Many first-time home sellers are aware of the value that renovations, touch-ups and upgrades in the home can hold when prospective buyers first come to inspect the property. Any experienced real estate agent will tell you that presentation matters when it comes to leaving a lasting impression with buyers, and making sure the home is sold in a timeous fashion. Even so, sellers regularly forget to pay the same attention to the outside of their property, neglecting to realise that this is the very first glimpse that buyers have of the home.
While an untidy yard, porch and driveway can leave buyers cold before they’ve even seen the rest that the home has to offer, taking care of your home’s exterior will make your property one that they’ll remember because of this attention to detail.
Kerb appeal is what makes people stop at a property with a “for sale” board on the front lawn – this is how to take advantage of it and sell your home quickly, and at the best possible price.
1) Keep the yard green and pristine
If your garden impresses prospective buyers, it’s a sure-fire way to pique their interest in the rest of the property – and it’s one of the very first things buyers will see when they come to view the property. Even if you are not exactly a gardening aficionado, even simple maintenance and a bit of watering a few weeks before the open house can go a long way in ensuring that your lawn is lush and the plants in your garden look taken care of.
If your yard isn’t really teeming with plants or shrubs, consider getting a few potted plants from your nearest garden centre to brighten up the space. Trim the hedges and the lawn, and make sure the flowerbeds are neat. This hardly costs anything, but gives the immediate impression of a property that is well maintained.
Remember, the entire purpose of staging the home is to let potential buyers imagine themselves living in the space. In this regard, a green garden will appeal to the largest group of buyers – and if the buyers perusing the property are avid gardeners, even more so!
2) Mind your driveway and walkway
Often forgotten by sellers, the driveway and walkway leading home seekers to the rest of your property can immediately leave a bad taste in buyers’ mouths if they look neglected. Also one of the first things that prospective property investors lay eyes on, a driveway or walkway that is bristled with weeds or stained by car oil doesn’t really create the impression of a property that is regularly cleaned and maintained.
Again, this isn’t something that should cost you too much to improve. Remove any weeds that might be growing out of the cracks in the concrete, and use a filler to fix the cracks. Cracks do not only spoil the look of walkways and driveways, but can also lead to further problems when moisture seeps in, potentially leading to more damage later on.
You’ll be surprised to see the difference a quick hose down and a bit of scrubbing make to the overall appearance of this part of your property. If you’ve got some extra cash to spare and really want to wow potential buyers from the get-go, consider coating it with a quality driveway sealer that won’t only make it look brand new, but will also repel water and oil and make it easier to clean.
3) Flaunt your exterior lighting
If you make exterior lighting a priority, the aesthetics of the outdoor space can truly come to life when the sun sets. As some potential buyers like to do a nighttime tour of the suburb to gauge the safety of the area, this is one aspect of the property that can, well, shine.
When taking a look at your exterior lighting, make sure that all the bulbs used outside have the same type of hue. The uniformity of the lights makes them more than just a practical feature of the property, but can also add to its kerb appeal. Try to choose eco-friendly bulbs with a warm glow instead of white LED lighting, which can create a colder ambience. Clear bulbs are preferable over frosted ones, as they provide more light and make for a more beautiful look when they’re all switched on at night.
Think ahead and install new light fixtures around those parts of the yard that are usually not well lit, and make sure that the wattage you opt for is not too bright, bothering the neighbours or residents when it’s time to go to bed.
4) Don’t forget the garage
Beware of forgetting to tidy the garage before interested buyers start arriving to inspect the property. And make no mistake – they’ll want to get a good idea of just how much space there is in the garage, so they’ll definitely want to see the inside. Consider parking your cars somewhere out of sight for the duration of the open house to give buyers that come to see the property a sense of the space that is available.
While most of us use the garage as a place to store knick-knacks, old exercise bikes and unopened boxes from the time we moved into the home, this will definitely not lead to a great response from buyers, who’ll want to see whether their sports utility vehicles will fit into the garage.
Clean and sweep the space thoroughly and use a feather duster to get rid of any cobwebs that might have accumulated in the corners. Get rid of everything that is cluttering your garage and donate the things that you aren’t using to your nearest charity shop. Trust us – if you haven’t opened that box in years, chances are you really don’t need to move its contents to the next house you’re moving into. You’ll be grateful when you have to start packing again once your current home is sold.
5) Replace outdoor accents and give your landscaping some love
The little details are often the ones that elicit the biggest response from people looking to acquire a property, and these are usually also the things that buyers remember when reviewing all the properties they have seen. Of course, this is especially true if these little details have not been taken care of.
Outdoor accents like the mailbox, doormat and house numbers probably aren’t things that will derail a sale, but if these things are spruced up, they will contribute to a general idea of tidiness and attention to detail. A lick of paint on a tired old mailbox will bring it back to live, as will a new doormat (which you can move to your new property) and shiny, polished house numbers.
While it isn’t necessary to have the landscaper come around to work their magic on the garden (although you can consider doing so if the yard really needs some TLC), these experts can give the entire yard a new look that’ll elevate the entire kerb.
6) Give your front door a face-lift
Some people refer to the front door as the handshake of the house. Rouse interested buyers when they make the home’s acquaintance by giving the front door a fresh coat of paint that complements the exterior of the rest of the house, while also removing any rust or other marks from the doorknob and giving it a good old shine with some polish.
If your front door has windows, clean them, and also clean any scuffmarks from years of entering and leaving. Take care to also sweep the front porch, clean the windows and stage it with a few comfy outdoor chairs. Buyers will be able to see themselves lounging on the porch, looking out over a beautifully manicured garden.
When searching for properties to invest in, homebuyers pay attention to every tiny detail – as they should, considering that they’ll be spending a substantial amount of cash on acquiring them. While the overall upkeep of a property is important, and certain rooms like the kitchen and bathroom can make or break a sale, an exterior that is not well taken care of and maintained will do sellers no favours.
Sellers should make sure that the garden is tidy, and can even considering making use of a landscaper’s service to give the yard a new lease on life. The driveway and walkway should be clean and free of weeds, and the garage shouldn’t be filled with a jumble of junk that obscures its storage space. Exterior lighting will make the home shine after dark. A tidy porch and a freshly-painted front door round out the kerb appeal a property has, as does the little details: a new doormat, legible house number and neat-looking mailbox are all little things that make a big difference.
Not sure how to put your home in the best light when it goes on the market? A professional and experienced real estate agent recommended by Perfect Agent can help you to appeal to the largest group of potential buyers.