By Kyle Fouts

In true Arizona fashion, the real estate market has been hot for a while now. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines thinking about putting your house on the market, now may be the time and don’t overlook the importance of curb appeal to get buyers through the front the door. In fact, researchers at Texas Tech University found that improving curb appeal may increase the value of a home by as much as 17 percent! On top of that, having a well-manicured front yard will often result in fewer days on the market.

Most of us have been in the market to purchase a property at one point in our lives and have seen the house that, from the outside at least, appears to be abandoned or run down. Weeds are everywhere, the grass is a lovely shade of brown and the plants leave a lot to be desired. There are some buyers that won’t even get out of the car in these situations. That home’s seller lost a prospective buyer because the front of the home was less than inviting. Buyers make quick determinations on homes, and curb appeal is your only chance to give them an amazing first impression. You don’t have to make a huge investment either. In fact, most realtors will discourage you from such. Little things can go a long way. Take a look at the list below to see some things you can do to entice those buyers to get out of the car.

Keep up on the little landscaping details like trimming and shaping bushes, mowing the grass, and edging around the porch or driveway. You want it to look manicured and well kept.

Add flowers or flowering plants to bring pops of color into the picture. If there’s no space for planting, add a few colorful pots near the front door.

Speaking of the front door, a relatively recent trend is to paint it a new and fun color or add texture. A simple welcome mat on the front porch is an inexpensive way to make the walk up to the home more inviting.

While the landscaping is important, so is the appearance of the house itself. Think about addressing the minor, deferred maintenance items like fascia board that may have dry rot or chipping paint.

All in all, create an inviting and interesting snapshot of your home. By utilizing some of these tips you’ll increase the traffic through your listing and, with a little luck, sell it quickly.

Kyle Fouts is a consulting broker for HomeSmart International.