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First impressions are everything and that is especially true when buying or selling residential and commercial property, according to multiple professionals.

According to Terri Barnett, Realtor and co-owner of RE/MAX Main Street in Bexley; Kevin Moss, senior associate at CBRE in Cleveland; Scott M. Simon, president at North Pointe Realty, Inc., in Cleveland; and Sharon Friedman, broker associate and Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Professional Realty in Moreland Hills, curb appeal draws potential buyers to a property.

For residential properties, buyers want to know the current owners care about the property.

“You don’t get a second chance for a first impression,” Friedman said. “It’s important because for buyers coming in, it sets the tone for them. If it is well kept on the exterior, the assumption is that the interior is also well kept. So, that pulls more people in.”

Friedman said it’s fair to note many people don’t enter their home through the front door – so it’s important to pay attention to all entrances.

“Sometimes owners fail to realize that the front door gets spiders and cobwebs and can look dirty,” she said. “They just need to take a power wash or simply a broom. Enter your home like a buyer would from your front door. Are the steps swept? Start from there and also look above and around the door. Is everything clean? Fresh paint on the front door could also do wonders.”

Barnett said if curb appeal is good, it can inspire buyers to take the next step. It’s a gateway to show off good maintenance.

“The most important thing for the home is to not only look good from the outside, but also be well-maintained,” she explained. “Potential buyers will make a foregone conclusion in their brain that the rest of the home must be pridefully maintained as well. It’s a matter of knowing. What I tell my buyers is you can get a sense of the type of homeowner who owns the house based not just on how well the house presents itself outside, but also how well it is maintained.”

Barnett said curb appeal doesn’t have to be extravagant.

“It could be an older home, but if there is no rotted wood, but the landscaping is barren, that has a certain kind of curb appeal,” she said. “If you see a home with lots of pretty accessories outside, but notice the roof is missing shingles or the door looks beat up, then that gives you another impression. The untrained eye and perhaps a casual home shopper might conclude that since it looks pretty, it must be a great house.”

Curb appeal also plays an important role in commercial real estate.

“Although people normally think of curb appeal as important for residential properties, it is just as important in the commercial world,” Simon explained. “Many potential tenants begin their property search with a drive around town, and the first impression that a property gives off is truly important.”

Moss said,” Curb appeal is little different for residential real estate. Most tenants on the inside aren’t expecting it to be in pristine condition, but from the outside, it’s essential to have a clean, well put together center or building. A clean presence changes the perception of a tenant or buyer.”

Simon said there are a few aspects of curb appeal that stick out most to him.

“To me, lighting is key,” he said. “Make sure that the walkways, the building exterior and even the plant material is well-lit is an easy and big fix.”

Moss finds himself advising clients on what they can ask building managers to fix before showing the property to potential buyers.

“If there are broken windows or if the landscaping has trash, they can speak to a property to eliminate all of the negatives so we’re not spooking a potential tenant from the onset,” he explained. “You don’t want the tenant or buyer to have any doubts before they are even there. In what I do, tenants always look to why they shouldn’t instead of why they should. So, if you can eliminate all of the questions, that’s key.”

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