Posted almost 2 years ago

Sell your flip to the highest bidder using curb appeal

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Can the front yard really help you sell a house faster? Yes, especially if the yard looks bad to begin with. If your yard is already nice, you may not need to do much. If it's an eye sore or looks like something that will take a ton of work to get under control, that will turn off a lot of buyers. If it's bad enough, some buyers may decide not to look at the house at all.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 71% of buyers consider curb appeal important. This wasn't part of the survey, but I'm guessing the other 29% are those who prefer a fixer upper and may not want to spend top dollar on a renovated house. Those folks aren't your target market. As a house flipper, you're looking for the buyer who wants a beautiful home that's ready to move into the day they close on the sale. 

So how do you use the front yard landscape to sell faster to the right buyer? Here are some key considerations:

  • The front yard has to reflect the same level of finish that the buyers will find inside. This is often overlooked, at least by first time flippers. They may not even budget for landscape improvements, but that's a big mistake.

    You want to advertise to the world how great your house is, and the best way to do that is to make the front entry every bit as great as the inside of the house. If a buyer drives up and thinks the place looks mediocre from the outside, that will color what they expect from the interior.

    Remember, how people do one thing indicates how they do everything, so if you didn't put much effort into the yard, it will imply you didn't put much effort into the house. You'll automatically have a hill to climb convincing the buyer of the quality of the renovation. You don't want the theme of your open house to be "It's so much nicer than it looks from the outside."

  • Use wayfinding strategies to guide buyers where you want them to go. You want your buyers to enjoy the process of looking at your house, and one subtle way to impact that experience is to make it as stress-free as possible.

    Decide where you want buyers to focus, and create visual markers that draw them in that direction. The fewer low-level decisions a person has to make, the less stressed they feel when entering a new environment. Now, I'm not saying to set up rope lines and keep people from opening doors or poking around. All I mean is you want to make the most important entry and exit points very easy to find. 
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  • For instance, a pop of color at the front door will make it immediately easier to know where to go when the buyer gets out of the car. It's subtle, but it can make a big difference in how people feel about the house. This is really important if the front door isn't immediately obvious, or if there are multiple doors to choose from. The more low-level stress the buyer feels during the walk-through, the less positive they are likely to feel about the house.

  • Provide at least one "wow" moment in the landscape. You're trying to convince buyers that your house is the one they want to live in for years to come, so find a way to make it special. Color is a great way to do that, whether it's with flowering trees and shrubs or site furnishings that add interest.

    You could paint a fence a feature color as a backdrop to evergreen shrubs, or there could be a beautiful planter or bench near the walkway. Let the site suggest the best way to incorporate a little excitement into the design.