Four Key Tips on Maximizing Your Property’s Curb Appeal
We’ve all heard the maxim, “Never judge a book by its cover,” but if we’re honest with ourselves, we rarely follow that advice. It’s human nature to notice a novel decked out in eye-catching art before a drab or ugly one, and a paperback sporting an unsightly tear inevitably sits on the shelf far longer than the pristine copies surrounding it, unless sold at a steep discount.
If first impressions are key in the aisles of your local Barnes & Noble, they’re even more critical in the rental housing market. Potential tenants like to picture themselves in a home they can look at with pride in the evening after a long day at work, and show off to guests on the weekends. If your property’s exterior is unattractive, those fantasies will be deflated before they even walk through the door, and that disappointment will color their perception of what’s inside. A renter who’s impressed from the very first glance, on the other hand, will often pay a premium to turn their dreams of living in your property into reality.
That’s why curb appeal—the impression your property makes from the sidewalk—is so crucial to attracting the right tenants. Below, you’ll find a few useful tips on keeping your properties looking great outside as well as in.
Photograph your property’s good side
In the digital age, you can’t talk about curb appeal without first discussing what might more accurately be called “screen appeal.” Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, a prospective tenant will get their very first glimpse of their next home while browsing rental listings on a laptop or mobile device, so attractive snaps of your property are a must.
The easiest way to ensure your photos show your property at its best, of course, is to hire a professional, but if you choose to go the DIY route, you can still achieve great-looking results as long as you keep a few key variables in mind. Consider foregoing your iPhone in favor of a high-quality digital camera, and pay close attention to the ways in which weather and time of day affect lighting conditions. In addition, don’t forget to update your pics over the course of the year; those festive Christmas decorations may charm prospective tenants in December, but come July they’ll just be a distraction.
Show your lawn some love
This one may sound like a no-brainer, but there are few sights less appealing to a prospective renter than a lawn full of overgrown or dying grass, or one strewn with weeds. A green and well-kept lawn sends the message that you’re a landlord tenants can count on to tend to the details as well as overseeing the big picture.
Weeding, mowing and raking, however, are only the first steps to a truly impressive front lawn. Once you have the basics down, you can get to work adding the flourishes that will make your lawn unforgettable. You don’t need to undertake an extensive landscaping project—though that’s certainly one way to make a big impression. A simple splash of color in the form of a few well-placed flowers can help ensure your property sticks in renters’ minds long after their initial visit.
Make a grand entrance
No, this isn’t about perfecting the way you stride through your property’s foyer—although if you do so, I’m sure renters will appreciate your style and panache. I’m talking about the front door. No matter what else your tenant notices on the on the way in, they’re guaranteed to get an up-close and personal look at your property’s entrance, which makes it one of the most important areas to focus on when it comes to curb appeal.
You’ll want to keep a close eye on the condition of your hardware, making sure the door’s knob and hinges shine and the lock doesn’t stick. If no amount of polish is going to make your hardware look great, it may be time to invest in a fresh, matched set. Once that’s done, you might decide to redo that peeling paint job in a pleasing accent color, and replace those dated lighting fixtures with something a little more contemporary. Then your gaze might travel up to the house numbers. They’ve gotten a little dull, and that hanging “6” with a screw missing looks enough like a “9” to confuse guests and delivery drivers… You get the idea. Each element of your entrance contributes to a prospective renter’s overall perception of your property, and if you can craft an ensemble that’s not only functional, but stylish and cohesive, you’ll come out well ahead of the competition.
Create the perfect social space
Curb appeal may be all about pleasing the eye, but the area of your property visible from the sidewalk isn’t just something pretty for tenants to glance at before they walk through the front door; it’s also a place to relax and unwind, or enjoy the company of friends, family and neighbors. A few simple touches that evoke imagery of social get-togethers and long, lazy afternoons in the sun can go a long way toward helping renters envision themselves in your property.
Does your property sport a cozy front porch or patio? Make the most of it with the help of some well-chosen patio furniture. Even if not, you can still stir up fantasies of summer fun using little more than a few lawn chairs and a table with a colorful outdoor umbrella. Think of your audience as well; couples looking for a great place to raise children might appreciate a swing hanging from the shade tree out front. With imagination and a little elbow grease, you can craft the ideal social setting for any demographic.
Even the most stunning property needs regular maintenance to stay looking sharp, and once you’ve found the perfect tenants, keeping them requires frequent communication from an attentive management team. That’s where Guardian can help.
Guardian’s experienced staff is fully equipped to handle every aspect of your property’s day-to-day maintenance and management, from tenant relations and rent collection to emergency repairs. To learn more about what Guardian Property Management can do for you, call 651-287-2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.