Want to sell your Charlotte home? Start with curb appeal

Want to sell your Charlotte home? Start with curb appeal

First impressions matter, which is why curb appeal helps sell homes, Charlotte real estate agents say.

When highly rated real estate agent Beth Smith Shuey works with sellers in the Midtown and South Charlotte areas where she specializes, she creates a punch list of items inside and out to address before listing a home. “Curb appeal is huge,” she says.

Top curb appeal priorities, she adds, include sprucing up the yard with green grass, spreading fresh mulch, trimming bushes and cleaning the exterior. Shuey also advises removing banners from the yard — a Duke flag might turn off a UNC fan, for example.

Home sellers should also fix rotten wood and peeling paint, as well as remove window screens, wash the windows and power wash the siding, driveway and sidewalk to make a better impression from the street.

“If somebody hasn’t taken care of the outside of the house, they’re probably not taking care of the inside either,” she says, adding it could even affect the selling price in a competitive market.

Real estate agents rated exterior projects, such as updating siding and windows or adding decks and sunrooms, as projects with the most return on investment in the Charlotte market, according to the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report by the trade publication Remodeling.

Angie’s List member Venus Springs staged the East Charlotte home she recently sold inside but also addressed cosmetic issues with the yard to add more curb appeal. She says she paid less than $500 for the yard to be aerated and seeded, bushes trimmed, flower beds planted, and cracks in concrete repaired, but it paid off in multiple bids and a selling price above her asking price.

“When you know the market’s tight and you’re competing with people, you need to distinguish yourself,” Springs says. She says people who might not have found her online listing stopped while driving past the house. “I feel like it made a difference,” she says.

Highly rated Charlotte landscaper Kevin James says about 10 percent of his business at Kevin James Landscape comes from real estate agents who want to improve the curb appeal of properties that aren’t selling or aren’t yet on the market. He often sees overgrown plants and grass, an easy to address problem.

“You don’t go to a job interview if you haven’t shaved,” says James, adding that, you shouldn’t show a house with unmown grass.

For about $2,000, he says his design and build Charlotte landscape firm provides the basics, including seeding grass, mulching and planting in-season flowers, especially during prime home selling season from late spring to early summer. For a few thousand more, they can up curb appeal by adding a bit of “wow” to the landscape with a unique decorative patio, lighting or water feature. Besides enticing potential home buyers, he says, those exterior renovations add value to the sales price.

“Make sure everything is neat and clean, your annuals are in the right season, and your plants are groomed,” he says. “And make sure the litter is cleaned up.”

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