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Need help with curb appeal

Posted by weedyacres (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 13, 12 at 21:11

We had 2 showings last week, one with a realtor and the other a drive-by that's renting in a neighboring subdivision. The realtor promised feedback, and delivered: said the inside was great but slammed us on curb appeal.

So, my Gardenweb friends, please advise what you'd suggest to make our outside match our inside.
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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Can you get some planters with annuals for some instant colour? Also, is that shrub/evergreen in the bed near the lamppost dead? What is it?


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Is your front lawn more than 50 percent weeds? If so, maybe resod? If that is too much of a commitment, I vote to flank door with potted plants. Maybe something with height, like topiaries. Add flowers to front beds. They say yellow stimulates people to buy. I wouldn't do anything puny, like a few marigolds. Fill front border with lots of flowers. In the bed with lamppost, maybe add more flowers and/or some low growing variegated shrubs. You could add another potted plant to match/coordinate with the two by the front door in between the garage doors.

Make sure mulch is fresh. If you are really ambitious you could extend your bed and plant shrubs or dwarf tree to soften corners of house. I don't think that is necessary.

I am new here. Just my two cents. :-)


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I also think your front door would look great painted black.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I think you need to add some height with some taller evergreen shrubs at the ends of your current hedges.

I agree that you need to fill in your flowerbeds with lots of flowers and mulch.

I think you need to add some nice planters on either side of the front door and garage. I would probably also add a nice wreath on the front door.

I would add at least one tree in the front yard. I would be tempted to add three. Nicer trees like an oak or maple with a few years growth would be $150-$300 per tree where I live.

The flower bed by the light pole needs some serious work. The plants that are there look wrong maybe because they haven't had time mature and there is too much symmetry. I would add plants with varying height and texture like maybe something that is more ground cover in the front and something up to 1-2' in the back.

I think you get away with not replacing sod in the front yard if you will mow a little more often to disquise the weeds.

I don't know if this is something you would want to do, but I think bigger carriage lights would have more presence.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I would plant a few red and yellow flowers around the lamp post and put some potted plants on each side of the front door and between the 2 garage doors. You need a little more color. A wreath on the front door is a nice touch.

I wouldn't waste money or time with painting or changing light fixtures - what you have is just fine.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I don't think you need to go crazy.

-Don't worry about re-sodding jut keep the weeds mowed down as much as possible.
- Put some really dark mulch in the beds.
- Plant some small trees and shrubs with color. Pick stuff for Fall color and make sure each area has an odd number of plants.
- Planters with color on either side of the door.
- Paint that door red!



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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Paint the garage doors and dormer a medium to dark tan with reddish undertones to coordinate with the brick.

Behr Peanut Butter

Behr Sunset Beige

Then paint the door red, as Photoshopped above.

behr Antique Red

Mulch the existing beds, or use a mulch colorant to darken the current mulch back up if it's plenty thick but just faded. Two pots with some height and color on either side of the door, and fill in--as in jam packed to hide the scrawny dead looking shrubs--with colorful annuals in the lamp post bed. There, you've spent less than $500 and totally transformed the home's "face".


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

My thoughts for others with front facing garages. I believe a 3 car front facing garage is a MAJOR part of your house and should be treated as such. Generally the garage doors happen at the end of construction when the budget is dwindling and they end up being inexpensive, plain doors that take away from the overall look/feel of the house.

In this case the garages are 1/3 of the front facade and should of had an equal budget spent on them. I don't suggest that Weedy spend this money now, but if you are buying or building and have a front garage, make a budget to get great looking doors that you can enjoy and then, if needed, you already have them for resale.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I agree, chispa.
It almost looks like the garage was an afterthought, as it does not blend well with the rest of the house. There are the garage doors, which you mentioned. And the dormer is of a different material. All that white for both....


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I think your paint and garage doors look fine. You do need some height and color and your planter areas look anemic. I would fertilize the lawn monthly and get it well watered and mowed. I would plant some colorful annuals and add a pot of them on each side of the door on the front step. (Showy petunias look so great in pots and in planter areas.)Knowing that you may be in a zone that will have frost in three months, I would be careful and spend some of my money on shrubs or short trees with colorful leaves. Don't over spend, but just give it a little oomphf.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I don't think a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars worth of slapped-on horticultural "curb appeal" are keeping buyers from buying this high-end property.

It's not that I think the house isn't nice, or even appropriately priced. I just wonder if the curb appeal comment was a place holder for something else - or even nothing more than a different taste in houses. In short a quick, no stress "problem" that stands in for "this buyer decided they didn't like this house."

I just hate to see you chasing comments that aren't truly things that need to be addressed.

Now, personally those huge white garage snout-doors would give me pause. Perhaps the suggestion to repaint them is a good one. It depends on what is typical and expected in your subdivision. However, if I otherwise liked the house, a paint job on the garage doors wouldn't stand in the way of making an offer, I would think.

Also your lawn does look a teensy bit (in the pic you posted) like it has patchy, weedy, flowering stuff in it. The grassy components will look better as the weather cools off some, but you could help it on its way to recovery with a good shot of an organic growth stimulant like liquid kelp. Whenever things are looking a bit too frazzled here I haul out the sprayer and give things a shot of Seacrop. Below is a link to what I use. Because this is a nursery/farm, I buy it in 5 gallon shipments. You may not need as much and there are other suppliers. Don't get the stuff with fish in it -that smells fishy for a week or so. Liquid kelp does not. And being OMRI approved it won't have issues with run-off as I remember you are surrounded by water so I'm sure that is a concern with conventional weed 'n feed products.

How are things moving in your area? Are you keeping a steady eye on prices of sold props near you? Are you still doing showings? Price is what will move it, in the end, I think.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

L.

Here is a link that might be useful: Look for the SeaCrop Liquid Kelp, not the fish!


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

A lot of people commenting that they would paint the garage doors. I guess this is just different taste, but I think white doors are ok. Most garage doors are painted at the factory or are molded in color, and there is no way I would paint it, only to have the paint chip or fade. You're turning a maintenance-free item into something that will need maintenance. I just wouldn't do it.

I also agree that the "lack of curb appeal" could be an easy excuse to offer instead of just saying "this house isn't for me". If you're in the market for a house in this price range, the landscaping is not going to make a difference in whether you buy or not.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I do think the house is possibly lacking in an area that would be considered 'curb appeal'. The house itself is lovely. It is missing something that draws you in and makes you want to go inside. The house looks like it was dropped in the middle of an empty cow pasture. As is, the landscaping isn't right for the look of this house. It might also possibly give the impression that the OP ran out of money and stopped there.

It looks like the view from the house out to the lake is beatiful. If it were my house, I'd want some randomly placed trees near the sides in the backyard to make it my own little utopia. You could keep the openness, but define the limits of what belongs to the house.

I think better landscaping would make the house feel more "finished". It would feel more like a home instead of a house.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I'm in the camp that doesn't let some lackluster foundation beds keep me from buying a house. But I guess this buyer is different. I wanted all of your opinions before I told you the specific feedback, to avoid steering you in one direction or another. Here's exactly what the realtor said:

"The interior of your home is extremely nice, and my client liked it very much. However, the outside was a deal-breaker, unfortunately. To be blunt, it really looks dated and sits very close to the road. Although I have never been a proponent of doing this, you may want to consider painting the pink brick so as to appear more modern. Also, the lot needs a lot of TLC--there is a lot of erosion and there appears to be a lack of investment in any real landscaping (especially trees). You have not asked for my advice, so please take it for what it's worth. I believe that, without some serious attention to the exterior, you will have a very hard time selling this home. The interior, again, is fabulous, but curb appeal will likely keep a lot of people from even walking through the door."

BTW, the erosion he was referring to is a patch towards the front of the property that was pretty steep, and DH got some free fill brought in. That's not completely vegetated, so it does erode in big rainstorms, and DH gets his tractor out and rebuilds it.

Here's a google street view of the property, from soon after we moved in, so you can see there are a couple medium sized oak trees in front.
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We pulled out all the overgrown bushes and landscape rocks and put in perennials and bulbs and some annuals, as well as azalea bushes, but they're still pretty small. It has been somewhat haphazard, and I appreciate the ideas to fill in with bigger stuff. We did just pull some overgrown daylilies out this spring (yeah, I hate "overgrown") but now everything looks sparser. This summer's drought has been tough on the lawn and the flower beds and the property's too big to keep everything watered.

Here are a few springtime close-ups.
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Other responses to your questions/suggestions:
-Way too much land to re-sod. Or keep watered. We can look into some various fertilizing options. The drought's been rough.
-The "dead-looking" thing by the lamppost is an azalea that has grown r-e-a-l-l-y slowly.
-we mulched (dark brown) in April and again last month.
- I swear, I have planted petunias THREE times in that lamppost bed to fill it in. Even with watering, they never took. And they're like the easiest, most bullet-proof annual there is. Don't know what happened.

