The Power (And Price) of Curb Appeal



A well-priced, well-groomed home will get noticed (and hopefully sold) faster than a property lacking those two basic factors that motivate buyers. To have a fighting chance in today’s marketplace, homeowners are encouraged to amp up the curb appeal of their listing by giving it an obtainable “wow” factor.

“Think in terms of human beings wanting to make a good first impression upon another person,” analogized Winston Lee, owner of Winston Lee & Associates Inc., a Monticello-based landscape architectural firm. “They will want to be well groomed, manicured, be fashionably dressed and stylish, play up their best qualities and minimize or disguise their weaker attributes. The first impression sets the tone.”

Simple tricks of the trade include lush green spaces that have been well fertilized and crisply edged, freshly mulched areas, decorative pavers and low-maintenance landscaping. Concealing undesirables, such as trash receptacles and irrigation systems, is also advised. A fresh coat of paint on an existing fence, pleasant lighting and a welcoming entryway never hurt, either.

Doug Barton, owner of award-winning Barton Construction, has renovated several homes in Tallahassee — many in the desirable Midtown area. As a seller, Barton cautioned sinking too much capital into costly outdoor projects, but noted the importance of an aesthetically pleasing exterior.

“Curb appeal is the No. 1 tool to get your house noticed by a prospective buyer,” reminded Barton. “But the cost of the home is mostly determined by how well the home appraises. An appraiser will use comparable homes that have recently sold in the area, lot size, square footage and condition. A coat of paint or manicured lawn may help you get noticed, but it won’t add to the bottom line return on your investment.”

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