We recently hosted a series of agent workshops on how to optimize listing copy for the web, focusing on using words that match what potential Buyers are seeking. This July Times Union article, featuring our very own Karan Hankinson, illustrates the concept beautifully and is a great reference for any homeowner or Seller.
Times Union: Outside View
When selling, exterior touches can add appeal
By Kate Seckinger | July 7, 2014
When selling a house, a pristine outside can be just as influential as a beautiful inside — that is, if it’s done correctly.
Realtors acknowledge preparing a house to be put on market takes a great amount of time and money. While maintenance costs add up quickly, it’s important that small details, from the flower beds to the doorknobs, aren’t overlooked.
For homeowners, desirable outdoor spaces are clean and tidy, yet other features can maximize a home’s outer charm and may be cheaper to accomplish than sellers realize. Kelly Stamas Audino, an associate broker with RealtyUSA in Albany, says outdoor maintenance is critical, because it makes a first impression.
The features buyers are looking for in a yard are primarily straightforward, Audino said.
In the city, buyers look for a clean front porch, simple decorations like window boxes and a maintained backyard with a garden or flowers. A manicured lawn, fresh paint job and colorful flowers make a huge difference for homes in suburban or rural settings. A home’s outdoor atmosphere differs from the city to suburbia and the country, but for selling purposes, buyers are looking for similar characteristics in each property.
“In the front, people want cleanliness and curb appeal,” Audino said. “The last thing you want is a blank canvas with nothing. If your front yard is clean but boring, you have to do something to make it stand out from the rest.”
Karan Hankinson, a sales agent at Roohan Realty in Saratoga Springs, said people want an appealing-yet-comfortable area to entertain in the backyard.
“If a yard lacks a deck or balcony, an inexpensive patio and set of outdoor furniture will make a buyer feel at home,” the agent said. Hankinson, who is also an interior designer, recommends adding lattice screening or shrubs for privacy, as well as outdoor lighting, which will create a comfortable ambiance.”It’s the little things that make a big difference,” Audino said. “You can do so much for a few hundred dollars that might turn a walk-through into a sale.”
Julia Rosen, an associate broker for Prudential Manor Homes in Delmar, said if a property is organized and manicured, all it needs is maintenance.
“A well-maintained outdoor space goes a long way,” Rosen said. “You would never put in an expensive addition like a pool, screened-in porch or larger garage just to sell your home, because you’ll never profit from it.”
Many people believe if they put thousands of dollars into their home, it will increase in value by thousands, too, but it just doesn’t work that way, she explained. A major outdoor addition like an in-ground pool can cost upwards of $50,000, and will only increase a house’s value $8,000 to $10,000, according to Hankinson.
An expensive “investment” is not worth the cost, time or effort with such a small return. “The truth is, not everyone wants a pool,” Rosen said. “If you put in a pool, shed or firepit, make sure it’s for your own enjoyment. Nothing that expensive is worth adding miniscule dollars to your house price.” Other outdoor features aren’t as easily controlled, but can make a house more marketable if they are available.
For a house in the city, off-street parking, a garage, alleyway, or balcony make a property attractive. In suburbia, a two-car garage and large yard draw buyers, while a few acres of privacy or lakefront are ideal in the countryside.
“All these features are great,” Rosen continued, “but it all depends on the buyer. Different buyers want different things. So if you live in suburbia and have a small yard, don’t get discouraged. The important thing is to take the property you have, and make it shine.”
View article online: Times Union – “Outside View” (July 2014)
If you’re thinking of listing your residential or commercial property for sale, we’re YOUR Realtor! Contact us to learn more about the many resources we offer Sellers – from professional photography, to a robust advertising network, to cutting-edge digital marketing & Search Engine Optimization.