I guess part of my problem is that I plant thinking of size 10 years down the road, and for staging I need to fill 'er up. We actually have planted some trees (4 fruit trees in the back, a couple maples in the front, a slew of pecan, walnut, and hazelnut on the spare lot), but they were small seedlings (except the fruit trees), so the largest ones are only a few feet tall.

I do agree that the front doesn't pull you into the house. And I want the walk up the front sidewalk to make the potential buyers excited to come in. So thanks for your suggestions so far, and feel free to pipe up with more.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Re: planting advice -- what part of the country are you in? Horticultural zone?

That old saw about all real estate being local applies. Do other homes that are similar to your's have much nicer yards? From the distant houses in your photo, I would say not? It's possible the broker is making more of the potential buyer's comment than is warranted.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The house looks dated and they suggest you paint the brick???? Geez! These people are clowns. Don't pay them any attention.

The landscaped areas could use a bit of tweaking, but I would not go overboard with it.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I just noticed something. The part of the driveway that runs directly in front of the house. Has anyone commented on that? Now that IS something that would be a deal breaker for me. I would not want a driveway right in front of my house when there is plenty of room on the side. And I would not want to pay a couple thousand to tear it all out and resod that area either. I'm not expecting you to tear this out just to sell the house, either. I just wonder if other people may have had the same thoughts.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I know you are very good at DIY. In the close ups I see what they mean with the brick. What is the current trend in your area? Is it something you could mimic with staining the brick or mortar wash it?

I think I agree that it doesn't look high end on the outside and doesn't match the inside. Your plantings doesn't have enough variation in height and size and although my taste is closer to what you have it is probably not helping with fitting with the house as it is more informal. I think you may need to go for a more formal style to fit with the house.

I think for the average house the garage doors are fine, but for high end they are lacking and facing the front is not helping the curb appeal, especially with all the new fancy doors that are out there nowadays.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The landscape appears so barren. Why are there no trees? Did the developer cut down all the trees? I love your house, I remember seeing the interior, but the outside is just too bare.

The property would be a deal-breaker for us. We would not go to the expense of planting property this size which has so little done.

I wouldn't paint anything. The garage doors and the brick jump out because there's nothing to draw your eye away from them. Shrubs, bushes, trees, mulched beds, walkways, stone work, etc. All would incorporate a softness surrounding the house. The whole house sticks out like a 'sore-thumb.'

I would just sell it as is. It might attract people who want to landscape from scratch.

Jane


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Now that we an see more in the closeups, I definitely think you need more vegetation. You need evergreen shrubs up next to your house for year round appeal. I like what kellyeng did to the shrubs except I would use evergreens in place of the orange bushes. I think you can keep some of the bulbs, but you need to add current season flowers for color.

I'm not sure, but you might want to remove the flower bed by the light pole. I think it may just serve to emphasize the short distance from house to road.

You do need a lot more trees. We are required to have certain number of trees in our yard of a certain size. I think ours were probably a minumum of 15' when we planted them. It does add instant curb appeal. Fall is a good time for planting.

Your brick looks tan on my screen. If it is pink, pink is a harder color to sell. Many of the new houses in my neighborhood have painted brick. The brick was paint quality brick. Everyone that painted, painted their brick tan. Not sure that look would work on your house. The houses here also have rock facades for visual enhancement. I think you might be better off just repainting the white trim, doors, etc., to a color that better complements the brick. It would camoflauge the garage doors so they aren't one of the first things you notice when you look at the house.

The bare patch to the left of the house needs to be better camoflauged. I wouldn't continue to park a car there because it will make it look like you don't have enough garage space.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

We're in zone 6.

We have a circular asphalt driveway, which is the "road" that is close to the house in pics. It's between the trees and the house. We added it because the straight driveway that existed when we moved in made it awkward with multiple cars (i.e., guests). There's no street parking.

Here's a close-up of the brick that I've got in my files.
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We can't do anything about the color of the brick (short of painting it, which I'm not willing to do, as that would turn off other buyers), or where it sits relative to the road. There are 8 houses with larger lots like ours along the lake, all closer to the water. Just north of that, there are houses on 1-acre lots that are close to the road, but have sidewalks. Here's a satellite view.
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The bare patch to the left of the driveway has filled in with grass since the photos. We don't park cars there.

I hadn't thought about just grassing in the lamppost bed. Food for thought...


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

You can't do much about the brick, but you can paint that front door. The landscaping does look sparse. Part of the problem I see is that the landscaped area to the right side of the house is disproportionately small. The flowers are beautiful, but they will not be there in a couple more months. If this was my house I would create another landscaped area to the right of the sidewalk and connect to an area to the right side that was at least twice as wide.

The one following the walkway might have simple flowers with the larger one on the right anchored by a small tree, some low growing evergreens, and a few flowering shrubs.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I simply can't imagine having a lot that size with a front load garage. That is a smaller, cheaper home detail and it really detracts from the upscale appeal of the home. Yes, it would be a complete deal breaker to me to have that much room and a front load garage.

I'm guessing that there's no economical way that you'd be able to rebuild it as a side load, so the next best thing is to alter what's there to be more appealing. I'd contact the door manufacturer and see if you could swap out one of the panels for some attractive windows, and then have the whole thing painted. You might even consider "shadow painting" the current panels to give them more depth. That's the cheap solution. The expensive solution is to replace them with something like the faux carriage door garage doors.





I'd also paint the trim some other color than white. The white is pretty stark against the pink brick, and that's adding to the cold feeling. I don't think you need to stray far down into tan though. Just do a cream that has more warmth to it. And definitely paint the front door red!


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

PS, azaleas are shade plants, so it's not too surprising that yours is so very unhappy in the hot sun surrounded by pavement. It needs to go on the north side of the house in the shade and you need something tough and colorful there like nandina and some variegated euonymous with liriope as a ground cover and then a couple of spots for colorful annuals.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

carriage doors

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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I would not change a thing on the outside of your house itself. To me brick is not dated, especially not your color. Front facing garage doors would not deter me from buying a house. In fact, in our area it would be hard to find a house with side facing garage doors (maybe because properties are smaller and it would be considered wasted space to lead a driveway around the house). I would not replace perfectly looking neutral garage doors (with to me dated looking recommendations). Yes, color on your front door would add some charm, but I would also leave that blank slate to the buyers.
I would definitely try to add some landscaping. "Kellyeng" picture-suggestions look perfect to me. I see your front facing windows are low to the ground so they might look overgrown quickly, so this is tricky. Too late to add some serious landscaping (big trees, bushes) and I would not worry about that now. As a buyer I would like to add my own touches (if the price overall is right).


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I'm confused (doesn't take much). Did you add a circular drive to the front of the property? The street view shows a large expanse of lawn in front of the house. In your picture, I can see a road or driveway fairly close to your front door.

At the bare minimum freshen up your mulch and buy some large pots for either side of your front door and fill them with inexpensive annuals.

If you want to get fancy, (as mentioned above) enlarge the bed on the right side of the house. Buy an inexpensive maple or bradford pear to put on the edge of the bed and help balance that side of the house. Fifteen years from now the tree will be too close to the house but you won't have to worry about it.

I wouldn't put too much credence in one realtor opinion what is dated or not. But your lawn and beds do look like they need some tlc.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

What does the exterior of other high end homes look like in your area? What about the competition as in what is for sale?

I think that would be a good starting point to look at and then see what is feasible for you to do.

I agree I wouldn't paint the brick.

If I bought a brick home and didn't like the color I would look at staining or mortar washing first as I wouldn't want the maintenance of painted brick.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

What does the property look like from the street with your new circle driveway?

I like the photoshopped planters beside the front door and love the red door.

A neighbor of ours added a front entry 3 car garage and planted a hedge in the yard in front of it so the attention is on the house, not the row of garage doors. It looks like you could plant some understory shrubs around that tree near the garage and do something like that.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Alas, I think the white is doing you no favors. The white doors surrounded by white trim, and the white pediment, all make an unfortunately cheap builders' grade impression. Are they vinyl or wood?

Is there any way to lose the colonial pediment over the door or replace it with another style? I may be an anomaly, but it reads very 1970's to my eyes.

Trees trees trees. Without any trees nearer the house, it looks like it might be wind-blown and hot when you step out of the car, and an unprotected house always calls to mind the expense of heating/cooling.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I would invest in some bigger trees. I would NOT paint the front door red, especially if there is a pink tone to your brick. Can you take another picture standing back further so we can see the oak trees? (assuming they're still there)


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

There is no defect that price can't cure ...

At this point, if you want to sell quickly, I would "spend" my money on reducing the price. If you aren't in a rush to sell then do some of the plantings suggested in other posts above.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Some shrubs that are in the 4' and 6' range. maybe some 8' or so trees such as magnolia which are stunning.

