“Curb Appeal” Get your Property Ready to Show
Work your way from the outside in the same way a buyer will see your home for the first time. It is particularly important that your home has “Curb Appeal.” A potential buyer’s first impression of your house is forming as they put their first foot on your property. View your house from the buyer’s perspective. Stand on the opposite curb and slowly observe your property from top to bottom and side to side. Compare it to surrounding properties. Focus on the following three areas:
How does your landscaping look compared to the rest of the neighbourhood? If you guess it would rate average, make some adjustments. You might want to consider adding some bushes around the property.
Get out the pruning shears. The purpose of landscaping is to complement the home, not hide it. Overgrown shrubs should be sheared to a height near the bottom of the windows. Remove any ivy clinging to the house. Tree limbs should be high enough that you are able to walk beneath. Lawns should be kept cut and watered. Rake up any leaves or grass cuttings.
Planting a few flowers is an easy way to add colour and vibrancy, enhancing that first impression of your home. Invest in a full flat of mature, colourful flowers, such as petunias or periwinkles, which last the length of the growing season. Consider purchasing a few flowerpots for your porch and planting flowers or blooming plants.
When you view your house from across the street, does it appear weathered or faded? If so, it is probably time to treat it to a fresh coat of paint. This is usually a sound investment; new paint can do wonders to increase a home’s perceived value.
Walk slowly around the entire house, looking slowly at every little detail and repair and replace the obvious. Outside vent covers, damaged siding, loose stonework, missing flashings, slope grading are all things to look for and repair and replace if required.
Examine the roof shingles closely. Old or leaking roofs should be replaced. If there are leaks, you will have to disclose this detail to the homebuyer anyway, and they will want it replaced.
The Front Door and Porch:
The front door and surrounding area should look particularly fresh and welcoming, as this will be the buyer’s first up-close impression as they enter the house. If you paint nothing else, at least give the door a new coat. Replace the doorbell if it is broken and polish the door fixture until it gleams. Wash the mailbox. Keep the porch swept and buy a new large plush doormat. All these little things will contribute to the overall effect of a well-cared-for and welcoming home.
Make sure the lock works smoothly, and the key fits easily. When a new homebuyer visits your house, the Realtor will open the front door with a key. You do not want the buyers’ first experience to be of waiting on the doorstep while the Realtor fumbles with the lock. Especially on cold days!