By John Stemlar, Sage Real Estate Advisors
The traditional home selling season (also known as “spring”) is right around the corner. Selling a home is all business; details matter and “curb appeal” is critical. The exterior is the first and perhaps the most lasting impression buyers will get of your home. Great curb appeal entices prospective buyers and gives your property a distinct edge over its competition. Below are our 13 most cost-effective curb appeal suggestions. These “bang for the buck” tips will help to sell your home in the shortest time and at the highest price.
- Cut Back Trees and Shrubs. Trees and shrubs should accent and enhance your house, not hide it. With a good eye, the right tools and a little time, basic shrub and tree trimming can yield impressive results. Of course, if you have dead or diseased trees, or large limbs hanging precariously over the house, hire a professional to have them removed.
- Manicure Your Lawn. Keep your lawn freshly mowed, trimmed and edged. Give it special attention before weekend showings. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to do yard work, consider hiring a reliable, professional yard service to keep your lawn show ready.
- Plant Some Color. Flowering plants are a quick, inexpensive and effective way to make your home look bright, fresh and inviting. Get advice as to which plants do best given the time of year and the amount of sunlight they will receive. Be sure to add fresh mulch to the flower beds.
- Paint the House (or maybe just the trim). Painting an entire house can be expensive, but it may be justified if the current paint is in bad shape or the colors are dated. Often, simply painting the trim can give a home a fresh, clean, updated appearance for considerably less than the cost of painting the entire home. Color choice is key; a professional color consultant (or an experienced real estate agent) can help you select a current color scheme that will appeal to the broadest range of buyers.
- Clean the Roof and Gutters. Buyers notice roofs. Tree branches on the roof, clogged, sagging gutters and algae growth detract from the home’s appearance and give the impression that the roof (and the home itself) have been neglected. If the roof needs replacement, bite the bullet and replace it (you will likely make up the cost in a quicker sale and a higher price). Otherwise clean debris from the roof and gutters, have any moss or algae growth removed and reattach any loose gutters.
- Freshen the Walks and Driveway. Pressure wash brick and concrete walkways, patios and drives. Put a fresh coat of sealant on black top driveways.
- Make Outdoor Living Space Inviting: Patios, porches and decks should look clean, fresh and inviting. Make necessary wood deck repairs and apply fresh stain. Consider replacing (or at least getting rid of) old, weather-beaten furniture. Brighten the space with flowering potted plants.
- Address Your Mailbox: Your mailbox is one of the first things a buyer may notice. If the box is on a wood post, freshen the stain or paint the post a neutral color. If the mailbox itself has seen better days, replacing it is fairly easy and inexpensive.
- Check Your Windows: Pay attention to how window treatments look from the outside. Go for uniformity in color and style, as well as consistency in the degree to which blinds, shutters and draperies are open.
- Stage the Yard: As with staging the inside of a home, the outside of your home should look fresh, clean, organized, uncluttered and depersonalized. Cars, bikes, trash cans and kids’ toys should be kept in the garage with the door closed. Patio and deck furniture should be clean and organized.
- Recruit Your Neighbors: Curb appeal does no stop at your property line. Your neighbors will benefit from your home selling for top dollar, so why not enlist their support? Armed with your best diplomacy skills, tactfully ask your neighbors to keep their front yards looking their best. While you’re not likely to get them to paint their pink house a pleasant shade of gray, you may get your neighbors to keep their lawn manicured and kids’ bikes and toys in the garage with the door closed.
- Use Quality Real Estate Signage: The quality and condition of the For Sale sign in your yard are a reflection of how you (and your agent) regard your property. While different sign sizes and styles are appropriate for different properties and price points, the signage should always reflect pride in the property. Signage should be dignified, made of quality materials, and be clean, fresh and standing proud.
- Capture the Curb Appeal: Professional photography is the cornerstone of a great listing presentation; it is must! The on-line nature of home marketing gives your home incredible exposure. Photos can be easily shared and will be revisited by interested buyers over and over. Great home photography comes from collaboration between your agent and the photographer. Exterior photo considerations should include the best angles, time of day (lighting) and any special architectural elements or landscape features that should be highlighted. Consider evening photography to capture the home’s warmth and ambiance, or perhaps an amazing skyline view.
John Stemlar is a Principal and the Managing Broker at Sage Real Estate Advisors, a boutique Atlanta residential brokerage. He promotes the Lynwood Park neighborhood and the homes for sale in Lynwood Park at www.LynwoodParkHomes.com