Pompass Grass would look nice and is pretty inexpensive. Not sure if you can get some tall enough, but possibly. Not even sure if this would grow in your area.

One issue is the house is tall and flat the shrubs are short. So the house looks like a flat wall.

Those 2 trees that are farther out front are too far out to make a difference in curb appeal.

Too bad you dont have a covered portico, as that would break up the flatness. But this is not something to add at this point, so make due with 6' shrubs.

You might even take the far 2 front corners and wrap the islands farther out and add one tall shrub in each corner approx 4 feet from the corner with where the shrub would be partially on the side of the home by a 2 feet. You could go 8' with that shrub and have 2 matching specimens. Like arborvitea or something like that.

That car that is parked to the left of the home. You need to move that car elsewhere while the home is for sale. It draws attention away from the home and does not look good where it is parked. If you cant garage it, then get offsite storage.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I'm not sure painting the trim a different color is feasible. The white around the windows is all part of the vinyl window, not extra trim. Then we've still got the soffits and gutters....

I'm ambivalent on the red door. Concerned about it looking good with the brick color on the one hand. But then I've spent most of today driving around Massachusetts towns where everyone's got facades like mine and there are a lot of doors painted to match the shutters that look nice. But not much brick, almost all siding.

I'm not home so can't post photos that I don't have on my laptop, but here's a googlemaps satellite view that shows the circle drive.
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Boy, I cringe at the thought of planting trees in the landscape beds. I even steer away from bushes that will get above the window edges. Gotta remember I'm staging to sell, not to live. :-)

You know, in re-reading the realtor's note, I'm thinking that the buyer didn't like some of the non-remediable characteristics of the house exterior (brick color? front-load garage? front door?) and the additional comments about landscaping are more the realtor's suggestions. So there's probably nothing that would make them want the house. But we can dress up the landscaping to be more colorful and welcoming for those who aren't offended by the brick.

The pediment and pilasters are plastic. Any thoughts on painting/changing up the front door surround to kick it up a notch? My long-term vision was to change the front entry so it had a cover over it, something like this, but maybe taller:

I'll track down some photos of comps' front yards and try to post them.


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RE: Need help Drought Ravaged Pathway

Hi WeedyAcres. My over-active imagination envisions a dour faced, grey liveried Matron answering the door with a curt "They have been expecting you. Follow me. Now."

The exterior is austere and a tiny (teensy tiny little) bit intimidating. The drought has dried up all of its earlier charm from the Spring.

I would call the bricks Sunrise rather than pink. With the expanse of blue sky, it really reminds me of early morning colours. Almost "Big Sky" country.

Cas66Ragtop may be right, the garage doors may be a baked enamel finish. If it is, it's very difficult to paint. We took Mom & Dad's doors into the auto body painting booth and sprayed them (after degumming & stripping exterior latex...yuck!)

For your immediate area, what are some native late Summer, early Autumn flowering plants? To create a softer, more welcoming pathway, "protected from the chill grey of the circular drive", plant along the edge from the lamp post to the front door. Two oversized urns or vases filled with native plants flanking the door.

A wrought iron bench where the "stone sculpture" is now would add more welcome. Move the stone to the right-hand side of the house. The "stone sculpture" on that side looks forlorne and lonely ;-) You could set the smaller on top of the larger. Maybe a third smaller in a deeper shade. Purposeful stone sculpture.

Add a rock garden around the lamp post, too. Rocks are our friends! Again, add a few native seasonal flowering plants. Not too many, it's a rock garden.

If worse comes to worse, spray paint the lawn. Yes, spray paint. In a gallon-capacity garden pump sprayer mix 1-gal distilled water with 1/4 jar Wilton paste food dye. Spray. Continue mixing/spraying until all of the areas you want greened-up are greened-up.

I learned this trick from a maintenance worker at a golf & country club. He does this before photo shoots. It lasts several days to a week depending on the humidity/dew points and rain. Completely non-toxic to plants, animals, birds, fish & amphibians. Bees & beneficial bugs, too.

Well, you could be different and spray paint it shocking pink. That would make the bricks look more trad brick colour ;-)


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

of course the taller landscaping is to SELL, not for you to live with those long term. The home is too tall for the tiny (short) shrubs that exist now. You might not like shrubs that are taller than a window sill, but you really need taller landscaping to help sell the home. You should have a blend of tall and short landscaping. the taller stuff goes in front of the brick, not always in front of a window.

It's the view from the road that is bad because the tall home and super short landscaping. flowers isnt going to fix that and neither is paint.

Go see the comps. Most will have taller landscaping unless they are 1 story homes.

You could benefit from a landscape designer with instructions for inexpensive and sudden changes to help sell the home. this could be done for a reasonable price if you buy the correct (taller) plans. Not a lot of them will be needed. Your current landscape package is that of a starter home, IMO. It's a big drawback.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I agree with sweet tea, and some of this will just echo what she, and others, have said.

I know that I've seen your name a lot when reading posts, but don't remember/know what your financial situation is regarding ability to spend several thousand $$, if necessary.

As several have said, check comps and what's on the market to see what your competition is, and then, I'd consider the following:

Since you are in Massachusetts and already had thought about it, I would think having a roof over the front door would be a big plus, both from a weather standpoint and to give the front elevation more dimension and interest. It will give a much better feel to the place as people are entering and leaving.

Do you have nurseries that sell to landscapers that are open to the public where you can walk around and look at the larger shrubs and trees available there to help you get a better vision of what can be? I found a couple of places like that were much more helpful in planning than looking at the local retail places where I could only get perennials, medium to small shrubs, and small trees.

Look out every window of the house and see if there's something in the view that you'd like to block with a tree (telephone poles, other houses, someone's driveway, a blah view, etc.), and decide if you want to block it always (evergreen, maybe) or just block the sun (deciduous). Then spend some time standing between each window and tree position to figure out how far out to put each tree. I wouldn't put trees too close to the house.

Since the lot is large and bare, think about planting in groups of 3 or 5 trees, or even 7 if it's shrubs. You probably don't want to block any views of the lake as you approach the house. Based on the various pictures & aerial views, I think I'd put a smaller tree (25') in the planting bed with the light post to draw attention away from the white garage doors, another similar sized tree in a new expanded bed out to the right and front (NE?) from the house, at least 3 taller trees to the left of the driveway and the garage, and 1 to 3 more trees in the area inside the circle drive.

Once you figure out the trees, it's easier to decide on bushes. There are quite a few low growing, spreading shrubs that love sun. Plant them in groups of 3 or 5.

At the very least, I'd have large beds with several shrubs to the NE & SE corners of the house to make a transition between the bulk of the house and the flatness of the grass. It also would help draw attention away from the stark white of the garage doors.

Like you, I would not want to paint either the brick or the factory finished garage doors or trim. So use the landscaping to draw people's eyes to something pretty.

I'd definitely paint the door something other than white. Go on one of the websites that lets you put different colors of paint on exteriors and play around a little with the door. Since the red might be iffy with the brick color, try medium to dark brown--something that might look like a wood stain, or whatever you think might work.

My lot has lots of trees, but I still found that you can't landscape just with flowers. You have to build the bones of the garden with small trees, the right shrubs for the right place, and THEN add the perennials!

If you can afford to do it then it should help to sell the place, and faster.

Anne


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

By all means add some shrubs.

I know Zillow's "z-estimates" aren't always spot on, but not sure a few shrubs is going to take it up from there to your price?

I know when people are looking some of them at least will go on Zillow, and they are going to see that "z-estimate". Is it really worth that much more? And is Zillow really really off base?

I know you've done a lot to the inside, but these days one doesn't always get it all back.

Some of the realtors on here may be able to advise you on that better.

Good Luck!


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The house on the left is quite similar to your's, with fairly minimal plants in front. Nonetheless, it is more appealing. I would definitely paint the front door, and I would experiment (photoshop) with removing the shutters.
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revised image

I flipped the image - makes it easier to compare. Also noticed that the color for the garage doors and second floor dormer is more cohesive on the left image.
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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The interior is an 8-8.5. The exterior is a 2-3. The two do not match at all, either in detail, or in the quality of material used.

More "curb appeal" can't make up for a lack of architecture, or the lack of detail or the use of lower cost materials in the facade. The exterior says McMansion, not "estate". The plastic door surround and shutters need to go. Plastic windows aren't appropriate to a home in that price range either. A front load garage on an estate sized lot is a huge architectural error that no amount of carriage door "camouflage" will keep people from noticing. A large eroded area with no grass and a large lawn full of weeds and hardly any trees or shrubs does not equate to being priced in the upper 5% of the market.


The location on the "wrong" side of the lake also means that you're also basing your asking price on incorrect comps here. You are going to have to drop your price significantly to make up for these irremediable defects.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Where did weedyacres say that she is on the wrong side of the lake? I must have missed that.

