Preparing to sell your home is a big undertaking. Between finding a real estate agent, making necessary repairs and staging your home, there’s a lot of work involved. It’s hard to tell which part of selling is most important: You want to make changes that will increase value but don’t cost a ton of money. You also likely want to make quick changes so you don’t delay the selling process.
While you’ll be busy with the interior of your home, don’t neglect the outside of your home, since it’s just as important. Here are some tips on how to increase curb appeal so you can sell your home faster.
The Importance of Curb Appeal
Like anything in life, first impressions matter. The outside of your home is what potential buyers are going to see first – the windows, the porch, the landscaping.
Than Merrill of A&E’s Flip This House and founder of FortuneBuilders says, “No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door.”
If your outdoors needs a little more TLC than you have time for, don’t panic. There are several smaller changes you can make to increase curb appeal with minimal effort and money that won’t prolong your selling process.
Throughout the selling process, consistently mow the lawn, prune bushes and maintain plants. Regularly water the grass, edge the lawn and remove any grass clippings after mowing. Cut back overgrown shrubs and bushes so they’re not distracting from the main view.
If weather permits, planting flowers and plants can really make your landscape pop with color. Ideally, you’ll want to choose plants or flowers that look good all or most of the year and that are easy to maintain. You likely want to have a beautiful landscape, but try to avoid using anything too extensive. While home buyers want their lawn to be presentable, most won’t want one that’s too expensive or difficult to maintain.
It’s important to keep up with the landscape all year round. There isn’t much you can do about dead grass in the winter, but you can remove leaves, branches and dead plants that are cluttering up your yard. Shovel snow, rake leaves and pull weeds in a timely manner no matter what the season.
You want to avoid your home looking cluttered or crowded. Put away any toys, lawn ornaments and religious décor. Place trash and recycling bins out of sight. When taking pictures of your home, put your car in the garage or on the street so your driveway isn’t full and the view of your garage isn’t obstructed.
Make sure there isn’t any trash or dog waste around the yard and pick up any fallen branches. Cleaning the gutters where nests, leaves and debris tend to congregate will not only make the area look more presentable, but will also help maintain them.
Between different seasons, weather and general wear and tear, the siding of your home will likely have some dirt and grime on it. Power washing sidings as well as the deck, porch, carport and pavement will keep them in good condition. Renting a power washer or hiring a professional are both relatively inexpensive ways to really make your home shine.
While you’re at it, thoroughly clean the windows and shutters where excess dirt, grime and cobwebs tend to stick. You want your windows to really sparkle, so scrub them inside and out for the best effect.
Brighten the Entry
Merrill says home buyers will want to picture themselves walking up to the front door everyday, so “it’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house.”
One way to do this is by having a new (or newer looking), inviting and color-contrasting front door. Purchasing a new door or painting the old one a bright color can add new life to your home for far less money than changing the entire outside of the house. On average, a new front door adds over 90% of the amount you spent on the door to the value of your home, so the investment is worthwhile.
If you have a porch, place a doormat, potted plants or a small chair to make the area more inviting. If you’re selling during winter, don’t put your curb appeal on ice. Take advantage of the season and decorate accordingly; it affords you the opportunity to make the entryway more inviting. A few small and inexpensive changes to the front can really change the whole feel of the home.
Get a Second Opinion
You might not notice any broken window hinges, chipped paint or the pile of bricks near the garage you forgot to put away, but someone else will. Have a friend or real estate agent look around your home to double check there aren’t any major repairs needed or eyesores you may have overlooked.
Determine If It’s Time to Upgrade
At some point, you’ll need to take inventory of the entire outside of your home. Most areas can be cleaned, spruced up or updated with minimal cost and effort, but if there are real issues that can’t be easily fixed, consider investing in larger renovations. Not only will it help you sell your home faster, but it could bring you a better offer.
Remember: you only get one chance to make a first impression. Buyers will have already judged your home before they enter the door. You want to make sure they have positive feelings before they even walk into the home so you have the best chance of selling quickly.
Have you improved the curb appeal of your house? Share any tips in the comments!