Curb Appeal Considerations When You Have Small Children

The importance of curb appeal is indisputable, especially when studies show that improved exteriors can increase a home's sales price by up to 17%.  However, creating strong street-side impressions may present a unique challenge to families with small children.  This article will address a few simple ways to make your home's appeal as big as possible, regardless of how little some of its occupants may be.

Control Clutter

In preparation for putting your home on the market, you've likely begun the process of staging the interior to maximize the home's appeal.  A crucial part of this process includes minimizing the amount of clutter potential buyers will encounter while visiting your home, including boxing up many of the toys and stuffed animals that otherwise have a tendency to overtake children's rooms.  

Take a similar approach to your outdoor living spaces.  When you look at your yard and garage, what do you see?  Are tricycles and jump ropes strewn around?  What about forgotten bottles of bubble solution or abandoned sippy cups?  All personal possessions should be contained in a garage or shed, preferably corralled into organized containers.

Bikes and other larger play equipment should be suspended from the ceiling or the walls, leaving ample room for potential buyers to walk around the space.  This is both a sales concern (it makes the area feel larger) and a matter of safety (if someone is injured tripping over a pair of left-out roller skates, you're likely to be held liable).  If there isn't enough room to store everything neatly, consider donating extra items or asking a friend to store them for the duration of the sale.  

Inspect Play Structures

If you're fortunate enough to have a large play structure such as a swing set or climbing fort on your property, take time to carefully inspect it before putting the house on the market.  If the structure is not permanently installed on the site, such as most A-frame metal swing sets, seriously consider removing the apparatus completely.  You want to attract as wide of a variety of potential buyers as possible, and the presence of a play structure may turn off shoppers without small children.  

If the structure is permanently installed, make sure it is in good repair.  If made of wood, does the finish need a touch-up?  Are there splinters that need to be sanded?  Are any of the plastic components cracked?  If there are any awnings or other fabric pieces, are they noticeably faded?  Are there any safety hazards that need to be addressed?  If there is a sandbox, is it well-filled and weed-free? Make any necessary adjustments.  Far fewer shoppers will be deterred by a well-maintained structure than one showing obvious wear, and you may even be lucky enough to attract a buyer who considers a play structure an added bonus.

Window Shopping

Finally, evaluate what your windows are saying about your home from the outside, paying special attention to the windows on your children's rooms.  While people generally shop for window treatments thinking about how they affect the interior decor, when listing a home, how a window appears from the exterior is at least as important as how it looks from inside.  Those bright red cartoon curtains may fit great with the themed bedspread and wall prints in your child's room, but are likely to detract from the overall curb appeal.  

Creating a positive impression on buyers begins with great curb appeal.  Following these steps will help ensure your home's smallest residents don't sabotage a successful sale through real estate listings.