I wouldn't take off the shutters. That other house has decorative brick corners so shutters wouldn't look right. weedyacres house doesn't have that so needs some kind of detail to break up such a large amount of brick.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Listen, you have a traditional style, pretty house. The trim is just fine with that period architecture. Don't repaint the trim and don't paint the brick. I suspect everyone prefers a garage entry that is not in the front of the house, but that design I find comes with homes built against an alley or with a very large lot that allows for a entry drive that goes around the house to a garage entry on the side or the back. You have a lake and want to have that as the view from the back. It makes sense.

I think I would plant grass in the lamp post planter and then you have removed one of your problem areas. I sometimes see a circle of colorful annuals around the base of the lamp post, maybe one or two feet depth in a donut shape.

As someone said, azaleas prefer shade and only a little morning sun and don't like to dry out. So move the plants from that lamp post area and fill in the sparse planters. You do need height in the front with some trees (close to the house, not up against it) or taller shrubs against the brick. I think you are suffering from the heat and drought with your yard and planters, and I suspect newer homes in your area are having the same problem. Perhaps that is a situation that buyers understand this year.

I like your house, and I would not hesitate to buy it. I know I can easily change the planters and shrubs and trees myself to my own taste. So I urge you not to spend too much nor take on too much to try to get more curb appeal. Some color, some sturdy shrubs, a tree or three, voila. I think buyers in your price range tend to like to re do everything to their taste anyhow, so don't over do it.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Here are some photos of landscaping of other homes for sale in the upper price range.

They don't show much up-close detail, but I intend to drive around a bit tomorrow and take photos of stuff I like.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Note that they all appear to have side entry garages.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

"Note that they all appear to have side entry garages."

And shrubs taller than 18".


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

They all look like much more mature yards, and thus older, established homes. Love the gorgeous, tall blue spruce. I think the last house pictured seems a little newer by the size of the shrubs. Nevertheless, they all have far more curb appeal than yours does because of their landscaping and the lush growth of their plants. That first house looks as if it has a circular drive. They have a far nicer finish on the drive than your blacktop, for future reference.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

If the eroded area is that large tan-colored spot at the bottom of the Googlemaps view, it needs to be fixed. It looks fairly large, and as if the erosion runs down to the driveway.

A buyer looking at that is thinking, "Uh-oh, there's something wrong there. How much will it cost to find out what's wrong and repair it?" It doesn't matter about the fill and how your DH fixes it every time it rains. What matters is that it looks "broken" to a prospective buyer. And it's visible from the street as the buyer drives up.

My suggestions would be to paint the front door a nice, glossy black, to match the shutters. But don't paint the brick.

As for the planting, whatever you have in the lamp post bed is doing you no favors. It looks small and sparse and out of place. Re-edge the bed with stone or brick to replace the worn-looking wood and stone (?) that's there. Even a dark green ground cover would look better than what's there.

Then extend the beds in front of the house and add taller plants. I like the idea a PP had about putting an iron bench in the larger bed. True, probably no one will ever sit there, but it would look inviting.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Yes, they have side load garages, but I can't do anything about that. Or the asphalt. :-)

All the houses pictured above are actually newer than ours. And they're all higher price points as well (though I'd be well-advised to landscape aspirationally).

I spent some time at a local nursery yesterday. If I come up with a basic design/layout they'll help me pick plants to fill the spots. I need help with the design/layout, so I'm going to post in the landscape design forum and see if they can help me come up with something.

I'm leaning towards turning the lamp post bed into grass and relocating those plants elsewhere. Also, enlarging the smaller bed on the right so I can put a tree in that won't block the windows or be too close to the house.

Still up in the air on the door.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

You could probably just show the nursery a few photos such as you posted above, and they would do the rest. You could be less personally involved in the design, since the plan is for someone else to enjoy it, not you.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Be forewarned, the landscape forum has a very different vibe than most of the other forums on this site. You will probably get more specific advice in your regional gardening forum.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I like the red front door someone photoshopped.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The couple of posts so far on the Landscape Design forum, seem to be downplaying the need for doing much with your landscaping. Some who post on that forum are landscaping professionals (who sometimes can get rather snarky if it looks like a poster is trying to get too much free information that will keep professionals from getting some work); at the least the posters are gardeners, so of course they all would rather do it themselves. If you don't get more helpful responses there, you might consider posting on the shrub forum. Those people usually can also advise about trees.

Anne


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The couple of posts so far on the Landscape Design forum, seem to be downplaying the need for doing much with your landscaping. Some who post on that forum are landscaping professionals (who sometimes can get rather snarky if it looks like a poster is trying to get too much free information that will keep professionals from getting some work); at the least the posters are gardeners, so of course they all would rather do it themselves. If you don't get more helpful responses there, you might consider posting on the shrub forum. Those people usually can also advise about trees.

Anne


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The easiest remediation here to all of these issues is to lower the price. Price cures any amount of "defects".


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Don't go nuts. Invest in a few pops of color and style.

Plant a couple of tall urns with a conical shaped evergreen shrub to flank the front door. You can get four to five feet in height overnight.

Add a few substantially sized pots filled with evergreen perennials (in case it takes a little more time to sell) and blooming annuals along the walk or in the flowerbeds--to add height, interest, and style.

In another week or so, line your walk with soccer ball sized pumpkins...or something else classy autumn that goes with the brick.

I'd paint that door in a heartbeat. Black to match the shutters, dark red that coordinates with the brick, deep sagey green, cobalt, plum...something with pop. And a wreath.

Put a ton of flowers in the lamp circle.

Keep everything watered, mowed, edged, and tidy.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The erosion problem is a serious defect and an ongoing deferred maintenance issue. It should be fixed now.

There's no way to really judge one property alone. If most homes in your neighborhood or market area have front-load garages then yours doesn't detract from the property value. And if the other lots around you have a similar lack of landscaping, that will not hurt your comparative value, either. But someone might not want to live in a neighborhood with no trees, or in a house with no mature trees, so that would affect the desirability of the property to sellers. The best you can do at this point, IMO, is to paint your door, keep your yard mowed and edged, anduse bedding plants to their best effect. If your neighbors have trees, you either need to plant some or offer a landscaping allowance in your price.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

For the record, we don't have an erosion "problem." We have some newish dirt (brand new in the googlemap view above, which probably dates to Feb/Mar) that hasn't fully grassed/weeded over yet. DH had it brought in because he wanted it flatter in that area. Some of it has washed down, DH has scraped it back up a few times, and it'll all be fine. It slopes down toward the lake, away from the house. In a couple more months it won't even be noticeable. Yeah, in retrospect he shouldn't have done that so close to listing. But that's water under the bridge now, so it's just a matter of letting nature heal it.

We drove around a bit yesterday afternoon looking at front beds and door colors (a lot of white/white and tan/tan). Most everyone around has doors that match their trim. We saw a couple black doors with black shutters, and it was more appealing than I expected.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Depending on where you live, it might be getting near the time when you could seed bare areas with annual ryegrass, for appearance and dirt stabilization. It germinates quickly, and lives through the winter in some zones.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

At this time of year, I wouldn't invest much money in annuals. Spend any landscape dollars on small shrubs and some hardscape, like rocks and a bench, as some people mentioned. A simple, flat trellis in a planter against the house between the two overhead garage doors would break up that space, and look good even in mid winter when nothing is actually growing on it.

Planters on either side of the front door could be large and contain mums and/or topiary evergreens. The greenery will look great all winter.

How about a seasonal wreath on the door for that warm, fuzzy feeling?

I vote for painting the garage doors. Use oil primer and then latex satin finish and you'll be fine.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

"For the record, we don't have an erosion 'problem.'"

You know you don't have an erosion problem. Your buyers think you do. The feedback from the realtor specifically mentioned the erosion--"the lot needs a lot of TLC--there is a lot of erosion."

I'm going to be pretty blunt here. You have an eroded spot that is visible as buyers drive up to your house. Buyers have no way of knowing it is temporary and will be gone in a few months.

What buyers see is a problem. It's like a water stain on your living room ceiling. Buyers don't know the stain was caused by Cousin Loulou's little boy filling the tub and floating toy boats in it and it overflowed just that one time and that all it needs is a coat of Kliz and some fresh paint.

Buyers see a water stain and think, "Is that a roof leak or leaky plumbing? Either way, this house is in bad repair. Let's move on to the next one."

With your yard, buyers see the erosion, and start thinking the house is in bad shape before they even enter the house. They wonder what is causing the erosion and how much it will cost to find out what's wrong and how much it will cost to fix it. Is this what you want people thinking as they walk in the front door to view the house, if they even make it that far?

You need to stage the yard the way you would stage the interior. The first thing you do in the interior is clean and declutter and repair. So that's what you need to do to the outside--mow and trim and edge and fix anything that looks "broken." If you don't want to sell the house until the eroded spot fixes itself, fine. If you'd like to sell before that, you may need to fix it.

