You never get a second chance to make a first impression to a potential buyer (or a Realtor previewing your home), so make sure your home has a curb appeal that makes people go “wow.” Take a walk around your property right now—front to back. Pretend you’re a prospective buyer. Do you like what you see? The vast majority of buyers decide if you’re home is worth seeing from the first photo of it online. And what’s the first photo of? You guessed it. The outside.
Here are seven quick tips for creating a visual impression that makes buyers fall in love.
1. Start at the door.
Get out your paintbrush and spruce up the front door. A bright color will attract attention from the street, if that fits with your overall exterior, but that could be tricky depending on a potential buyer’s color preferences. Instead, try a sleek and modern neutral color, such as black. Replace doorknobs and hinges with something new and shiny. A seasonal wreath on the door adds a welcoming touch (but nothing too personal or holiday-themed). If your screen door squeaks or sags, get out that DW40!
2. Under pressure.
Rent or buy a pressure washer and go over the entire exterior, top to bottom. Pay special attention to any white or light-colored areas, which tend to collect dust and dirt. Use it on porches, stairs and decks. And by the way, power washing is equally effective on concrete, and can really lighten up sidewalks and driveways.
3. Spit and polish.
Anything that’s metal on the outside of your home should sparkle and shine. Start with the house numbers. A good metal polish might work, but if not, replacing them is relatively inexpensive. Exterior light fixtures should all be working order and should shine brightly, both in daylight and dark. Check for burned-out bulbs while you’re at it. How’s your mailbox? New owners might appreciate one of the new models with a security lock.
4. Hide all evidence of the kids and dogs.
You want your home to have the broadest possible appeal. Not all prospective buyers have children so if you do, it’s best to keep the evidence out of sight. Put away the bikes and balls. If you have play equipment such as swings or a basketball goal, remove what you can or move items to where they are less visible. Be sure someone in the family is assigned to pick up after Fido and Fluffy too. Personally, evidence of pets is a BIG turnoff to me, and many buyers as well.
5. Plant a garden.
You don’t have to have a green thumb to add seasonal color to the outside of your home. Think containers. Placing a few colorful pots on the front steps or by the door is a great place to start. Visit your local nursery and buy whatever is in season. Replace as needed—nothing dead or dying, please! Keep the grass mowed and edged too.
6. Light up your life.
Good exterior lighting improves both appearance and security. In-ground spots can accent landscape elements or the house itself. Make sure the front walkway and drive are well lit. If wiring is not an option, solar fixtures are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, although they may not be as bright as wired fixtures.
7. Look out the window.
This is what your prospective buyers will be doing – guaranteed. While you’re power washing, make sure the windows get their share. Use an inexpensive vinegar and water spray, and wipe down with old newspapers. Give them the same treatment on the inside and the whole house will sparkle.
As you plan your exterior makeover, seek out local experts for professional services, if possible. Contact me for a list of great local service providers! Spending a few dollars on your home’s curb appeal is a great investment that will pay off in the end – in both time a and money – when you go to list and sell your home!