Curb appeal is one of the most important and often most underrated details when selling a home. When Buyers first drive up, they are already inspecting your home with open anticipation. If they like what they see on the outside, they are that more excited about seeing the rest. The first impression is always the outside! Make it the beginning of a promising and fulfilling experience.
During my house/cottage searches over the years, I remember many times when we would be meeting our Realtor at the house. There were a number of houses that I just drove away from without even seeing the inside. If the outside looks that bad, I certainly have no desire to see the inside.
Grass should always be neatly trimmed and cut and free of weeds. Having a yard that is cut but that is nothing but weeds isn’t well maintained. There are products that are available to kill weeds and encourage lush grass growth. Make sure you take the effort to trim the edging. Cut grass with 2 feet of grass growth under trees doesn’t look maintained. It looks lazy and sends the message you do not want to send. “This seller cuts corners wherever they can!” Plant some flowers or buy some potted or hanging plants. Keep in mind, you do have to water them, especially in the heat.
Remove all clutter and garbage from the yard, especially beside, behind the garage and the shed. Hire a guy to come and take it off to the dump if you do not want it. Just look on Kijiji there’s a long list of guys offering to do so. If it is something you need/want to store, do so in a clean and tidy manner. This also goes for sporting equipment.
Trim any trees/shrubs so they do not attack Buyers as they walk to the front door. Remove excessively large trees. Many trees roots cause problems to foundations and to water/sewer lines. Repairs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Some trees roots grow out along the surface of the soil, like poplar; others grow down and out. When you have a tree that is 25-35 feet tall; it has quite an extensive root system. Quite often large trees like this, conceal the front of the property and take away from the curb appeal – all you see is tree!
Please use the front door. A number of homes do not have a sidewalk to the front door. This forces buyers to use the back door – which never has the same wow factor as the front entrance. A bit of gravel and sidewalk blocks are inexpensive! They are easily available at Home Depot and are no more than an afternoon job. Take the time to invite buyers into your home.
Pull any weeds you have. This always drives me crazy. People have their homes for sale, weeds are taller than the Buyers children, and Sellers are frustrated that no one wants to buy their home. I cannot count the number of times I’ve told Sellers the weeds need to be pulled before we come to stage, only to show up and find it’s not done. The Realtors typically take pictures immediately after the home is staged, so now the online photos clearly show the Seller doesn’t look after their yard.
Remove last years’ leaves and debris from the gutters, so you don’t have small trees sprouting from your gutters. It should be common sense but seems to be a common issue. There are companies that you can hire to do so if you do not have time or are uncomfortable on ladders.
Make sure your windows and doors are clean and the exterior is clean, paint is still in good condition, if applicable, and please make sure the paint color is neutral and appealing. Ensure walkways into the home are easily accessible and clutter free.
Finally make outdoor living spaces look as good as you can. If you have a deck, stain it before you sell if it needs a fresh coat of stain. Set up some lawn furniture and add a few plants to create a nice welcoming outdoor living space.
When selling in winter, driveways and sidewalks must be cleared and shoveled. Ensure there is a walkway from the street to your sidewalk. Climbing over huge snow banks with young children can be dangerous as well as frustrating. Ensure you took the time and effort to do all yard/home maintenance above before the snow flies. Clean up the yard and the potted plants and the flowers. Put things away so the yard looks neat and clean, with a blanket of snow.
Finally, ensure you take care of any maintenance issues; eaves that are loose/missing; or down spouts that have fallen off; peeling paint around windows; cracking stucco; etc. These are all important details when getting your home ready for sale.