Get what's there looking the best it can--keep the cars in the garage, as well as all yard equipment and supplies. Refresh the mulch, if that would help.

Then you can work on the fun part--staging the yard with new plants and maybe a trellis and a bench and big planters with topiaries. But all the stage dressing in the world isn't going to help if the underlying structure looks worn down and battered.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

camlan: I didn't mean to imply that we didn't need to do anything about the new dirt, just that it wasn't indicative of a long-standing erosion problem with the lot. We've seeded it twice and planted ground cover. But I can't make stuff grow overnight. Maybe I need to get out the green dye. :-)


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Why not put some sod on the bare dirt area?? If selling you don't really have time to wait for things to fill in or seed to take.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

LOL about the green dye. I've seen people here spray something green on their dead summer lawns and while I laughed, it didn't look half bad. I have a neighbor who puts silk flowers in her flower pots outside too. It's way too hot here for most potted plants to survive anyway.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

As a FSBO house, without a realtor scheduling their day and making suggestions, you can bet that everyone will do a drive by first before deciding to call you.

The exterior suggests a house that hasn't been well loved, just one that's been sort of minimally maintained. If you looked only at the yard, you'd think that the house was just a few months past construction and not 15 years old. Since the outside hasn't grown and changed with the times and isn't maintained to the point of perfection why should a buyer think that the inside will be any different?

The grass is full of clover and weeds, get rid of the sad bleached railroad tie, the beds need to be filled with plants, mulch and edged with border grass or metal (look how good the photoshop with the autumn trees makes it look and thats largely because of mulch and a crisp edging line) and your driveway and walks should be edged to perfection every week with the weeedeater or edger.

People know that landscaping is a big investment and so should be figured into your asking price. The front yard is as minimal as it gets and there doesn't appear to be anything at all on the sides or the back.

You've invested a lot of sweat equity and love into the interior of the home, but to offset that, you've saved over the years on your exterior re plants, walks, watering systems, lighting etc...(not counting the lovely deck).

When I followed the link that was somewhere and saw the house on Trulia (I think) it gave your purchase price in 07 was 350K why are you up almost 50% in your asking price now?

Agreeing with others, I'd paint the front door, this is such a minimal investment in time and money that I'd be doing it this second!

Planters (BIG ones filled tall with various heights and textures of plants) for your front door and between your garage bays are an investment that you can take with you when you move.

Your interior is clean and nice, but the weedy yard, stark exterior and the high price won't draw people in. If you had a realtor you could rely on him/her to drag people in past the exterior.... without that you've got to make a better drive by impression or drop the price significantly to compete.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I"m sorry.... I didn't mean the "drag people" in to sound like that.... truly.

I should have said something like encourage people to look past the bare exterior.

That sounded really mean and I didn't intend it that way.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Trees. You need trees.... Large big trees. They are expensive. All your comps have them. They give stateliness to a property.
Unfortunately, your house looks lonely without neighbors. You also do not have the look of a manor house in a huge lot with mature landscaping with a large driveway leading up to it. You can't do much about the location but you need to be realistic about that in price and advertising. Are there more houses expected to go in near you

If I was buying for my family, I would want more neighbors for my kids to walk to or a house on a large lot without anyone nearby. You are neither.

Again, mature trees do wonders for the curb appeal. That is why really expensive places build around existing trees even though the cost of building goes up.

Lots of what holly spring holds true where we live. Don't know your local market so if true or not.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Big trees: There wasn't much in the way of old growth here, because it's former strip mine property. There are some trees down closer to the lake, and we have cleared away the "weedy acres" we originally bought to expose the "good trees" but none of that is near the house. I'll take some more photos this weekend to show context. There is no way we've got the budget to bring in huge trees. I got sticker shock when I found $175 price tags on 5' tall ones at the nursery last weekend. We do have a friend with 10 acres in the country that will let us dig up some of his medium-sized ones, so we'll look into doing that.

Price: We got a deal on the house when we bought because it was weedy on the outside and ugly on the inside. To find our listing price, we had an appraiser do a blind appraisal (i.e., not influenced by our expectations or a contract price) and he came up in the low 5's. Justification? Complete transformation of the inside, plus added square footage and large deck. We won't make back all the money we put into it, and aren't trying to price it accordingly.

I absolutely agree: we worked on the inside and decided to sell before we completed the outside. We did a good amount of prep work: brush hogged 6 acres of scrub brush, pulled out the POs original bushes, planted small trees, put in a garden. Lots of stuff on our wish list that we never got to. If it's going to sit on the market now, we might as well get to work on it, within reasonable budget limits.

We mow and edge every week (when the grass is growing). The weeds have just thrived this year with the drought. Not rationalizing, I know it looks like crap, just couldn't do anything about it. This probably just sounds lazy, but seriously, it was a tough few months that only just let up.

There are only 2 (~3-4 acre) lots left in our part of the lake. So it won't get filled in and crowded like it is on the other side of the lake. Those that want closer neighbors won't be our target buyers, because our property won't suit them.

I've got a draft design going for the beds, and I'm this close to painting the door (still wavering between red and black). This weekend, alas, will be consumed re-staining the deck, and next weekend we'll be out of town gutting our last out-of-state rental to put it on the market. I might be able to get DH to re-shape the beds next week to get them ready for some re-planting. This feels so slow....


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

RE: We do have a friend with 10 acres in the country that will let us dig up some of his medium-sized ones, so we'll look into doing that. ... not sure how big you mean as "medium-sized", but I don't recommend wasting your time doing this. Trees grown "wild" have a much bigger root system than those prepared for sale by garden nurseries. You won't get enough root, and the tree will slowly die. Wild trees are also shaped differently: spruce or pine have a rangier look than those pruned for sale. Honestly, it's not worth it.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Have you actually had several real estate agents do some comps for the home as is? Many will do that as part of a prospecting package to get your business. It's going to take a lot more than pots of shrubbery and a bed of annuals to bring such a basic looking house with low cost construction materials up to it's "comps" here. Either you are really in the wrong price range, or you're going to have to spend at least 50K on landscaping just to price it where it is and have it be competitive with the comps.

I'm reminded too much of The Princess Bride here. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Yes, you've done a lot of "upgrading" to the interior, but the days of adding the price of those upgrades to the purchase price as "added value" are long over, if that was ever truly anything other than an HGTV fiction. You cannot "upgrade" a mid range home to an upper end home without addressing some of the major exterior issues here, such as the front load garage, vinyl door surround and windows, as well as some major landscaping. That is NOT to recommend that you tackle any of those projects as there wouldn't be any payback to them. It's to recommend that you have several experienced local realtors talk to you about appropriate comps to your home in it's current condition.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

"I like your house, and I would not hesitate to buy it. I know I can easily change the planters and shrubs and trees myself to my own taste."

I second this. I wouldn't want the seller putting in a ton of greenery that I might not like (or have to water). Especially with the drought this year.

As far as the front door, I think white is ok. If you don't like it you might want to take a peek at the articles below before you dig out the paintbrush.

Links that might be useful:

fengshui.about.com/b/2012/08/16/feng-shui-of-your-main-door-choose-the-feng-shui-colors-wisely.htm

redlotusletter.com/sell-your-house-with-feng-shui-9-ways-to-help-it-sell-faster-and-easier/


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I think your house is lovely, if a little ungrounded. Some substantial-height landscaping would help with that. It does have a little bit of a "plunked down in a field" look that sometimes happens. I think you can fix that fairly inexpensively--since large trees are expensive, you might not want to do that, but I would get as much height for the money as I could possibly pull off--those can go on the sides, possibly one in the front, closer to the road than the house. Then fill that in with some other stuff and finally a pop of color out near the light thing to give it a bit more dimension front to back. It will pull the eye forward and give the front view more depth. You could also try painting the door but only if you really want to. Flowers in front of the big boulder thing. I'd stick with white flowers if you can, or maybe red. No need to go crazy. It really does look great!


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Also, some kind of ornamental grass like liriope would be good to border the outside of the walkway leading up to your front door.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

A lot of people here seem to be really concerned with the front garage, but most lake houses I have seen are front entry. What type are the other houses on your lake? If front entry, I can't see where that would detract from your value, and comps should reflect it.

