Curb Appeal; How To Make Your Home Stand Out

Enhancing the "curb appeal" look of your home from a street perspective is a great way to attract potential buyers. After all, the appearance of your

home is like a major plus for people driving through your neighborhood or who see your house in a real estate for-sale photo. By putting in a little extra effort, you can improve your home's curb appeal and increase your chances of an earlier sale at a higher price. 

You probably live in the house you are trying to sell, and therefore you are familiar with its appearance – perhaps too familiar. Chances are, you don't notice small cracks or peeling paint the same way someone seeing your home for the first time would. Starting from a position on the street, take a close look at your home. What stands out? What looks wrong? Does the tree in front need pruning? Perhaps a shutter needs to be repainted? Maybe the porch light fixture is broken.

These are generally small tasks that don't take a lot of time or money to repair, but that make – or detract—from the look of your home. It may help to take a photograph of your home from the street to see if that gives you a new perspective.

Here are some areas to consider when sprucing up your home for increased curb appeal and sale:

You will have more potential buyers in people can find your house. Your house number should be displayed in a prominent location and illuminated so that it is easy to read. This is extremely important in the evening and during the winter when daylight is limited. If your house is set back a fair distance from the street, consider installing your number on a gate, pillar or fence post that is easy to see.

The old adage that cleanliness is next to godliness applies to your house, too, particularly when you want to sell.  The exterior, including eaves troughs, should be neat, clean and in good repair. Downspouts should have extensions to take water away from the foundation to avoid pooling. Any settling of backfill around a house should be corrected to ensure that the grade at the foundation is higher than surrounding areas.

A lush green lawn enhances your home. It should be freshly cut, weeded, and edged. Flower beds should be weeded and cultivated, hedges trimmed, and garden debris removed. If your lawn isn't in good shape, time will be required to improve it, and professional help may be desirable. Any areas that require new grass should be sodded rather then re-seeded to ensure a finished appearance.

If you are selling during the fall or winter, when your yard may not look its best, make sure that all dead material is removed from gardens and leaves are raked off the lawn. Store shovels and other equipment in a shed or other out-of-sight location.

Doors should be unmarred, clean, and repainted with care if necessary. The doorbell and door hardware should be in good repair. Potential purchasers who see a Realtor wrestling with a reluctant door lock may wonder what else is wrong with the house.

When a Realtor is opening the door of your home, a potential purchaser has plenty of time to look at the porch and entry. Accordingly, they should be clean and tidy. Do not allow flyers to accumulate, and if there is a doormat, it should be clean and in good condition. Decoration such as a tasteful wreath is fine, but don't overwhelm your entry and door with frilly adornments.

Your garage should be a storage area for automobiles, not for miscellaneous articles. To make the best impression, it should be clean and tidy, with garden tools hung neatly off to one side or in a storage cabinet. If they can't be stored elsewhere, bicycles, the snow blower, and the lawn mower should be placed so as not to impede movement around the cars. Garbage containers should be empty and clean. Illumination should be bright, ideally with a 150 watt bulb, at least during the listing period.

The driveway should be degreased and sealed.

Walkways and patios should be clean and free of cracks, with litter removed (if your walkway or patio has unwanted grass or weeds they can be eliminated easily and in an environmentally friendly way with boiling water or a propane torch). In winter, the driveway, walks, and porch stoop should be cleared of snow and salted if necessary. Inside the front door should be an overshoe tray, and a carpeted area where overshoes can be removed.

Your home is an investment, and by taking a little time to put it in top form, you will get a higher return on that investment when you decide to sell.

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