Curb Appeal When Selling Your Home

Let’s talk about the outside of your home.  There are lots of things that can easily be done by yourself prior to listing it for sale.   Some of these items fall under the ‘good cleaning’ category and others might require a bit of money to update.  Let’s begin with the quickest!


Remove (and store) window screens.  What?  Yes…it’s a secret trick of the trade!  This is easy to do for any first floor windows and the benefit is that the windows will let in more light and look much cleaner.  This is a benefit from the outside and the inside.  Lighter and brighter rooms appear larger and more appealing…particularly when it’s natural light.  While you are at it, clean all the windows!


Second easiest – power wash.  If you own a power washer, great…drag it out! If you don’t, you can either rent one at your local big box home store or you can pay a company to do it for you.  Many painting companies also offer power-washing services.  Do the house, the gutters (particularly on the front) and all walkways, retaining walls and fences.  You will be amazed at how a good power washing will make everything look new again!  It is also very satisfying to watch the transformation as you are cleaning.  Be sure to read all instructions especially about how far to be from the surface being cleaned as it is easy to accidentally damage something by getting too close!


Next, let’s look at your house numbers.  Now that they’ve been power washed clean, are they updated?  It’s such a simple thing but new, easy to read numbers go a long way towards making a good impression.  Numbers are generally inexpensive and easy to change out.  If you do change them, make sure you have the exterior paint to touch up any spots behind them.  If you don’t, consider just painting the existing numbers and putting them back up for a fresher appearance.


Lighting is next.  An updated light fixture is a very quick and relatively inexpensive way to update the look of your home.  Keep in mind scale and placement (use the original lighting as a guide) when you replace a fixture as you don’t want to leave your home too dark if you go too small.  As an example, a basic 60’s ranch with lantern style lighting and scroll numbers can look ‘country’ in style.  Change those to something more modern (sans serif numbers and sleek style lighting) and the same ranch can read more ‘MCM’ in style.  If you aren’t sure which styles to pick, reach out to a designer.  Many offer simple consultation type services that are billed hourly so if you prep ahead of time and go into the appointment with some ideas, you can likely keep the cost down.


Another key thing to consider is the roof.  Can it be seen from the front?  Is it in good condition?  If not, will it pass inspection?  If it won’t, it might be worth getting it fixed ahead of time as this would definitely be a nice selling point.  If it is in good shape but is maybe dirty or has a bunch of moss (hello shaded homes!!), contact a roofer a company certified in roof cleaning to get a quote on cleaning it.  It is probably best to NOT just go clean it yourself as you could damage it and repairs could be costly.


Exterior paint is one of those things that could be updated and will likely get you a great return on your investment (if your home needs it) but that you are unlikely to do on your own.   Professional exterior paint can be a sizeable investment depending on the size and style of your home, but if the paint is faded, cracked or peeling…could make or break the sale, too.  At the very least, consider if your home needs touch up on any trim, railings, garage or the front door.  The front door is quite literally what buyers see up close first, so make sure it’s in good shape.  Even painting only the front door can freshen the entire look of the house, so it’s usually worth considering when selling your home.


Lastly, landscaping and color.  These two things often go hand in hand since most outdoor color comes from living things either planted in the ground or in pots.  If the season is right, plan to have the professional photos of your home done when the landscaping looks the best.  Have beautiful blooming trees?  Capture them!  Is your lawn amazingly green in the early spring?  That is an ideal time to take photos.  If your landscaping have its own color due to the season or just the type of things growing, plant some bright colored flowers in pots on walkways or near the front door.  A little pop of color on the outside will do wonders for curb appeal both in photos and in person!  Lastly, make sure everything is tidy.  Freshen beds with new mulch, cut the grass, edge any beds, rake up leaves and debris, etc.  A great idea is to take a photo of your home from the front that captures the house and the entry/yard.  Be critical…how does it look?  You will be amazed at how much you notice in a photo that you have just gotten used to seeing in daily life!


The curb appeal of your house is really what gives the first impression.  The front photo is typically the first one in the listing so it could be the difference between a click or not.  Even if the interior is amazing, no one will see it if the outside isn’t up to par so don’t overlook the curb appeal!


Laura Landesman, Certified Professional Real Estate Stager, is the Owner of Showhomes of The Woodlands in The Woodlands, TX.  She is a Real Estate Staging Association-PRO member and is passionate about the power of home staging and updates to maximize a home’s sales price and get fast offers. Thanks to Catherine Chandler, owner of Showhomes Portland, for her contribution of this article.


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