As for the lack of vegetation, when I see a house with new little trees and shrubs, I assume it's a new house. So maybe that's a plus. If anything, plant some little trees and get a head start for the next owner. You can plant some medium sized trees from your friend's acreage, and they will look fine until next spring when most of them won't bud out. And then the new owners will remember you for the backache you gave them digging out those dead trees. lol


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I usually lurk on this forum. I think as one of the above posters mentioned, a couple of conifers in urn pots would give you some height. I planted two that frame my doorway, and they are as tall as the roof now. I decorate them with lights at Christmas time. Red geraniums in pots will bloom this time of year. I plant mine in compost, (helps save water,) and I have them in windowboxes. If someone would give you some trees, it's worth a try. Citrus also do well in the heat, and they look nice in landscaping. Oranges and lemons will add color in the winter, if you buy trees with fruit. Same with pineapple guava. The leaves have a nice silvery tinge. I like the idea of pumpkins, too. There are some heirloom winter squashes that are also beautiful. They will keep through May. An arrangement of them would be pretty. If you know someone artistic, maybe they will help you. I worked as a dancer, but it turns out I have a knack for landscaping. It's a lot like dance:the formations in choreography. Tall ones in the back, short ones in the front, mediums in the middle. Maybe a birdbath and feeder. I have a lot of sunflowers and four o'clocks in bloom this time of year. They can take the heat. Mature trees do really add a majestic quality.I'm not sure what you could do about that. Poplars and fruitless mulberries grow quickly and are drought tolerant. I agree that a wreath on the door would be a nice touch. Lavender and rosemary are also drought tolerant, and they add texture, scent, and an etheric quality.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I just realized you are in MA. I'm sorry...I'm in So California. Those plants won't work for you. Well, some of them will.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I'm not in MA (I was traveling on business there a few weeks ago). I'm in the Midwest. Still no citrus, though. :-(


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

OK, how'd we do?
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Summary of the changes:
-Removed lamppost bed and replaced it with grass, transplanting everything in it to other places in the beds.
-Moved all azaleas to the north side of the house
-Planted crape myrtles on LH and RH side of the walkway to the door (also put one on the LH corner of the garage)
-Enlarged RH bed, added lilac tree, bench, mums, and pansies
-Added pots with evergreens on either side of the door
-Consolidated plantings in the LH bed (grouped dianthus, daylilies), added burning bush (great fall color)
-Deadheaded coneflowers
-Added another round of mulch

Amazingly (to me), we were able to do all of this for about $400. The tree was $82 (end of season clearance), the bench was a $25 CL find, and tis the season for $2 quarts of mums. We re-used the edging stones.

Plus we came up with an idea for "hillbilly sod" to fill in the front. We've got 7 acres, no? So we just used the tractor to pull some sod out of the back 40 and bring it up front. We did that on the front edge of the "erosion problem" area as well, to hold the dirt in.

Still plan to paint the front door black--DH is completely sold on it. And there's still a blank spot on the back side of the bench. I'm thinking of perhaps thinning out the irises and planting some back there. Eventually the tree will shade them out, but that's the next owner's fun.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

It looks really nice!! BUT... that tree you planted is dead. Get your money back. It should be fully leafed out at this time of year. Scratch the bark with your fingernail and see if there is any green showing.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The tree had leaves on it when I bought it, but 100 miles on the highway bringing it home blew them all off. :-p There are signs that it's re-budding, though I'm not completely sure if they do that in the Fall.

BTW, I wanted to post some before/after photos showing the extent of the brush-clearing that Mr. Weedy has done over the past few years.

Shortly after we moved in (view from across the lake, looking at the left side of the house):
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Today (room(s) addition, deck addition, clearing everything but the "good" trees:
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There is one more small patch of scrubby trees/brush that could use a mowing down. You can also see the current state of the "erosion problem" area. It needs a good haircut and there are some gulleys on the steep part that need to have some dirt cover brought in, but it's making (slow) progress.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Very nice! That's great that you did it for so little money. I'm inspired to work on my front garden now. I love the conifers in pots. Those should grow fast. I have a couple in the ground, flanking my door. Let us know how things go. I hope you get an offer soon!


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Definitely looks better, and I love your "hillbilly sod" idea.

This will sound like a smart-xss question, but I'm sincere in asking it: Why remove the brush? It seems like it was growing despite the drought, and to my eyes, it looked attractive.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I like the brush too. There were nice native plants and shrubs in there. the kind that dont need water or fertilizer and the kind that butterflies and rabbits and such live in.

It was maintenance free.

Now it is grass that needs to be maintained.

I would pass on the property just because of all the grass. I prefer properties with native landscaping due to wildlife and due to lower maintenance. I wonder how many other buyers feel the same.

Hopefully you leave the last few natives.

Anyway, the new landscaping in front is a vast improvement and you did a great job. Need an arborivitea (evergreen) or pampass grass(leave it tall all winter) or something that is green and tall in that corner. Where the leafless tree is. It will give height in winter. Arborvitea and pampass grass are cheap.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

In the last photo above that shows the grass on the side.

I see a tall evergreen/shrub in the front corner of the house, next to the garage.

Did you remove that shrub?


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Looks much better. Great job!

I still think you need some evergreen bushes such as boxwood or dwarf yupon holly as it will soon look very bare again with cooler weather. Remember these are not for you, but for it to look good even without snow on the ground.

I do have to agree I prefer the naturalization in the before pic due to more private looking, but not much you can do about that now as anything else would just look messy at this point.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I also much prefer the "before" pic of the native plants. While it wouldn't put me off buying such a property, I would be sad that it was clearcut, and would replant hoping that the wildlife would return. I suppose lots of people like lawn, so it won't likely affect your sale.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

It's much better. But, still, compared to the others in your price range, it went from an F to a D. Still below average, but not failing. You gotta have some evergreens for winter interest, and you also need a tall evergreen interest on the right hand side. That would take it to a D+. If the evergreen were large enough, it might even take it to a C-.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Why did you have to drive 100 miles to get a common cherry tree? The nurseyman should ahve told you that the leaves would have dried out and die.
It does look better though. Have you considered lowering the price or exposing it to more qualified buyers?


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Wow, I'm amazed that so many of you prefer the overgrown look of weedy acres. It was scraggly and ugly, not cool and wooded, and blocked the view to the lake. None of the other lots on the lake have "native" vegetation; so it actually matches the neighborhood better now. That said, I guess you can never please everyone. :-/

The camera angle in the "after" side view does appear to have an evergreen bush in the corner of the house, but in actuality that's a large bush way over on the spare lot.

I didn't drive 100 miles for that lilac tree, my business is 100 miles away and there's a nursery next door to our factory. I just took it home with me.

We've got a sprig of pampas grass on the back 40. We'll look at transplanting it to behind the bench.

We haven't considered a price drop at this point. I think the bigger challenge is traffic, since we're not in the MLS. We've had 5 1/2 showings and only 1 1/2 were realtor-driven. We might have to bite the bullet and play the over-priced commission game to get over that hurdle.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

It may not seem so overpriced if the services offered can produce results that you can not.
I think why the removal of the shrubs is coming across as a negative is because it really emphasizes the "dropped in the field" look. But if it was the only way to open up the waterview, you really didn't have a choice.
Just wondering... how do you have 1/2 a showing?
And, did you get feedback from the "buyers"?


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Weedy, I think this is an example of where the seller's taste might differ from that of the majority of buyers.

I can tell from your previous commentary (not wanting anything to grow taller than the front windows, etc) that you are not a fan of larger, more mature vegetation. That's totally fine, but I think you need to bite the bullet and consider that this kind of greenery is what attracts many people and grounds a house in its surroundings -- especially a large house billed as an 'estate', which implies years of landscaping and heritage trees.

Your choices so far have been really cautious, small, and sparse, and the rather radical brush-clearing has made them appear even more so. (Was it not possible to clear a nice walkway/wooden step path down to the water and the dock? That might be optimally attractive on such an acreage.)

Provided that it's the landscaping holding buyers off (and that's an assumption that may/may not be true at all), I'd invest in a few really big inexpensive yews or evergreens or such. You need height, especially on that blind side of the house facing the water; it's just not very attractive without more windows or something to cover the expanse of brick.

Good luck! I'm confident the right buyers are out there for you, but you may indeed have to hook up with a realtor & the MLS to draw them in.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I am amazed you haven't taken other people's advice and spent tens of thousands of dollars to turn the front load garage into a side load, paint the brick, or replace the colonial facade! Big mistake! LOL - I am joking.

Your landscape area looks a lot nicer now, not that it looked terrible before. This is definitely a nice improvement, but I don't think this alone will make all the buyers magically appear. I think your real problem here is price and FSBO. I know you hate hearing that, I hated hearing it when I tried FSBO, but I eventually came to my senses, hired a realtor and dropped the price - and bam - the house is gone. Doesn't matter many "negative" things people may say about a house - PRICE is what always sells.

I also liked the "before" photo with the scrub brush area better. It provided places for the critters to live, provided a wind-break, and provided privacy. I may have thinned it out a little and planted a few nice trees, but I would not have clear-cut it. I doubt the absence or presence of this area would affect your sale.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I think you have made a tremendous improvement in the curb appeal of your property, and applaud you for doing so! The amount of money may have been small, but the amount of work it took was substantial. Well done!

