Surveys tell us that over 70% of buyers either check online pictures or do a drive-by before deciding whether to view a property. The first impression of a home for sale is critical. Most of us over time stop seeing the details of the space we inhabit both inside and out. If you want to see what a buyer (or your guests) will see, next time you come home, park a distance away and view the property as a visitor would, seeing the details. Walk up to the house with the same attention to detail. Take a few pictures of the front exposure and study them. Pictures don’t lie. Identify the best features and the challenges of your home. How can you enhance the best features and minimize or correct the challenges?
Repeat this process at dusk and after dark. Lighting is a great way to add drama, interest, and attention to the home. Spot lights, low voltage lighting along a driveway or a garden bed, and softly lit windows can all add to the curb appeal.
Start with clean up and repair items. Kill any mold or mildew in evidence, clear away any debris and cobwebs, and replace the mailbox, lights and house number if needed. Replace any rotting boards. Scrape and paint as needed. Refinish any crumbling concrete. Pressure wash siding and decks as needed… You get the gist.
Place out of sight: garden tools, kids’ toys, pet accessories, and garbage cans. Relocate your camper or boat off the property.
Remove any weeds from lawns, garden beds and walkways for an easy-to-care-for look. Cut back foliage which is hiding the home or encroaching on walking spaces. Keep the lawn mowed and healthy. Edge garden beds and apply fresh mulch or stir up last years’. Note: mulch is a fabulous selling tool which freshens, covers, defines, and shows potential for gardens.
Cut back dead foliage as early as weather permits in the spring and stay on top of fallen leaves in the fall to show the joy of the yard and not the work required
Consider changes which will increase appeal. Remember you want to create broad appeal so when you’re selling may be not the best time for really bold choices. Add garden beds which will soften the front of the house or direct attention to the front door. Change the light fixtures to a larger or more current style for more impact. A new front door and/or hardware may be an excellent investment to sell. Or paint the front door a strong colour to allow it to be the welcoming beacon it should be. Paint the garage door to blend more with the home if it now stands out too much. Look at how we improved the appeal of this home primarily by changing colours.
This doesn’t just apply to residential properties, Check out this multi-unit facelift I advised on:
Once you have the front exposure looking its best, carry on with the rest of the yard. While it may not be visible from a drive-by, it will be viewed during the showings you will have encouraged by maximizing your curb appeal.