It’s Hard To Rent A Haunted House – The Magic Of Curb Appeal
By: Charles P.
The author has permitted the reprinting and redistribution of this article.
So, you’ve purchased your rehab property, and you’ve fixed it up. Man, this house is nice. It has all new carpets, and the hardwoods have been refinished. You’ve added a bathroom, updated the kitchen and all of your systems are new. You’ve picked out nice welcoming colors. You are ready! You know that this is a house that someone would love to live in.
You decide to host an open house. The day comes and you are excited. People dive up, slow down and then keep on moving! Why is this happening? You’ve done your marketing; you’ve got directional signs everywhere. And you know it’s worked, because people are coming by the house. But they’re not stopping. Why is that? They’re missing all of the wonderful things that you have done inside this house. But that’s the problem, all of your work has been done inside the house.
Curb appeal is something that is very important, but many rehabbers overlook. Simply put, how does your house look on the outside? When someone pulls up, is it inviting? Does it fell homey? Does it make them want to go inside? Is it appealing form the curb? If the answer is no, you will have a hard time renting the house. There are some simple ways that you can increase the curb appeal of your house, and the chances of renting it out. Let’s discuss them now.
One of the first things that you can and should do is landscape your yard. This can be as simple as making sure that the grass is cut during the spring and summer. This is your most low cast maintenance option. However, there are other things that cost a little bit more but will allow you to reap huge benefits by moving your property quickly.
You may purchase a property that doesn’t even have any grass. Now, it is not a necessity that a house has grass, but any family and most couples who are looking to move into a house and make it a home would like to have a nice lawn. It doesn’t have to be huge, but most people want a yard. The simple solution is to put down sod. Builders do it all of the time, because they recognize the importance of this feature.
You can also plant bushes, flowers and trees. If you do this, we suggest that you budget a few more dollars of your escrow budget purchase the mature bushes, flowers and trees. These items will be bigger, heartier and provide a homier feel to your yard. You can also put down pine straw or mulch. All of this will work wonders.
Lastly, if you can do something to the backyard, we recommend that you do. You don’t have to go all out, because this is not what people see first. But, if someone is truly interested in the house, they will check out the back yard. Do what you can to make it inviting as well.
Let’s face it. A lot of rehab properties don’t even have driveways. So, if yours does. That is a plus. But, you want to make sure that the driveway is in good shape. A cracked up driveway is worse than not having one at all. If the house has a gravel drive, we recommend that you turn it into concrete. Gravel driveways are dusty and hard to walk on. There are companies that specialize in driveways and they can handle all of this for you.
Have you ever thought about the front door to a house? Probably not, most of us don’t. However, the door that you choose can greatly influence the “character” of a house. Will the house appear closed and foreboding, or open and inviting? The front door can have a lot to do with that.
We recommend that your door have a window of some sort. It doesn’t have to be huge, but there should be something that lets light in and out. The glass on the window should be decorative, not a plane pane. Why? Again, these are small touches that can make quite a difference. And there are so many options to choose from. Go to your local building supply store and tour the door department. You will see tons of designs at reasonable prices. Remember, your potential tenants are going to walk through this door. You want them to feel welcome.
Windows are nearly as important as the doors. They are like the eyes of the house. What will people see when they look into those eyes? If the windows are old and look out of date, they need to be replaced. There are tons of styles to choose from and they will really make a difference in how your house looks from the street. They are also a great selling point, because new windows are more energy efficient and provide better insulation than older models.
This should be a no-brainer, but many people are so busy fixing up the inside of the house, they forget about this. Let’s start with a brick house. If the house is brick, you really don’t have a lot of painting to worry about. But, you should make sure that all of the trim is freshly painted. This simple step will bright up the outside of the house. Depending on how the brick looks, you can also get it pressure washed.
Quite a few houses today have vinyl siding. This is because siding does not have to be painted, and it wears well. If your numbers work, you could consider adding siding to your wood frame house. Again, this will be a selling point for your potential renters. But, since the upkeep will your responsibility, many renters are not particular. So, unless you are selling on a lease/purchase or rent to own, you can decide if you want to go with siding or fresh paint. However, before you have your open house, you need to do one of the two. A house with peeling and flaking paint does not show well.
Part of the fabled American dream is to own a house with a white picket fence. This is something that you can provide! Of course, you need to take a look at the layout of your property and make sure that there is room for it. If there is room, we say go for it. Fencing really makes a house look nice and inviting.
Remember, you want your house to look inviting from the street. These are just a few things that you can do to turn that “haunted house” into an inviting home.
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