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Online Curb Appeal Brings Buyers to Your Home

Written by Posted On Sunday, 05 June 2005 17:00

Most of us have been to open houses where the wafting smell of fresh-baked cookies coming from inside a home lures us to the door. Curb appeal is a necessary tactic to get buyers and real estate agents into your home.

But nowadays the importance of curb appeal is taking on a more vital role, especially when the vehicle that first gets buyers to see your home is not a car, but an internet browser.

Curb appeal is no longer simply what you see from your realtor's car when you're driving by a house. Today, according to a study done by the National Association of Realtors, 74 percent of all home buyers use the internet as an information source when they are researching homes. Very often this is the first time a prospective buyer will see a home.

"The trend tends to be that they use the internet to do their window shopping and to get a lot of information and then they go to a realtor or licensed agent after they do their homework first," says Lorrie Mowat of the San Diego Association of Realtors.

That's why sprucing up photos of homes for sale is getting greater attention these days. Virtual tours of homes online are the next best thing to being there in person to view a home.

"A virtual tour will allow you to walk through the home online. You can see the front of the house, all the rooms on the inside, exactly how it lays out, which will give you an idea of the livability of the house before you ever go to look at the house or call an agent," says Christian Coleman, District Director for ZipRealty.

Online curb appeal can be the catalyst for getting buyers and real estate agents to your property. Consider these tips to enhance online curb appeal.

  • Use colorful plants surrounding the exterior. Stand back and evaluate your home. Does it need color or landscaping fill-in? Are there any eyesores that distract from the home?

  • Remember that when a home is photographed, lighting is very critical. Make sure you have light coming in from the outside so that the home appears cheerful and bright. Shooting with natural light rather than flash often gives a more desirable look.

  • Make sure photos are taken of those extra-special areas that make your home stand out, such as a sitting area in a master bedroom, the beautiful garden view from a window or a yoga/meditation room. Even if they're described in a written summary, capturing them with a photo speaks to people's senses.

  • Picture your home through the lens of a camera. Actually take a few photos with a digital camera. It's amazing what a camera can capture that the eye doesn't always see when the photo is being taken. You'll often find that a home is too cluttered; some furniture may need to be stored or moved to another room.

  • If you leave in a condo/townhouse, virtual tours can be even more beneficial.

    "Virtual tours when it comes to condominiums can help out a lot because they'll also show common areas. And the way that downtown [San Diego] is changing, and all the condos that are coming online, it can really help the buyers to not only see the unit and the size and the way that their furniture will fit in, but all the common areas. Does it have a swimming pool? If so, what does the pool look like? Does it have a gym? Does it have a concierge service?" says Coleman.

Curb appeal whether online or in person is the first step to getting buyers to notice your property, so, just like first impressions, make it a good and lasting one.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or Visit for more information.

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