The brush cutting you did improved the property value, IMO. People who have never had to contend with wild, creeping brush have no idea how difficult it is to contain. "Cutting a path" through that kind of vegetation isn't possible, as there aren't discrete trees and bushes to walk past, it is all one big tangle and is NOT attractive close up. Using native vegetation and landscaping techniques in an overall plan is not the same as allowing an area to "go native," but many people don't realize that if they've never lived on acreage. In addition, if your home was the only one without views or access to the lake you have unquestionably improved it by clearing that area. It's all about what is desirable by local standards.

Not being in the MLS is a huge problem! Is there any company that will list you for a flat fee? We did that once in Florida and offered a larger commission for the buyers' agent.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

NC: It will seem overpriced regardless. :-) I have expressed my displeasure in the RE cartel system before, so I won't clutter this thread with it, but I may not have a choice but to participate in it.

The "half" showing was a realtor that emailed to set up an appointment and then drove the buyer by the house and they decided they didn't want that much land, so they didn't view the inside.

Feedback:
1. Would need to add a 2-bedroom accessible suite downstairs for in-laws, so decided to build instead. Were also potentially concerned about the steepness of the slope towards the water.
2. A bottom-feeder who was trying to nitpick every finishing detail on the inside to get the lowest price possible for a big, nice house.
3. The feedback on curb appeal in this thread
4. Loved the place, but decided it was bigger than they wanted at this point (couple with no kids).
5. Family looking to upsize, commented very favorably on much of the interior, kids had their bedrooms picked out, etc. Not sure they're qualified/ready to purchase.
1/2. Lot bigger than they wanted.

KSWL: You nailed it on the brush stuff. This is an in-town lake/subdivision, and people live on the lake for the views and fishing, not remoteness and privacy.

Our original marketing plan was to list it flat-fee MLS, but when I got ready to do so, found that no one does it in this area (local MLS rules prohibit it), so we listed it with an out-of-town MLS that got us on realtor.com for $99. I've emailed all the realtors in town a couple times making them aware of the property, but it's definitely a barrier to not be in the MLS.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Your clear-cutting and the area where you live reminds me of my favorite Eagles' song, "The Last Resort".

I never understood people's need to destroy natural habitat just so they can have a pretty view. Seems like you had enough of a pretty view the way it was, but I guess that still wasn't good enough. You keep saying you have a view of the lake. That's not a lake, it's more of a tributary or channel, and the "lake" itself appears to be man-made and has a boring rectangular "unnatural" look about it. My guess is, if you are advertising "lake view" - when people come to see your property, they feel ripped off, kind of like false advertisement.

It's very funny how the majority of the people who looked at your house wanted to complain about things that could have easily been decided upon simply by reading the property description. Yard too big? House too big? No in-law suite? These people either just aren't too bright, or they were just giving easy excuses instead of saying what they really didn't like. Like maybe price?


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

There is no defect price can't cure ... but if not enough people are seeing your listing then it doesn't matter the price or what you do to the house.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Let's talk about the Lake View.

What kind of Lake View do your comps have? Is it a wider part of the lake? Wider views/bigger waterfront views are worth more $ than smaller water views.

This is true for any lake property. There are usually 3 tiers. The primo/stunning BIG water view where you see water and lots of it. Then there is the average water view where you might see parts of other properties to the rear or side. then there is the lower tier water view which you have. A small sliver of water.

Other things that affect prices of water front properties. Docks: If you have a dock, especially a nice dock, it is worth more than same property with NO dock. Do your comps have docks? If yes, then deduct for this on your property.

Boat lift...boatable water. If you can place a boat on your dock via a lift, and if your water depth can sustain a motor boat, your poperty is worth more than a lot that is too shallow for a boat, or where a boat cannot fit on that sliver of waterfront. Boatable waterfront is worth more than non-boatable.

The price difference between different tiers of waterfront property can be substantial. All lakefront is not the same,even on the same exact lake.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

You have got to be listed on the MLS.
I don't think there is any way around that.

It would be cost prohibitive to install enough truly mature plants to make that home an "OMG Must Have!!" from the exterior- that is not going to happen.
Leave that notion in the past. It is un-possible.

If you want to sell you have to get people to see that it is for sale via marketing and the MLS is how it works.
If you are thinking about selling maybe someday probably, then continue with your FSBO plan.
But if selling is your goal get single minded about it and do everything in your power to make it happen.

MLS and price is what it ALL boils down to.
Quit playing around with everything else and address the real issues- it's always price.
That and letting folks know it is for sale.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Weedy: "I have expressed my displeasure in the RE cartel system before, so I won't clutter this thread with it, but I may not have a choice but to participate in it."

I feel your pain, but not listing in MLS is, to use an old saw, cutting off your nose to spite your face. Gotta' be done. However, keep in mind that you should be able to find a listing broker who will discount the commission to some extent.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The landscaping looks better but the bare tree looks odd. If its going to be a big tree then it's too close to the house, too.

There are realtors that will put your house on MLS for a set fee. You need to be on MLS and also have a showing service.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

In these here parts, what we live on is considered a lake. In fact, people call much smaller bodies of water "lakes" when they're more accurately ponds. So we're not misleading anyone. Our lot is on a finger that comes off the larger 50-acre lake. It's the biggest "lake" in the area.

We have a triangular shaped lot, so more lakefront (~1200 feet) than most lots around. Those on the other side of the lake are much closer together, 1 acre or less lots.

happyladi: believe me, there are no realtors in our MLS that will do a flat fee. I wish I were wrong, but I made scads of phone calls to everything that came up on google. They were all no-go in our area, which is a smaller city. There is one in the area that will do a 4.9% commission.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Anyone notice the difference? Feedback?

Photobucket


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

You painted the door! I like it!


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Front door painted... looks good!


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Did you do your dormer too?

(And, I'm surprised you didn't do your sidelights. Do you plan to?)

Your black door is a big improvement.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I really like the door painted. It looked really bland/unfinished/builder grade with the white door.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I like the painting of the door.

I know you don't like your MLS situation and I understand that. I also think that if you really want to sell your house then you are hurting your chances of doing so by not listing with one of your local agents so you can be on MLS. You can be stubborn about it if you want (and I understand that desire) but you are just missing too many potential buyers....


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I was actually surprised at how elegant it looks close up, and like a new door. I hadn't thought about painting the sidelights. What think the rest of you? Would it make the entrance look too checkerboard?

We didn't paint the dormer.

kats meow: I concur. It's just not an instant decision to pick a realtor and get listed. Well, I guess it can be done that quickly, but I've made quick choices in realtors before and not felt serviced well. I'll probably start a different thread about the process of selection.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I'd paint the sidelights, I think of them as a unit. Right now it looks more checkerboard.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I think it looks GREAT just the way you have it and I wouldn't paint the side lights.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Not to obsess about your dead tree, lol, but if it isn't leafing out, you might be better to just remove it even if you don't replace it.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I'm not familiar with the term "sidelights". If those are the panels with the windows next to the doors, then yes I would paint them also. It will make the front door area have more 'presence'.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Just a quick photoshop to see what it would look like with the sidelights painted.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

The planting beds look MUCH better, as does the door!

We painted our door and sidelite trim also--a different color from the door or brick to soften the contrast--lighter than the door, darker than the brick. But we were able to pick up the colors of the porch rail and windows which were sort of taupy. Not sure what color might look good here.

greg, the photoshopping is very helpful!

Anne


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I would paint the sidelights.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I prefer just the door to be black. The black sidelites mimic the look of shutters, which sounds good, but doesn't look good (to me).


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Just reduce your price or give them a landscaping allowance and call it a day. Recently I went shopping for trees and the ones in the 8-15 foot range were more affordable than I thought, $200-500 plus some for delivery. Larger full size 20-30 foot trees can cost mega $$$$$$$ to truck in and plant.

It is a FACT that mature trees add dollars and cents value to a house. But unfortunately, you simply dont have any - unless you were to pay more $$$ for having some installed than you probably would want to pay.

It is what it is. I guess I would not fret about the trees any more than I would worry about any other short-coming that couldnt be changed, like location, or roof color, or garage size or what have you.

Make your house shine in other ways. Maybe the house itself can be made more inviting and people are going to see and respond to that. The thing is -you just never can make it be all things for all people.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I think it looks really nice now Weedyacres. I like the black door and I'm torn between painting the sidelights, but I'm leaning toward black for them too.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Have to checked "Comps" that have sold since you went on the market? You might need to adjust price based on this.

Also - your property is on a state road. This is a negative over the comp homes on the other side of the lake because they are on a more residential road. This would offset their smaller lot versus your larger lot. However if they are newer homes they are worth than yours based on the age difference. Plus if they have a dock add $20k more value for them.

Show us your recent comps and how you arrive at price.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

sweet tea: Here's how I came up with the price: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/realestate/msg0519405319743.html?13

There's been one comp that has sold in the neighborhood since we listed, and the same adjustment formula I used on the originals makes our house comp a tad under $500K.

