Curb Appeal: the Difference Between 'For Sale' and 'Sold'

"I'll spend up to $200, which I consider a marketing cost for each house that I list on incidentals," Baldwin said. "So this to me creates the sense that I want to have created, so I'm happy to spend it and I'm well compensated for my talents that I have, so why be chintzy?"

This may be considered moderate when compared with what some other agents have done to stage, like spray painting the lawn golf-course green.

It's still hard to predict whether every seller will make back the costs they've paid to improve their home's "curb appeal." But realtors say improving your home's image can be crucial if you want to sell your house quickly in such a competitive markeplace.

Cyberspace "Curb Appeal" Equally Important

The Internet has also become an incredibly important marketing tool, but just because potential buyers may not be physically driving by, it doesn't mean you shouldn't make the outside of your house look appealing.

"Probably the most important reason to landscape your house and to tame the front and to make it look beautiful is so the pictures look good on the Internet," Baldwin said. "This is the first thing they're going to see. So if they like the way it looks, they're going to click on it and call their agent."

And when the big test came for the Bergmans at their open house, their work had really paid off.

"Oh, no, it definitely makes a difference," said one real estate agent attending the Bergman's open house. "It looks like they trimmed and added the mums, which is nice 'cause they'll last a while and definitely did some cleaning up."

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