Don’t overlook exterior when selling home
Updated: July 16, 2012 4:01PM
Home sellers today compete for the attention of buyers in an overstocked market. As a result, many focus significant time and energy preparing and staging their home interiors. But there’s a dangerous tendency to overlook the exterior.
I recently took a client out on a long day of showings. When we drove up to the last house, she asked if we could skip it. When I asked why, she said it looked unkempt and would likely be even worse inside. I happened to know the house was gorgeous inside — but I saw what she meant. Kids’ toys and dog bones were strewn about the front yard, the lawn was a little long, the porch floor paint was peeling, the flowers were minimal, and the driveway needed sealing. The rest of the home was actually attractive and well-maintained — but what that client saw first were the deficiencies. I encouraged her to go in anyway and she was glad she did. Still, it was a showing that almost didn’t happen for that seller.
How do you maximize your home’s curb appeal? Consider these simple outdoor staging tips from Realtors:
Start with a fresh eye. The next time you come home, stop across the street or far enough down the driveway to get a really good view of the house and its surroundings. What will your buyers see first as they drive in, or drive by? Are there any glaring distractions you can address? For example, should that floral mailbox your daughter painted now be replaced with a more generic version?
Park where a potential buyer would and walk towards the house, looking around you as if it were your first visit. Walk up to the front door — something you may not have done since you moved in. You might be amazed by what you find — weeds in the sidewalk cracks, bug-laden spider webs by lights, soggy old fliers, or worse. Start making your to-do list.
Other common outdoor staging tasks to consider:
• Removing mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks or driveway.
• Edging sidewalks and beds,
removing vegetation between concrete or bricks, removing leaves.
• Cleaning windows and gutters and power-washing dirty siding decks and patio furniture.
• Trimming trees that are near or touching home.
• Repairing cracked or crumbling stoops, walkways, walls and patios.
• Painting, if any chipping or peeling is evident.
• Tuckpointing chimney or other brick areas as needed.
• Fixing loose or damaged roof shingles, loose siding and caulking.
• Resealing asphalt driveways.
• Storing unsightly old cars, boats, RVs elsewhere during listing.
Finally, don’t be afraid of color. In season, add some showy annuals, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance. Also consider repainting your front door in a trendy new color, replacing aged mailboxes or installing new house numbers or door hardware for a fresh, up-to-date look.
Julie Morse is an Illinois and
Wisconsin real estate agent.