Our street is not a state road. Those run parallel to the east and west, and get lots of traffic. Our street, while not a subdivision street, actually terminates about a mile up the road. So the traffic is almost all residents who live on our street to the north, or in the golf course community just to the north east.

The houses across the lake are all >10 years old. The newer ones are on our street at the north end, on 1-1.5 acre lots. Last comps there are 3 years old, but looking at full price history, that clump has sold for $550-800K. So no apparent devalue for living on our side of the lake.

Here is a link that might be useful: pricing calculation thread


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Ottowa: Does this make you feel better about the tree? A real live budding leaf (amidst the dew-laden spider webs). She's gonna survive! :-)

Photobucket


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I think the house looks fine since you added the plantings. I don't like the circular driveway, but that's a matter of convenience.

Your main problem is the house is not being exposed to enough buyers. Unless you list with a realtor and get on MLS you will be wasting your time. Call in two or three of the biggest agencies and have them give you a CMA. You will find out if you are priced right. When you list your house they should have a viewing with all the agents and they give feedback as to the price and possible drawbacks ( at least they do that in my area).

I recently sold my house so I feel your pain, but the right price and a nice clean house will sell.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I think the house looks fine since you added the plantings. I don't like the circular driveway, but that's a matter of convenience.

Your main problem is the house is not being exposed to enough buyers. Unless you list with a realtor and get on MLS you will be wasting your time. Call in two or three of the biggest agencies and have them give you a CMA. You will find out if you are priced right. When you list your house they should have a viewing with all the agents and they give feedback as to the price and possible drawbacks ( at least they do that in my area).

I recently sold my house so I feel your pain, but the right price and a nice clean house will sell.


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Weedy... it really depends how long of a growing season that you have left, if it can survive. Trees (or plants of any kind) that are stressed have difficulty overwintering. But let's be optimistic, and hope it fully leafs out in the next couple of weeks, the better to survive & to appeal to potential buyers.

By the way, it's OttAwa - the capital city of Canada :-)


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I've been watching your thread and I like what you have done to it. I personally wouldn't spend another dime on it. The only thing I would do now:

1. paint the sidelights
2. list your house with a realtor to get on the MLS

As some has stated you can continue to sink money into your house but its not going to please everyone. You have to take into account that your gardenweb community are not your average everyday home buyers and you could spend another couple of thousands and alot will still wont be happy :). At some point your house is what it is and there are somethings that you just can't change/correct without spending crazy money. I would just make sure its not cluttered and clean and you just have to play the waiting game like everyone else. While some have things they dont like about your house you have to always remember all it takes is one person to fall in love with your house to sell. When all else fails, dropping the price will always make others look over somethings they don't like.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Our home sell/build blog


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

When I looked at your post I thought the house was really large & nice with doll sized landscaping. It's so much better now & love the black door it seems to widen entry area which is appealing, planters add height to finish the look! Nice bench & tree, tho I would have planted it in the grass further out in yard just so edge of house could be seen to right of tree, so it softened that corner of house. 3 pumpkins close to house & a wreath hung on the lightpost to soften it & not damage the front door should make it very friendly to folks. A little "personal touch" makes it seem like warm humans live there. So often I look at pics in magazines & there is no evidence anyone lives in those lovely cold homes. No magazines, no hint of a hobby, no sports equipment. I get really turned off as I figure everything is staged & place is not livable. Don't want your front approach cluttered but nice to know someone actually"lives" there! Can put holiday wreath & lights up the post later if your still there. Glad you have been level headed about this & stuck with it! Some comments would have driven me away I think. Shows you are sticking with it! Good Luck & hope all your hard work pays off soon!


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I don't know if anyone's going to slog down through the postings if I resurrect this, but we had a few agents through this weekend and have received some more comments about the front needing to match the inside in its luxury feel. We're going to act on a couple suggestions: paint the shutters and seal the asphalt drive so it looks dark/fresh.

We're trying to come up with a way to de-weed the lawn closest to the house too, so it looks lusher. Not sure the best way to do that.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Sod?


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Sod may be the best choice this late in the season since simply killing the existing weeds with a post-emergence herbicide won't necessarily "green-up" the lawn if nothing else is growing fast enough to fill in the spots where the weeds formerly were. The pity is that it wasn't done two months ago when the moderating temps and more rainfall of early Fall would have made a big difference.

If you do use herbicide, I'd definitely overseed the area with a good cool-weather germinating grass seed, then water it abundantly and pray for a late warm fall to give it some oomph this year. The seed may be wasted, but you never know. Once we established sod (starting with bare, newly-leveled earth) on a half-mile long grass runway which we sowed on Thanksgiving weekend up here in northern NY (Z5a/4b). We got very lucky. It didn't look great through the winter but took off like crazy at the first hint of Spring. Here's hoping that you can reseed earlier than we did, have a long Fall so it germinates and greens up and that you don't still own the house next Spring!

If you do seed, be sure you get the contractors to slightly abrade (rake) the ground, then roll it thoroughly after seeding to get good contact with the soil. Make sure the herbicide and grass seed are technically compatible and wait enough time for the herbicide to get the job done, if necessary.

When you planted the tree you mentioned that you hoped it would re-bud out after its adventure traveling in an open truck. When I read that I actually hoped it wouldn't (not to be mean) because any small leaf regrowth emerging this late in the season would likely be frost killed, possibly taking the tree with it over the winter. I hoped the tree had enough sense to remain dormant and try again next year. It's contradictory to hope you're having a warm, re-seedable Fall, and yet hope the tree feels chilly enough to stay dormant until the sap rises again in the Spring. Keep watering it until the ground is completely frozen no matter how it looks.

Properly protected with anti-dessicant and a steady program of watering until the ground is frozen and mulched you might be able to get some useful green-ness there with evergreens but by now even leafless deciduous trees won't look out of place. However they need to be transported in a covered vehicle, or at least be carefully wrapped in tarps to avoid being wind-whipped and dried to death en route.

The comment the agent made about the luxurious inside not matching the exterior resonates with me. You have lavished considerable attention on the interior with very good effect, but the exterior looks less distinctive, less elegant primarily because the house is just parked out there with no trees to meld its presence into the lot. I realize many new houses look like this on completion, but just like a house's interior would look out of kilter if you had beaded-inset Crown Point cabinets with post-form Formica counters, the house's outside looks dissonant to me. Because there's been no significant effort to establish large-ish trees the house looks sort of unfinished, as if you ran out of steam before the whole job was done.

I think I would consider planting one or more really big trees (3-6" caliper). Not a cheap solution since each would cost $300-maybe as much as $1,000 apiece, but they would (even in a deciduous state) anchor the house and kind of make it match the interior. Buy them from a professional nursery and they should come with a survival/ replacement guarantee. If you're leaving the area, hire them to do any tending if you're moving before you sell the house. A big part of the price of these trees is the cost of the Vermeer (or equivalent) machine than comes along to replant it. Trees this size may have a root ball 4 or 5 feet wide.

Feel free to disregard my comments if they aren't useful. I will still my fingers crossed that you can get this house sold and quickly move on to your next one.

L.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

lirio: thanks for taking the time to provide such detailed advice. You are semi-correct in your assessment when you say it looks like we ran out of steam. In fact, our plan was to do the inside and then the outside, but we ran out of living-in-the-house time, not energy. I'd love to stay another couple years and make the outside beautiful, but the 100 mile commute doesn't make that practical. We've removed the ugly for the next owner, so we'll need to find someone that appreciates a blank slate.

What you said about it being better that the tree doesn't leaf out matches what our (master gardener) neighbor said. Nothing else has emerged other than that one leaf, so hopefully we're ok. I guess it was a smart tree. :-)

Just a question for anyone: if we did plant trees, where would you put them to provide that anchor?


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Don't remember where you live. Would a winter rye work?


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

We're in zone 6 in the midwest. Someone over in the lawns forum suggested annual ryegrass for a quick sprout. I know nothing about lawn varieties and what works.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I'd like to hear an update, weedyacres. Have you sold?

I'm guessing you are near me in the Midwest - your topography looks like Kansas with its deadly drought last summer.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

Nope, haven't sold yet. Tulips and daffodils are starting to come up (early) and we've got plans to fertilize the heck out of the lawn to get it looking better once it comes out of dormancy.


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RE: Need help with curb appeal

I like your staging idea. You resisted the temptation to overspend...it's easy to find things wrong with any house, but few are cost effective to fix before a sale (no matter what HGTV says). I'd keep the tree. Did it leaf out Spring 2014?
The pumkin idea is a decent one.

Since I enjoy "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" as much as the next guy, I think your big mistake was getting rid of the trees in front of the house when you put in the circular driveway.

The big mistake the people who built the house made was putting the house where it was. You said you have a lake view and older trees by the lake...it would have been smarter to put the house closer to the rear of the property, near the lake and the trees. Farther from the road, more privacy, better view. House siting is one of my pet issues...it's something you can't change when you renovate that people don't think about.


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