Thursday, June 15, 2017

Curb Appeal Means Everything

I was asked to do an exterior property check last Saturday on a vacant home pending sale, at the request of the buyer's insurance company. I recognized the address and decided to look up the property in the local MLS to get the square footage needed for the inspection report, and to check the listing agent's remarks for any potential issues that might assist me in the inspection.

Arriving at the location, I was saddened to see the condition of the yard. Since I work in real estate marketing as well, I know that one of the prime selling points for any home is curb appeal. This cute little house had been on the market a long time, and I could see why.

The grass was well over a foot tall. The shrubbery was overgrown, Around back I found trash scattered about, and old lumber piled up against the two outbuildings. It was obvious that no one had done any cleaning or mowing since the house was listed.

I thought to myself, "This thing sat on the market for months and for no good reason. It's in an older, quiet neighborhood where homes aren't listed very often. The asking price was reasonable. It has a nice, large lot and 2 outbuildings. Why would the listing agent let the yard get this bad?"

Of course, none of this had any bearing on my actual inspection, since the home appeared to be in good condition overall. The roof was in good shape. There were no issues with the foundation, and the guttering looked sound, albeit in need of a pressure wash. There were no cracks in the concrete patio or front walk.

Maybe it was just the real estate advertiser in me that questioned why something as basic as curb appeal apparently wasn't important to the real estate company. This home probably wouldn't have sat on the market nearly as long if the yard had been tended to and the mess around back cleaned up.

I wrapped up my inspection, taking more than the minimum required photos and notes as is my habit. Better too much information than not enough. On to the next job.

In closing, let me tell you again that curb appeal sells homes! Any sign of neglect to the yard and landscaping will make potential buyers wonder what hidden problems might lurk inside the home -- even if none actually exist!

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