do make a difference when selling your home. Oftentimes,
before making the phone call to schedule an appointment,
a homebuyer will drive by your home to determine if they
may be further interested. If the house presents a good
impression, then you receive the phone call for an appointment.
Many homes are eliminated from a potential homebuyer’s
list because they do not give a good first impression.
The work you put into sprucing up the inside will be in
vain if the exterior of your home does not draw people
in. In the real estate world this is known as "curb
appeal", that is, your home should be appealing to
potential buyers from their initial curbside or drive-by
Achieving curb appeal is not very difficult,
nor does it have to be very costly. Assuming your roof,
gutters, etc… are not in obvious need of repair, most
of your efforts will be focused on cosmetics. Step back
from your home or better yet, go to the curb and take
a long objective look at your home. You may want to take
a look from different angles. Compare your home to others
on your block. You will be focusing on two main areas;
the house itself and the landscaping surrounding your
When observing your home, start at the
top of the roof and work your way down. Write down areas
that need attention. You are striving for a look that
makes observers feel that your home is neat, clean and
well cared for. The following areas of your exterior deserve
Roof and chimney - Shingles should be
intact with none missing and mortar between the bricks
should be secure. Although expensive to replace, a roof
or chimney in disrepair often discourages potential homebuyers.
Exterior siding - If your siding needs
to be painted, it is well worth the expense and time.
Choose a color that is fairly neutral and that coordinates
with homes in your immediate vicinity. Power washing dirty
siding can make a house look almost new again.
Gutters – You should repair and clean
gutters. Weeds growing from your gutters are a good example
of a negative first impression. Nothing says "poor
maintenance" like weeds in a gutter.
Windows and Trim - If the paint on the
trim or windows is peeling, scrape and paint. Replace
any broken glass and finally clean the windows inside
Front Entry Door - If your front door
has not been painted in 3-4 years, consider a fresh coat
of paint. Depending on the style of your home, a contrasting
color from your siding may add visual interest. The front
door should welcome buyers into your home. A nice looking
wreath in tune with the season gives a warm homey touch.
Shutters - If applicable, repair and paint
if needed. Usually, a contrasting color matching the front
door or a neutral color works best.
Foundation – You should repair visible
cracks. Basement windows should be repaired if cracked,
cleaned and trim painted if necessary. It sometimes helps
to paint the exposed foundation on the exterior of your
home but you should avoid loud colors.
Porch – Once again, repair and paint railings,
posts and steps. Place a few nice chairs and a table with
plants if space permits. Place a welcome mat by the door.
Hanging flower baskets add a nice touch but don’t forget
to water them. An inexpensive idea to dramatically enrich
your curb appeal is to add a brass mailbox, a new brass
porch light, brass house numbers and a brass kick plate.
For less that $80.00 dollars you will transform the look
of your home.
Now that the house’s exterior is in good
shape it is time to concentrate on the landscaping around
your home. Your goal is to have the landscaping complement
your home, not detract from or compete with it. Homebuyers
should not have to look through overgrown shrubs or trees
to see your home. Anything overgrown or so large that
it blocks windows, doorways or sidewalks should be trimmed
back or removed. Any diseased or dying plants should be
removed. Aim for a few plants that serve as a focal point,
and fill in with other smaller plants. Make beds deep
enough to accommodate shrubs when they are fully grown
(usually 5-6 feet). Visit a local nursery for ideas. You
can get great ideas by simply driving around the neighborhood
as well. After trimming and planting, cover the soil with
a thick 3-4 inch layer of mulch. Keep the beds free from
weeds, and depending on your location and season, add
a few annuals for color interspersed with the bushes.
Keep everything trimmed and neat so the focus is on your
home. Keep your lawn cut, apply fertilizer and weed control
Remember, your landscaping should enhance
your home, not overpower it. Keeping everything trimmed
and neat will give your home the "curb appeal"
needed to make someone want to take a closer look. Once
you get the potential buyer inside…well that’s the subject
for another article! Stay tuned.
Bruce Andrews has been in the real estate
business for over 20 years. He has experience in real
estate investing as well as practicing real estate as
a broker for several years. He is currently President
of Fifty States Realty.