Curb appeal – that first view of a home that buyers get – is the first impression that sets the expectation and the tone for the entire viewing.
As humans we tend to see what we expect to see. A first impression sets up that expectation, and our minds will subconsciously seek to find evidence that our expectation is correct.
A neglected or run-down exterior tells buyers that the entire house has not been well-maintained, while an inviting exterior tells buyers that what they see inside will be equally inviting.
And generally, that's what those buyers will see. They'll subconsciously seek evidence that their expectation is correct, and may even overlook subtle signs that they might be incorrect.
That is, if they even get inside to have a look. I've been on showings when the exterior looked so bad that the buyers refused to go inside. They knew that what they saw inside would be a waste of time.
And that's a shame, because sometimes the interior and exterior don't match.
While all home sellers should definitely make an effort to create a "wow" impression with curb appeal, some simply cannot.
It may be that one spouse is responsible for interior and the other for exterior – and they don't match.
It may be that the homeowners are ill or elderly and have assistance with interior maintenance, but not with exterior maintenance.
It may be that they don't have the physical or financial capability to keep lawns mowed, shrubs trimmed, fences straight, and trim freshly painted – but they have been able to keep up inside.
So – if you're a seller, do all in your power to make that first impression set an expectation for good things to come.
I happen to have a handy "Seller's Curb Appeal Checklist" you can use to make sure you don't overlook anything important. Just give me a call at 604-551-4129 or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you a copy.
If you're a buyer, try to keep an open mind.
When you're searching for a home here, work to over-ride your mind's expectations and really look at what you see inside – regardless of what you've seen outside.