Now more than ever, first impressions of your home are crucial. No matter what the adage says, most of us do judge a book by its cover, just as we judge a home by its listing photos. When it comes to selling your home, curb appeal is key. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make a good impression, however. You’ll find there are many simple updates you can make to your home that have a big impact.
It’s amazing how we get used to our surroundings and tend to overlook details. Psychologists call it “habituation” and its human nature. So when you’re getting your home ready to sell, try to step back and look at your home as a prospective homebuyer might. Try to really focus and notice all the details. Are there cobwebs under the eaves? Maybe the landscape needs a bit of care? Perhaps your windows could be a little cleaner?
Here are things you can do yourself to get your home looking its best and ready to sell.
1. Eliminate Clutter
Let’s face it – things accumulate. If your front porch or yard is a magnet for stuff, it’s time to declutter. Put away hoses, tools, toys, sports equipment, and so on. You want buyers to be able to focus on your home – not your things.
This goes for decorations too, even flags, banners, small statues, and garden ornaments (unless it is an integral part of your landscape) should be stored away for your next home. These things may bring you joy, but you want buyers to be able to imagine your home as their own.
2. Cut Back Trees and Shrubs
While you may love how your landscape gives you privacy, prospective buyers actually want to see your home. Stand out at the street and imagine how a buyer might first view your home. Do your trees and shrubs accentuate your home, or hide it? Are they neat and tidy, or overgrown? Removing low-hanging tree limbs and branches can open up the view and your yard. Similarly, trimming shrubs and bushes can make entryways more inviting and bring windows into view.
3. Clean Everything
After you’ve done any necessary decluttering and foliage trimming, it’s time to think about cleaning the outside of your home, including:
- Windows and screens
- Garage door
- Patios and decks
- Roof and gutters – If your roof has moss, algae, or mold stains, you’ll want to clean those off before you list your home. Cleaning your roof isn’t difficult if you take proper safety precautions (if you don’t have a fear of heights). When in doubt, hire a professional.
A pressure- or power washer works especially well on patios, sidewalks, and driveways. You might consider renting or borrowing a one. While power-washing can seem like a good way to clean your siding, too much pressure can damage your home’s surfaces, including paint, wood, stucco, stone, and more. If you decide to use a pressure washer, make sure you know how to use the washer safely and correctly for the type of surface you want to clean.
4. Keep Your Yard Looking its Best
Of course, you want your yard looking great for photos, but you never know when a prospective buyer may drive by to take a look, so try to keep your yard in tip-top shape. If you have a lawn, you’ll want to keep it regularly mowed, weeded, and the edges trimmed. If you have low-water landscaping, make sure it’s looking its best. Refresh mulch, bark, or other ground cover and keep it weed- and debris-free. The extra yard maintenance might be chore, but it can pay off, so it may be worth hiring help to keep your yard in show-ready shape.
5. Add Some Color
Flowering annuals are an easy way to add some sparkle and make your home look inviting. If you don’t have a place for them in your landscaping, consider hanging baskets or planters near or around your front porch. Matching planters that flank your front door can really make your porch stand out.
Depending the amount of sunlight your yard gets, consider easy flowers such as petunias, pansy, marigold, zinnia, geraniums, dianthus, and impatiens.
6. Highlight Your Mailbox
If you have a mailbox, it’s likely one of the first things people see. If it’s in good shape, a nice cleaning or new numbers may be all it needs. If your mailbox is old and you don’t want to buy a new one, consider painting it a fun or complementary color to your house. If you have the room, consider adding some flowering annuals – in the ground or in pots – around the mailbox post.
7. More Simple, Low-Cost Changes
- Update exterior hardware – Small changes such as updating door handles, knockers, and your house numbers can make a big impact without costing a lot.
- Replace outdated porch lighting and consider adding some inexpensive outdoor accent lighting.
- Add a new doormat – A new doormat is a fun and inexpensive way to make your front door look welcoming.
- Dress up your front door – Consider painting it a bold color.
Remember, while summer is the peak selling season, current times may just mean fewer prospective homebuyers and fewer still in-home visits. Everything you can do as a home seller to make the outside of your home more appealing will help entice homebuyers in a tight market.