If you’re getting ready to put your home on the market this summer, these 13 cost effective curb appeal tips are sure to help it sell faster.
- Cut Back Trees and Shrubs: Trees and shrubs should accent and enhance your house, not hide it. With a good eye, the right tools and a little time, basic shrub and tree trimming and pruning can yield impressive “curb appeal” results. There is plenty of good on-line advice on trimming and pruning. Of course, if you have dead or diseased trees, or large tree limbs hanging precariously over the house, hire a professional to have them removed.
- Manicure Your Lawn: Keep your lawn freshly mowed, trimmed and edged. Give it special attention before weekend showings. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to do it yourself, consider hiring a reliable, professional yard service to keep your lawn show ready.
- Plant Some Color: Flowering plants are a quick, inexpensive and effective way to make your home look bright, fresh and inviting. Get advice as to which plants do best given the time of year and the amount of daily sunlight they will receive. While you’re planting, be sure to add fresh mulch to the flower beds.
- Paint the House: Painting an entire house can be expensive, but may be justified if the current paint is in bad shape or the colors are simply dated. From a curb appeal standpoint, painting only the trim can give your home a fresh, clean, updated appearance for considerably less than the cost of painting the entire home. Color choice is key (whether painting the entire house or just the trim); a professional color consultant can help you select the color scheme that will likely appeal to the most buyers.
- Clean the Roof and Gutters: Buyers notice roofs, and it goes beyond curb appeal. The roof is a major home maintenance and expense item. Tree branches on the roof, clogged, sagging, gutters and algae growth detract from the home’s appearance and give the impression of the roof (and the home itself) being neglected. If the roof needs replacement, bite the bullet and replace it. Otherwise clean debris from the roof and gutters, have any moss or algae growth removed and reattach any loose gutters.
- Freshen the Walks and Driveway: Pressure wash brick and concrete walkways, patios and drives. Put a fresh coat of sealant on black top driveways.
- Make Outdoor Living Space Inviting: Outdoor living space is a “must have” for most homebuyers. Patios, porches and decks should look clean (pressure wash), fresh and inviting. Make necessary wood deck repairs and apply fresh stain. Consider replacing (or at least getting rid of) old, weather-beaten furniture. Brighten the space with flowering potted plants.
- Address Your Mailbox: Your mailbox is one of the first things a buyer may notice. If the box is on a wood post, freshen the stain or paint the post a neutral color. If the mailbox itself has seen better days, replacing it is fairly easily and inexpensive.
- Treat Your Windows: Pay attention to how window treatments look from the outside. Go for uniformity in color, style and even the degree to which blinds, shutters and draperies are open.
- Stage the Yard: As with staging the inside of a home, the outside of your home should look fresh, clean, organized, uncluttered and depersonalized. Cars, bikes, trash cans and kids’ toys should be kept in the garage with the door closed. Patio and deck furniture should be clean and organized. Consider removing any yard ornaments.
- Recruit Your Neighbors: Curb appeal does no stop at your property line. Your neighbors will benefit from your home selling for top dollar, so why not enlist in their support? Armed with your best diplomacy skills, tactfully ask your immediate neighbors to keep their front yards looking their best. While you’re not likely to get them to paint their pink house a pleasant shade of gray, you may get your neighbors to keep their lawn manicured and kids’ bikes and toys in the garage with the door closed
- Use Quality Real Estate Signage: The quality and condition of the For Sale sign in your yard are a reflection of how you (and your agent) regard your property. While different sign sizes and styles are appropriate for different properties and price points, the signage should always reflect pride in the property. Signage should be dignified, made of quality materials, and be clean, fresh and standing proud.
- Capture the Curb Appeal: Professional photography is the cornerstone of a great listing presentation. The on-line nature of home marketing gives your home incredible exposure. Photos can be easily shared and will be revisited by interested buyers over and over. Great home photography comes from collaboration between your agent who knows what she wants to show (or not show) and the photographer who knows how to best capture it. Considerations include the best angles, time of day (lighting) and any special architectural elements or landscape features that should be highlighted. Consider evening photography to capture the home’s warmth and ambiance, or perhaps an amazing skyline view.
John Stemlar and Jeff Mueller are the owners of Sage Real Estate Advisors, a boutique Atlanta residential brokerage firm.