The Most Important Photo in Your Virtual Tour is the Money Shot

It’s impossible to find a Realtor® today who doesn’t drive home the importance of curb appeal. An attractive and well-presented exterior can mean the difference between a house sale and a house that sits on the market gathering dust. Sadly, you can have a house with a beautiful interior that is never seen due to the negative assumption from agents and buyers based on the exterior presentation. It follows that improving the visual appearance of the exterior of your structure and property is one of the best investments you can make as a seller.

According to the NAR, 63 percent of homebuyers will ask for a showing after viewing a house online. The first thing they will see, even in pictures, is the exterior of your house. They have viewed the listing online and are impressed enough to schedule a showing, so be sure what they see in person is in keeping with the positive impression they formed when they viewed the listing online.

So, what defines a curb disaster? Let’s start with a roof that’s missing shingles or is dingy. Is algae growing on it? Are there oversized trees that prevent you from seeing the front door? Can you read the house numbers or are they dark, dull or non-existent?

The minute I drive up to a house, I notice every aspect of the exterior façade and surrounding property, I am consciously trying to frame the exterior photo in my mind. You can do this too. Step outside and cross the street. View the exterior of your house as a buyer would and ask yourself if what you see welcomes you into the property.

Ask yourself the questions below and “score” your exterior in relation to the necessary visual perfection that buyers expect today.

  • What color is the house, shutters and front door?
  • Is the color combination complementary?
  • Do I see any peeling paint?
  • Do the shutters or the house need painting?
  • Is the siding in good condition or the stucco cracked?
  • Are the gutters overflowing with leaves?
  • Is there outdoor lighting? Does it work?
  • What is the condition, size, and shape of landscaping (trees, plants, flowers)?
  • Are there any shingles loose or missing, does the roof need to be power washed?
  • Are the windows clean and void of cracked panes?
  • Is landscaping or plant material blocking the front façade of the house?

Buyers expect a well-manicured exterior. Front and backyard areas are now considered “must-haves” and if they’re well-maintained, will prevent buyers from quickly returning to the car before they even make it to the front door. One word about backyards – they are not even called that anymore and in some real estate markets they’re referred to as “outdoor retreats”. In 2019 and beyond, it’s all about what’s dubbed as “indoor-outdoor living” and “bringing the indoors, outdoors”.

Your exterior assessment will address any and all issues with the entire outside, beyond just cleaning up, so make sure you really look at:

  • Front façade, front step and front door
  • Paint and shutters
  • Roof and chimney
  • Bricks and mortar
  • Windows and aluminum siding
  • Exterior lighting/outlets
  • Driveway and landscaping
  • Fences and hardscape
  • Decks and Pool
  • Guest House, Shed, Pool House or Playhouse

Look beyond your own personal preference and taste and ask yourself: Does my home have the curb appeal to sell quickly and for top dollar? Would YOU pay top dollar for this house? If the answer is no, then get your plan of attack together and begin the process of making sure your property is the best shape it can be for the BUYER.

Take charge of your own exterior assessment, and refer to Chapter 3 in my book: SMART MOVES: How to Save Time and Money While Transitioning Your Home and Life.

Remember it’s not about YOU, it’s about the BUYER and make sure you lead your online virtual home tour with the money shot! Be a Smart Mover and good luck!