many things you can do to make your house stand out amongst the rest in a positive way. Better yet, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to achieve curb appeal.
In this article, we’re going to give you 6 inexpensive ways to increase the curb appeal of your home to woo potential buyers.
1. Match your landscaping to your home architecture
We all have our own preferences when it comes to bushes, trees, and plants in our yard. However, some landscaping decisions work more fluidly and naturally with the architecture of your home.
A good way to achieve this is by planting things that are native to your area and avoiding expensive trees that are in fashion one year and out of style the next.
2. Paint your trim, shutters, and front door
Sprucing up these accent items will improve the appearance of the entire exterior of your home. Don’t be afraid to choose bright and bold colors, so long as they match the color and style of the rest of your home.
3. Buy a new mailbox and house numbers
For less than $40 you can buy a new mailbox and house numbers that will give your home a sense of newness. Like with the other items on the list, go with options that match the style of your home.
4. Upgrade the lighting
Although the lights might not be on when people come to view your home, they will certainly notice old lighting. Make sure walkway lights are standing straight, equidistant from one another, and clean.
Installing or updating your porch light is also a good way to up the curb appeal when potential buyers get to your doorway.
5. Photograph the home at the best time
Since most home buyers begin their house hunting online, your first opportunity to show off your home’s curb appeal is in your listing photos.
While there is no set rule to the best time of day to photograph your home, you’ll want to avoid harsh glares or extremely overcast days. Try shooting after sunrise, sometime before noon, in the late afternoon, and just before sunset (the golden hour). Then review your photos and find the ones that show off your home the best.
6. Wash or pressure wash your home
Before spending hundreds on landscaping, take some time to wash the exterior of your home. Viewers will look at your house first and foremost, and dirty siding won’t win over any hearts.
You can use soapy water and a long-handled brush, or you can rent a pressure washer for as little as $30.
You have finally found what you believe to be the perfect home. Then, something rings off in your gut. Maybe it was poor communication with the seller. Maybe a big change happened in your own life in a short period of time. All you know is that you really want to back out of the deal. You might have a lot of questions. Is this possible? Are there consequences?
The short answers to these questions are yes, and yes. There is a possibility that you could be sued by your backing out of a deal. It’s rare that buyers are actually mandated to buy a home that they don’t actually want to buy. Sellers will, however, be able to keep any money that has already been paid as a deposit after a certain point in the dealings on a home sale. Sellers may also be awarded damages in some cases.
Legally Backing Out Of The Contract
There are a few circumstances where buyers may have a legitimate right to back out of a contract on a home. If certain contingencies weren’t met, as a buyer, you’re free and clear to walk away. These circumstances include:
- Financing falls through
- You couldn’t sell your former home
- Flaws in the home have not been disclosed
- Property boundary line issues exist
- Liens are against a home’s title
- The seller does not meet the terms for improvement
- Undisclosed uses exist for the land such as a pathway
If none of these reasons apply to you and you still have reservations about buying the home, you may need to sacrifice a huge chunk of money. The way that you exit the deal will all depend upon the contracts that were signed previously.
Other Buyers Are Waiting For The Home
If you are in a tight market and decide to back out of buying a home, you could be in luck. Often, if there’s a backup offer, it’s enough to satisfy a seller that at least the home will be sold promptly. However, don’t hold you breath when it comes to getting your deposits back. If you have already “promised” to buy a home, you can kiss the deposit goodbye, unfortunately.
Always Hire A Real Estate Attorney
Whether your state requires it or not, you should always hire a real estate attorney. These professionals can help you to read each and every line of the contracts that you’re signing when buying a home. They will make suggestions as to how you can protect yourself through the process along the way. It’s a good investment to hire a lawyer when you’re buying a home.
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Buying a home is a very detail-oriented process, and there's a lot of important things you can overlook if you're not organized.
Home buyers generally have the opportunity to do a last-minute inspection of the premises to make sure everything's up to standards prior to closing on the property.
