I talked about curb appeal going too far a few days ago. A pretty face can make a huge difference, but there’s an even larger kind of curb appeal that can make a difference in selling a house for a good profit or not, and that’s the surrounding area. That’s the “location location location” thing you always hear about. Now, is this under our control? Maybe. We can at least be a good influence. I’ll share a couple of stories of how curb appeal of the surrounding area has influenced my decisions. I’d love to know how the “curb appeal” of the surrounding location has affected homes you’ve bought, sold, or renovated!
When we were looking for a retirement property, we drove all around the counties surrounding Austin, trying to decide where to build. The Hill Country was full of beautiful estates, but was out of our price range. The area east of Austin was more affordable, but it was full of small properties that varied widely in their “curb appeal.” You’d see a place that could pass for a junk yard or antique farm equipment collection with horses and cattle stepping gingerly among the rusted junk, and right next to it would be a well maintained ranchette with neat outbuildings and healthy livestock. When we went north of Austin, we saw much larger properties, most with well maintained homes. The area is sparsely populated, and the prices per acre were good. That’s where we decided to go, because the whole area had a peaceful feeling and the land owners obviously care for their properties, for the most part.
Now, the area we built our retirement house in is pretty pleasant. The next town, though, might be a reason why some folks would choose to buy elsewhere. Like many small towns, the largest employer moved away a few years ago, taking jobs and tax base away. The town simply looked sad, especially five years ago when we first looked. It was one of those places you’d just drive through quickly. I noticed some of the other small towns in the area had worked on sprucing up their downtowns, built some new business buildings, etc. I kept thinking I wish I lived near one of those places.
Luckily, new folks have been taking leadership roles, and there have been a few nice new business buildings going up, or old ones getting renovated (the local large construction company took a sad building and made it look modern and nice). We fixed up three houses on the main road, ourselves. But that’s not all. Just a couple of weeks ago, some pretty signs pointing to various locations around the town popped up. Wow! That helps!
So, we did help spruce up the surroundings to make them more inviting, along with other interested folks.