When preparing houses to sell, we tend to focus most of our attention on the interior and forget that before anyone sees anything on the inside, they’ve gotta like what they see on the outside. I know, DROP THE MIC…
In all seriousness, if your house looks neglected on the exterior…potential buyers are already expecting the interior to follow suit. You want the entire home buying experience at your property to be a positive one – from the moment they drive up to your home to walking up to your front door, how they feel when they walk in through that front door and throughout the home. It should excite and delight…
If you missed last week’s blog post and video, I shared some of my TOP tips for updating and upgrading your Interior. Today, we’re focusing on the exterior, also known as curb appeal.
You want people driving by your house thinking…
“what a cute house. I wonder what the interior looks like”
“ugh…did you see that house for sale on Elm Street? They didn’t even try…can you imagine what it must look like inside?”
I mean can we say…Nightmare on Elm Street!!!
That is definitely not how we want that conversation to go.
So how do you get the first reaction? This applies to both physical and digital reactions. With most of the initial house hunting done online these days, those real estate photos have to capture the beauty, not the tragedy.
Here are 10 Tips to help you create Curb Appeal and Increase the Resale Value of Your Property:
1. Paint exterior
Power wash the exterior and give it a fresh coat of paint. Take a look at the house colors on your block and choose something different from everyone else’s home so you really stand out. I do say that with some caution…choose sensible colors – not pink or purple or anything juvenile. We want sophisticated. Neutral, but not blah. We recently changed up the color on a home and it turned out beautifully with a beautiful blue color on the body and a bright white on the trim. It definitely stands out from the neighbors and is the prettiest house on the block.
2. Update light fixtures
This includes your porch light and security lights on the side and backyard. I would recommend light fixtures with a motion sensor so that it automatically turns on when someone walks up to the house. Unfortunately, this also means a cat, dog or raccoon walks up it’ll sense them too, but at least it’ll light up your house which will also alert you to “visitors.”
3. Update address numbers
There are so many options available now. You’re no longer limited to the old builder styles. They can be backlit or not. If you have nice numbers but they need a refresh, a quick coat of spray paint will renew them again.
4. Update the mailbox
This is a neglected accessory but a statement maker nonetheless. Is the statement that you don’t care or can you make an effort and replace an old beat up mailbox with a newer version? or just like the address numbers, give it a quick coat of spray paint and breathe some new life into it.
5. Repaint / Refinish the front door
Painting the front door a fun bold color to match the new body color is a great statement maker. Buyers will also remember your house as the one with the yellow door or the red door or the black door. A solid wood door can also be refinished and restained. This goes a long way with making a great first impression.
6. Power wash exterior and walk-ways
If you’ve never power washed before…be warned that it can be addicting. Seeing the dirt lift off the concrete or brick or other surface is addicting. Our homes need a good cleaning to keep it fresh. Dirt, dust, spider webs, detracts from the curb appeal. Give everything a power wash and it feels like you feel after a long, hot shower upon returning home from a few days of camping in the wilderness. There’s nothing like it.
7. Landscaping refresh
All front and backyards could use some TLC. Whether its mowing and edging lawns, adding sod where dead grass spots are, fertilizer, trimming back mature plants and removing anything that’s dead or way overgrown. Replace with larger plants rather than tiny little ones. I know they’re less expensive but if they don’t fill in a space, it’s pointless. If you know you’re putting the house on the market in the future, then planting months in advance will allow them to grow but if you’re within weeks or days of the open house, invest the money in larger plants. Here’s a BIG tip…ONLY use black mulch. Brown mulch looks like poop and NEVER use red mulch. It’s not flattering at all. The black mulch allows all the greenery to really pop.
Let me share a quick story. I have a vendor that I work with regularly and she texted me in a panic a few months ago. She and her husband were redoing their front landscaping and spent a lot of time and money but she absolutely hated it and she wasn’t sure why. She sent me the photos and I recommended she add more elevations to her yard since it was big and everything was too flat. I also highly recommended that she replace the brown mulch with black mulch. Her front yard just looked like a big sea of dirt or poop and it just blended into her beige house. Nothing was standing out. She was smart. She didn’t complain about how much she’d spent on brown mulch and that it was new or any other excuse in the book…she listened. They replaced the mulch and was so happy with the results.
Here’s a side tip: don’t be afraid to fix mistakes. Sure it may cost a little money and you may be irritated with the time that was wasted but don’t suffer every day with living with your mistakes…repaint the wall, replace the mulch…it’s not that serious and it’s not worth your happiness to “live with it”
8. Clean decks and repaint as needed
Decks can be a selling feature but only if they’re not hazardous. Make any wood rot repairs as needed and have them sanded and re-stained or repainted. No one wants a termite nest either so ensure that your wood deck is viable.
9. Clear away all unnecessary debris
Every home is guilty of collecting debris throughout their yard, whether it’s garbage, recycling or leftover materials from previous projects, make sure to get rid of anything that’s not needed and you don’t plan on taking with you to your new home. Unless it’s something important to the next owner, don’t convince yourself that they’ll want it because they probably don’t. Also, old firewood should be disposed of as well as they’re most likely attracting termites. If you live in cabin country or out in the woods, that may be another story but I’m guessing most of you don’t live in cabinet country so, dispose of the wood!
10. Repair fencing and re-stain as needed
Fences in poor condition kill the curb appeal vibe. Make sure your fence is not leaning over to your neighbor’s side or have slats of wood missing. The bottom of the fences tend to rot sooner because it’s in direct contact with water. Check the integrity of the wood, power wash them and paint or stain, as appropriate. If one side is really bad, speak with your neighbor about replacing the fence as it’s usually a shared expense between the neighbors on that property line. Sometimes you may have to bite the bullet and pay for the entire expense since you’re trying to make the best impression for the resale of your home. It’s unfair but it’ll help you sell faster and it’s one less thing the buyer will have as ammunition to lower the sales price.
Now you know the 10 home improvements to increase the resale value of your home’s curb appeal. But as you can imagine, there is so much more.
To help you navigate the home selling process successfully, I’ve created a comprehensive Make Every Buyer Want You Pre-sale checklist. It outlines all the things you should check and repair and upgrade throughout your home inside and out to make every buyer want you. If you follow everything on the list, there should be no reason why buyers wouldn’t be making offers on your property.