Curb appeal is a real estate term that pushes homeowners anxious for a quick sale to evaluate and possibly improve the appearance of their house as viewed from the curb. Real estate agents have led us to believe that homebuyers cannot see the value in a house that lacks the so-called curb appeal. Yet what happens once perspective house buyers cross your home’s threshold with a realtor? Whether or not your home’s curb appeal met the house hunter’s expectations, another curb appeal concept lies in wait. Will the view from the windows looking out to the curb help seal the deal or send buyers looking for greener pastures? When preparing to sale your house up for sale, consider these reverse curb appeal views.
“Wow, there are TWO front windows!” I recall saying that the second I stepped inside the front door to a house during a tour with the realtor. An overgrown shrub at the front of the house completely covered one window, leading me to believe from the street that the room had only one front window. Overgrown shrubs may be the result of neglect or a misconception that a tall shrub close to the house reduces or eliminates sunlight from passing through the window. While the solar concept is partially correct (deciduous trees are a better choice, allowing much needed sunlight to hit the windows in winter), an overgrown shrub near the foundation hinders airflow. Without airflow, mildew or mold can form. In addition, overgrown shrubs provide a hiding place for rodents and possibly thieves. The solution is easy. Take the shrub out. Plant a small shrub or flowers to fill the void. Just make sure the landscaping remains balanced.
“What? No screens?” Unless the house has some highfaluting air cleaning system to purify air for a severe allergy sufferer, windows should have screens. Screens keep birds and flying insects out while allowing cool air in. From an energy saving standpoint, opening windows on cool days reduces the need for air conditioning. Plus, opening windows can freshen the house. While we are talking about windows, do the windows open? Most windows in the house I viewed were painted shut. Maybe that is why there were no screens. Clean windows, window blinds or shades, and take down curtains or drapes for a brief run through the dryer with a fabric softener sheet to freshen them up. Let the perspective buyer remember the house for a sparkly clean view.
Obstacles such as water, electric or cell phone towers; junk across the street/road; utility box for cable TV, phone, or electric; or close neighbors can be view breakers. A combination of window treatment and artful landscaping may camouflage a bad view. Tall or distant obstacles, like towers or unpleasant views across the street, may be blocked from view by placing a grouping of about three evergreen about 20 feet from the house and between the window and the annoying view. Landscaping to hide utility boxes involves setting trees, shrubs, flowers or fencing around the obstacle. A window that provides ventilation and natural light is serving part of it intended purpose. Shear drapes or matchstick roll-up blinds allow light in while muting the view. Install louvered shutters for added privacy that also permits light and ventilation to pass through.