The Lay of the Land

Appealing to home buyers starts at the curb, real estate expert says

Even when the market is as hot as the Dallas real estate market is, to get top dollar for a home — and as many offers as possible — making a first impression starts at the curb.

Just ask Lucinda Buford. The real estate professional with Allie Beth Allman & Associates says any to-do list for getting a property ready to put on the market needs to include at least a little bit of yard work. That’s especially true in a market where many homes go for millions of dollars.

3217 Lovers Ln. | “This DARLING cottage in University Park,” Buford said, was a great example of cozy curb appeal. (Photo: Courtesy Lucinda Buford)

“I would recommend even though there is low inventory, that if you want to get top dollar that you need to have fresh color,” she said, adding that the endeavor can be easy and comes by the bagful. “You can hide a multitude of sins with fresh mulch.

“There are just so many messages you’re sending on that walk up to the front door.”

Buford also recommends — especially after the last winter storm — having professionals inspect your landscape, paying attention to one of the most prominent aspects of it — your trees.

“Have someone come out and look at your landscape and see what’s going on after that storm,” she said. “Make sure you’re taking care of your trees — I think everyone became aware of the value and expense of trees with the tornado — people started realizing, ‘You know, this is a hundred-thousand-dollar investment, I’ve got to take care of these trees.’”

After that, she said, look at your paint and front door.

“Look at the curb appeal, touch up the paint, repair your wood rot, freshen up your front door,” she said. “Buyers are looking for everything to be move-in ready.”

7514 Northaven Rd. | Buford said this home at 7514 Northaven Road languished on the market for a year. After a refresh that included repainting and landscaping, “I had it under contract in multiple offers in six days.” (Photo: Shoot2Sell)

Buford also said that while there is no shortage of grandly landscaped estates in Preston Hollow and Park Cities, any home can benefit from an exterior refresher before it goes on the market.

Case in point, she said, was a home on Northaven Road she sold last year after it had languished on the market.

“This property was on the market for over a year with other agents,” she said. “I had it painted, re-did the landscape, staged, made some minor repairs, and had it under contract in multiple offers in six days.”

February may be a little too early for spring planting, Buford said, but she still recommends maintenance items like weeding the flower beds, cleaning out the gutters, and trimming the trees.

And don’t forget the backyard, either. 

“If you have a pool, make sure it’s well maintained because people really are looking for turn-key when they’re looking at a house,” she said.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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