Recently, we covered spring cleaning for home sellers in the interior of the home. This month, we finish with spring cleaning for the exterior of your home, which when selling a home is extremely important. Why? Because the exterior of your home is the first impression a potential buyer has!
The first thing you should do is to take a notepad and pen, go across the street from your home. First, look straight at your home and make note of how it looks –
- Does it look bright and cheeful; inviting?
- What is its best features?
- What can you easily do to improve what you see?
Walk further up the street, each way, and note the same for the sides of your home. If you are able, do the same for the back of your home. Now, use this information to either clean, repair or replace!
You can boost the curb appeal for your home with only time and effort – yours or hired help. If you feel your home looks worn or “tired” on the exterior, have it power washed, including the roof, under the eaves, the walls, garage door, the gutters, and all concrete areas on the lot. Don’t forget to power wash the decks and patios. Not only will this refresh the look of your home, even on close inspection, but it will kill any mold and mildew and get rid of cobwebs that may have gathered over the fall and winter. Power washers can be rented from most home improvement stores.
Next, make sidewalks and driveways look even cleaner by edging and removing any vegetation there, as well as in any cracks. Once all organic material has been removed, spray these areas with a weed and grass remover to lessen regrowth, saving you time in the future.
Trim tree limbs and bushes that are near the roof, too close to the house, or overshadowing the features of the home (as in the photo at left). Landscaping bushes should be trimmed neatly in an appropriate design to add curb appeal. Now, clean up the debris; rake the entire yard, including wooded areas; and remove all debris from the premises for a very clean effect. Then, remove all weeds from flower beds and lawn; add new wood chips or mulch to freshen beds; and mow and fertilize your lawn, rotating the mowing direction each week to keep the grass standing up straight, adding a more lush, manicured appearance.
Finally, always keep the garage door closed. This one little tip adds so much more curb appeal to potential buyers than any other staging strategy.
So, you have power washed the house and cleaned everything; but the home still looks worn or older than it should. Consider a new coat of paint, even vinyl siding colors can be updated using the appropriate paint. Check your local home improvement store for the latest exterior color combination charts. Your home may look worn, because the colors are passé or a bit faded. Painting is an inexpensive method of updating a worn or fading look.
The front door can be the most impressive feature of your home and one of the first things potential buyers see. You may only need to paint it or wish to completely replace it. A couple hundred dollars for a great front door can shave months off the time needed to sell the house. Ensure it stands out and is welcoming – look at the doors below. Of the two similar doors shown below, which stands out the most, catching the eye, as well as being inviting and welcoming? Which adds a clean, bright look to the building?
Check for needed repairs of door and window casings and pane separators, shutters, sheds, gutters, garage doors, and anything made of wood. Scrape and paint anything that is chipping or rusting. Also, inspect the concrete around your home, including the foundation. Professionally repair any cracks, holes or wear. If you plan to resurface your driveway, use concrete versus the tar/rubber covering, which looks cheap.
A few items need to be frequently replaced, though we tend to forget about them. These are door knobs, mailboxes, light fixtures and brighter bulbs, house numbers that glow at night, and welcoming new door mats at both front and back doors (this is not a time for the mats with cutesy or jokester sayings and anything personal, including your family initials, your favorite anything – i.e. sports team emblem, pets, etc.).
You want the mats to have a luxury feel. These were found across the Internet.
Upgrade your landscaping: replace drab or dying plants/flowers with bright/lush new ones; consider if window flower boxes will add appeal, or hanging flower baskets around the porch, or a container garden designed by a professional landscaper (the hanging baskets and container gardens can be taken with you to your new home).
Consider removing any item that seems to be out of place or detracts from the features of your home, especially all children’s toys – all items in your yard (organic or man-made) should complement or highlight your home’s features.
Lastly, look carefully at your patio/deck furniture. Since these items can be taken with you, consider replacing them with nicer items, arranging them artfully to enhance the leisure areas of your home.
Many small, inexpensive changes and updates can do wonders in selling your home faster. It’s time to check out your home’s exterior – and sell it!
And don’t forget, call South Florida Home Inspection Associates for all your home inspection needs.