The Missing 19 Percent
May 1, 2008
Walk into any large grocery store, stop and look around you. Notice the variety of colors, shapes and sizes of different products. Notice the sparkling floors. Notice how the shelves are all lined up as if someone had put a yard stick against the front row of products. The store is designed and set up to say to shoppers, “BUY STUFF.”
Marketing experts put stores together that way because they recognize that neat, tidy and clean sell groceries.
Now drive down the street and look for a FOR RENT sign. Once you find it, look at the property that is for rent. Is it neat and tidy? Does the exterior look crisp and sharp? Is it clean? Does it shout to prospective tenants, “ RENT ME!”?
Some properties do. Many don’t. Some say “rent me” at about the volume a whisper from 30 feet away.
The American Housing Survey from the US Census Bureau found that 19 percent of tenants had used the exterior appearance of their new home as a determining factor as to whether they would rent consider renting it.
It often costs little to make the exterior of your properties look inviting to prospective tenants, and for that matter, existing tenants. But how do you know if your properties say “ RENT ME!” or “DRIVE FAST AND GET AWAY BEFORE I GET SOME ON ME!”? Here’s a simple exercise that Janet Wickell writes about in Your Guide to Home Buying/Selling.
First, view your property from the same position a prospective tenant would. That could be across the street, directly in front, from the parking area in front or at the side, or wherever someone would normally drive or walk up.
Now ask yourself the following questions:
What is my first impression of the building and the yard?
What are the best exterior features of the building or lot? How can I enhance them?
What are the worst features of the building or lot? How can I minimize or improve them?
Park where your prospective tenant would park and walk toward the building, looking around as if it were your first visit. Is the path clean and tidy?
Make a list of your positive and negative impressions of your property’s appearance.
Use a digital camera to take photos of the property’s exterior. View the color version first, then switch to grayscale, because, without color affecting our senses, it is easier to see problems
Now go around to the back of the property if it’s visible from the street behind or another property. Go through the same exercise.
What are the most common issues that contribute to less-than-ideal curb appeal? Ms. Wickell lists the following:
Mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof or driveway
Yard and garden tools strewn around the property
Dirty windows and gutters
Dirty sidewalks and driveways
Untrimmed edges on walkways, and vegetation between concrete sections and bricks
Shaggy lawns and weeds
Tree limbs touching the roof or interfering with walkways
For more ideas about this subject visit http://www.realchoicerg.com/sellers.
Do these simple exercises and act on what you find by correcting the deficiencies, and you can add up to 19 percent to the number of prospective tenants stopping their cars, calling you, visiting your website or knocking on your office door.