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Maximizing Your Home Curb Appeal

When it comes to getting potential buyers to want to come inside your house, the importance of curb appeal cannot be overstated. After all, nobody will learn how wonderful the interior is, if the exterior turns them off.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that buyers have the vision needed to see your house in its best light, if it is in disrepair. Also keep in mind that many of the people who say they would consider a fixer-upper rapidly change their mind when confronted with the real thing.

Preparing your home's exterior before selling is the key to getting potential buyers to want to cross that threshold. Here's what you need to do.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

The first step is to honestly assess the exterior condition of your house. Stand at the curb and have a good look. Maybe you stopped noticing those weeds growing in the gutters you haven't cleaned in years. But, believe us, any prospective buyer will notice. Take pictures of your home's exterior and show them to a more objective party, like a friend from work. Ask them to tell you what jumps out in terms of needed maintenance. If three friends say a scraggly shrub needs to go, then it probably does.

Step 2: Make a Checklist of Home Exterior Tasks

Taken together, the following tasks can drastically improve the attractiveness of your home's exterior.

  • Get rid of yard clutter, including leaves, tree limbs, lawn mowers, non-functioning cars, and outdoor toys that can be stored
  • Power-wash your house if it has mold or mildew, or if it is noticeably dirty
  • Re-sod or reseed bare patches on your lawn, and keep your lawn mowed
  • Trim shrubs, pull weeds, and remove dead tree limbs
  • In summer, add bright annual flowers in containers or window boxes
  • If you have a gravel driveway, consider adding a load of gravel to help it look less timeworn. Power-wash concrete driveways and consider resealing asphalt driveways
  • Clean gutters and make sure downspouts are unclogged
  • Replace burnt-out exterior light bulbs and ensure all exterior lights work
  • Replace mulch that has faded
  • Thoroughly clean windows and screens

Step 3. Tackle Major Tasks Before Listing your House

Great. You’ve completed the tasks above. But it’s not quite time to list your house yet. After all, you don't want your house listed for sale while you have workers repairing the roof or installing new downspouts. While you can accomplish a lot of the upkeep tasks necessary to keep your home's exterior looking nice for prospective buyers, enlist in professional help for big tasks, like replacing cracked windows or painting the exterior. Some tasks are not difficult, but may be too time-consuming for you, like re-staining and re-sealing a deck. You won't regret paying a competent professional for these jobs. (Consider Angieslist for excellent professional reviews in your area.)


Now, List Your Home!

Your home's exterior is the first impression for a potential buyer, and curb appeal determines whether they choose to take a closer look. Now that you have your house in tip-top shape and you’re ready to sell it yourself, click here to get started with your listing.