When home buyers drive your neighborhood, or when Realtors are previewing for their clients, what do they see? You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure your home has the “Wow Factor” (instant curb appeal). Simply take a walk around your property right now—front to back. Imagine that you are a prospective buyer. Do you like what you see?
These 8 quick tips will create a visual impression that will make them come back again.
- Start at the door. Get out your paintbrush and spruce up the front door. We recommend a few paint colors based on exterior color palettes. Replace doorknobs and hinges with something new and shiny. A seasonal wreath on the door adds a welcoming touch. If your screen door squeaks or sags, get a new one or just remove it to make an attractive door more visible.
- Under pressure. Rent or buy a pressure washer and go over the entire exterior, top to bottom. Pay special attention to any white or light-colored areas, which tend to collect mildew, dust and dirt. Use it on any lanai, stucco and front entryways. And by the way, power washing is equally effective on concrete, and can really lighten up sidewalks and driveways.
- Spit and polish. Anything that’s metal on the outside of your home should sparkle and shine. Start with the house numbers. A good metal polish might work, but if not, replacing them is relatively inexpensive. Exterior light fixtures should all be working order and should shine brightly, both in daylight and dark. Check for burned-out bulbs while you’re at it. How’s your mailbox? New owners might appreciate one that is not chipping or falling over.
- Hide the kids and pets. You want your home to have the broadest possible appeal. Not all prospective buyers have children or pets so if you do, it’s best to keep the evidence out of sight. Organize the bikes and toys neatly. If you have play equipment such as swings or a basketball goal, make sure they are in good working order. Be sure someone in the family is assigned to pick up after Fido and Fluffy too. Vacuum all of the pet hair from floors and furniture.
- Spruce up the landscaping. You don’t have to have a green thumb to add seasonal color to the outside of your home. Think containers. Placing a few colorful pots on the front steps or by the door is a great place to start. Visit your local nursery (our favorite is Big Earth). Replace plants as needed—nothing dead or dying, please! Keep the grass mowed and edged too.
- Light up your life. Good exterior lighting improves both appearance and security. In-ground spotlights can accent landscape elements or the house itself. Make sure the front walkway and drive are well lit. If wiring is not an option, solar fixtures are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, although they may not be as bright as wired fixtures.
- Look out the window. We assure you any prospective buyers will be doing exactly that. While you’re power washing, make sure the windows get their share. Use an inexpensive vinegar and water spray, and wipe down with old newspapers. Give them the same treatment on the inside and the whole house will sparkle.
As you plan your exterior makeover, keep in mind your neighborhood, competing homes that are on the market, and your budget. Most of these 8 tips for instant curb appeal are inexpensive and can be DIY. If you prefer to spend a few dollars for professional help, the investment will pay off by attracting more buyers more quickly. We are here to answer any questions or get you started with your home buying or selling needs.