A real estate buyer's agent can accompany you on the final inspection or provide you with advice on what to look for.
If you've already visited the home a couple times and had the house professionally inspected, you're probably well-acquainted with any major malfunctions, flaws, or repair issues. In many cases, home buyers may reach an agreement with the seller to fix, replace, or make allowances for mechanical or cosmetic problems. While real estate negotiations and sales agreements are as varied as the people and properties involved, there are typically dozens of things buyers need to check on before they sign the final documents and accept ownership of the property.
Final Walkthrough Tips
As you're doing the final walk-through of the house, it's necessary to remember or have notes on the condition of the home when you last looked at it. You'll also want to have a clear idea of what appliances, fixtures, and window treatments are supposed to be remain in the house after it's been vacated by the seller. Depending on how close your final walk-through is to the actual closing, that has probably already happened.
If there's anything missing that the seller agreed to include in the sale, then that's an issue you'll want to discuss with your real estate agent or attorney. Any property damage that may have resulted from moving furniture and other belongings should also be discussed before final papers are signed. The same thing would apply to landscaping changes that appear to be inconsistent with the sales agreement. Your buyer's agent and/or lawyer can serve as intermediary in getting these issues clarified and ironed out.
To make sure your final inspection is thorough, it's a good idea to have a "final walk-through checklist" to help keep you organized and focused. You'll want to take a last-minute inventory of items that are supposed to be included with the property sale, such as appliances, lighting fixtures, furnishings, window treatments, children's play structures, hot tubs, and anything else that was agreed to in the sales contract.
Other items you'll need access to may include garage door openers, manuals for appliances and mechanical systems, warranties, invoices for repairs made, and remote control devices for things like ceiling fans, alarms, and other systems.
Your checklist and final walkthrough should focus on a variety of items, including the working condition of appliances, the electrical system, plumbing fixtures, and the condition of walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and landscaping features. For a complete checklist, look online or consult your real estate agent.
Looking to buy a house without having to break your budget? Put together a homebuying roadmap, and you can increase your chances of finding a top-notch house that falls within your price range.
Ultimately, there are many things to consider as you put together a homebuying roadmap, such as:
1. Your Dream Home Definition
Differentiate your dream home must-haves from your wants – you'll be glad you did. If you can determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house, you can narrow your home search accordingly.
For example, if you need a home with multiple bedrooms to accommodate your entire family, you should include this information near the top of your homebuying roadmap. You then can kick off a search of multi-bedroom homes and move closer to finding your ideal residence.
2. Where You Want to Live
Do you enjoy life in the big city? Or, would you prefer to settle down in a small town? Think about where you would like to call home so that you can effectively plan your homebuying journey.
Ideally, you should try to refine your home search to a small collection of cities and towns. This will enable you to speed up your home search and ensure you can find a house that suits you perfectly.
Keep in mind your day-to-day activities as you consider where you want to live too. For instance, if you work in the city, you may want to pursue houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, you may be able to purchase a small town home for less than what you would have to pay for a city residence and commute into the city for work.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
Determine how quickly you'd like to finalize a home purchase. That way, you can map out exactly how you want to approach the housing market.
If you are committed to buying a house as soon as possible, you'll need to be proactive. The top houses sell quickly, and if you don't act fast, you risk missing out on your dream residence to a rival homebuyer.
Conversely, if you can afford to be patient, you can avoid pressure throughout the homebuying process. In this scenario, you can pursue houses at your convenience. And once you find the right home, you can submit an offer and finalize your home purchase.
When it comes to creating a homebuying roadmap, it generally helps to get support from a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can provide plenty of assistance throughout the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and help you develop a successful homebuying roadmap. Furthermore, he or she can keep you up to date about new homes as they become available and make it easy to discover a wonderful residence at a budget-friendly price.
Ready to get started on the process of purchasing a house? Consider the aforementioned items as you create a homebuying roadmap, and you can plan a successful homebuying journey.