Curb appeal wins in housing resale wars

Most homeowners lavish attention on the interior, thinking buyers will warm to neutral colors, updated appliances and spic and span closets and floors.

But if the outside looks so-so, buyers and their real estate agents may turn up their noses and move on to the next property. At this point, well-appointed and tasteful interiors are a moot point.

”If we lose them at the curb, they’ll (buyers) never come inside,” says Houston Realtor David Montz. ”If the buyer already has a negative feeling, it’s going to affect how they feel about the house.”

And in many cities where time-on-market can drag on for more than 90 days, homeowners can gain a competitive edge by paying close attention to the external factors buyers may find pleasing.

Depending on the condition of your home, you may spend from a few hundred dollars to several thousands to bring your exterior up to competitive snuff.

Routine improvements you can perform quickly and cheaply include a fresh coat of paint to siding and doors, power washing the entire exterior or filling cracks in the driveway and walks. Refresh the landscape with a shot of fertilizer to green up the lawn, plant fresh flowers or potted plants. Railings should feel snug and secure.

Some homes may need significant investment to overcome visual eyesores that might give buyers cold feet. New windows, siding, and tuck pointing to brickwork can be costly but make the home appear well maintained. Such improvements may also help you pass muster with finicky home inspectors.

Don’t overlook your roof. The roof accounts for 40 to 60 percent of the exterior view of your home. Buckled, warped or cracked shingles are turn-offs for buyers. Whatley Bush of Monier Life Tile, an Atlanta maker of faux wood shakes, slate and tiles made of concrete, says if the roof must be repaired.