Curb Appeal why it's important

I went to a new breakfast place last week and ended up leaving before I even ordered my food. While a bummer, (I was starving!) it was another lesson in the importance of first impressions.

They failed on so many levels I won't detail them all here. The primary issue was, it just didn't "feel" like a place I wanted to eat. After telling my story to a few friends, I was quickly assured I had made the right decision.

Today, we're going to talk about that "first impression" when you are selling your home. Let's dig into your curb appeal, shall we?

We're in that time of year when curb appeal is at its easiest. You have countless options with pumpkins, corn stalks, Halloween decorations and a myriad of other fall accoutrements.

At our house, we have a 10-foot-tall scary, inflatable "tree" holding a jack-o-lantern on the front lawn. This weekend, we'll add some "cobwebs" around the bushes and these stupid, electronic rocks that howl and laugh at you when you walk by. My roommate is a Halloween nut. But that's really not what is going to help you sell your home.

That first impression is going to be key.

"I encourage all of my sellers to physically get in the car and circle the block. Then approach their home with the most critical 'fresh' eyes they can muster,"  Badger Realty agent Eileen Difeo said. "The goal is to scrutinize as much as possible. Look for peeling paint, dead grass, dirty windows, etc. Anything that will detract from the beauty of your home."

Difeo is right. If you can find a "flaw," there's no doubt those potential sellers will find it as well. Touch up the paint on the gate, fence, windows and doors. The simplest path here is to find those old paint cans in the basement and simply match what is already there.

Remember, we're simply talking about that first impression. Nobody is going to walk around the house closely inspecting every inch of the exterior window finish. Your goal is to simply eliminate the glaring issues. We're not being deceitful here, we are simply touching things up.

Trim your bushes and shrubs while you are at it. A quick walk around the home and up the walkway will "tell" you what needs to be done. If anything touches you while you are on the walkway — clip, clip, clip away.

You could even go as far as to add some greenery if you currently have none. Some fall plants (I'm told chrysanthemums, flowering kale and celosia are all great options) can really spruce up the front of your home. We're approaching the season of no "green" at all, so take advantage of this time now.

As you all know by now, I don't "do" clutter. This goes for the front walkway as well. Be sure it is well swept and free of debris. This goes for leaves as well, especially during a showing.

We struggle with weeds in our driveway here (It's large concrete slabs so the weeds creep up between them.) and if that is your plight with your walkway, try and handle that as well. I certainly don't encourage toxic chemicals for this task, but there's some creative, safe ways to handle them. Just ask someone smarter than me!

The front door of your home is another important consideration that, honestly, never really crossed my mind. I honestly don't think I have ever lived in a house where we actually used the "front" door. That said, just be sure all the doors of the home are in tip-top condition.

It's a super easy task to paint any or all of them for sure. You could even replace the hardware if yours are tattered and tired. This is also a fun time to change the color of that door. Assuming it matches the rest of the trim and you're not creating a fun house, add a little life to your front face.

Since it is about to start getting dark around noon, lighting is going to become very important for your home's appearance. My primary suggestion is to ensure that the walkway is well lit. Make sure none of your lights are "out" and add additional lighting if you have any questions about what is in place.

You can pretend it is Halloween night and you don't want any kids tripping and falling on your property. Unless, of course, they spill their candy. Then it's perfect.

This not only makes things safe for you and your guests, it will look amazing after dark as well. For those late-night drivers-by, you'll be glad you made the extra effort.

Cleaning up your curb appeal is a critical first step when selling your home. Your agent is going to bug you to take care of it anyway so beat 'em to the punch and handle it this weekend. It will be one less thing to worry about on your selling journey and it will make a big difference in your home's appeal.

Lastly, and likely the most important item on your to-do list this week: Go vote!

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