By Myra Jensen
Buyers are always excited to start looking at homes and I know that the first impression – when we are driving up the driveway – can make or break their excitement. Sometimes buyers know that a house is “THE” house the minute we drive up. Getting your house ready to sell does not have to be difficult or expensive.
1. What is attracting your attention? Staging is all about putting the focus on the highlights of your home – and taking away the distractions. You may have spent a long time getting the inside of your home ready, now it’s time to go stand in the street in front of your home and take a good long look. You may want to invite a friend or neighbor to see it with you – you will never be able to see your home like a buyer would – you are too used to it. If you don’t have anybody to help you, take some pictures and look at the pictures. I find that looking at a photograph is very similar to how the buyer will see your home – you will start to see details that you commonly overlook. For example, if you have a beautiful picture window at the front of your home and the bushes are hiding it, it may be time to trim them away from the window.
2. Freshen up the Landscaping If you have a ton of garden gnomes and other decorations, put most of them away as well. And anything that you are not going to leave behind should probably be taken down now – especially things that are in the ground, because those may be considered as part of the deal by the buyer. This is the time to weed the gardens, trim the trees and bushes. Remove bushes that are past their prime and plant flowers if weather permits. Throw seed down if you have bare patches of lawn.
3. Mulch is a sellers best friend Nothing does more for a garden and curb appeal than a fresh layer of Mulch. Mulch loses it’s color very quickly so spread a thin layer of fresh mulch over all existing mulch. This will also help prevent more weeds. Ask your agent for color recommendations, but usually the dark brown is fine.
4. Put the “Stuff” away A lot of us use the side of our garage or under our deck to store “stuff”, park a trailer, etc. Now is the time to purge the things you are never going to use anyway or put them in the garage or somewhere else. Ask a friend to store the trailer. Bring the extra landscaping blocks to the dump or sell them on Craigslist. Just don’t leave them laying around. Take down the huge trampoline in the yard. Put away anything that is distracting. Your neighbors will thank you and the buyers will appreciate it.
5. Pick up the Dog poop I don’t think I have to explain this one too much, but really – do you want buyers stepping in it and dragging it back into your house? Or prancing around the backyard trying to avoid the “bombs”. THAT is distracting and the buyers will not buy your house. Clean the yard EVERY day.
6. The Front Door First of all, the front door should be recognizable. This may sound funny, but you should be able to look at the house and tell where the front door is. Sometime the front door is actually at the side of the house. Just make sure there is a clear path guiding the buyer to the front door. We love to see a pop of color (Feng Shui suggests “Fire” colors of red, orange, purple or deep pink/magenta – red is probably the safest here) at the front door, as long as it does not clash with the rest of the house. At the very least, put on a fresh coat of paint or stain and maybe a new handle on the front door to make it look great!
7. Details, Details Make your home stand out with small details that will put your curb appeal over the top. Fresh paint on the trim. Wash the windows. New light fixtures at the front door and on the garage. New address numbers. A new rug at the front door. A new mail box. These little details are inexpensive and go a long way toward making the buyer fall in love.
8. What is your address???? One of a real estate agent’s pet peeves is driving down the street trying to find a house that either has no address numbers displayed or they are so small we can’t see them. Make sure your address is easily seen from the road and now may be time to get shiny new numbers to add to the curb appeal.
9. Driveway and sidewalks What is the condition of your driveway and sidewalks? If they have a ton of cracks and shifting – you may want to get it repaired or replaced. If your sidewalk has shifted, you may be able to have it mud/sand jacked to level it out. This falls under deferred maintenance. If you have an asphalt driveway, consider having it sealcoated – it is usually inexpensive and looks great afterwards. Seal cracks and crevices to prevent water issues.
10. Listing Photographs Your agent should make sure that the photograph of the front of your house looks amazing, you have about 10 seconds to capture a buyer’s attention on the internet. This does not always mean that the picture is taken straight-on. The photograph should focus on the front door or whatever is the best thing about the front of your house. Some homes look amazing when photographed at dusk with all the interior and exterior lights on. Your house does not need to be fancy or expensive to look great in the listing photograph. Click here for an article on taking great exterior shots in any season!
Click here for more tips to get your home ready to sell. Or contact us today!