Maximizing Curb Appeal

It’s time to put your house on the market. You’ve diligently prepared each room, paying attention to even the smallest detail. Perhaps you’ve upgraded the plumbing and electric service, making sure everything from “the bones” out will appeal to potential buyers.

But, as they say, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” And when it comes to selling a house, that first impression begins at the curb. No matter how beautiful your home is on the inside, you want to create anticipation before visitors to your open house step out of their car.

Here are 10 ways to maximize the curb appeal of your home and give a positive first impression:

Have New Shingles Installed

If your shingles have seen better days, it may be time to have them replaced. A new roof will increase the value of your home. Plus, it will assure those considering making an offer that they won’t have to factor in the cost of a new roof for many years to come. 

(Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular, but you’ll want to check with your real estate agent before investing in one. Ask if it will increase the value of your home more than the cost of installation.)

Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint

Do your soffits and fascia need painting? How about your window frames? Maybe the entire exterior of your home? A gleaming coat of fresh paint makes a world of difference to the curb appeal of your home. If you don’t have the time or inclination to tackle this job on your own, there are professionals who can make short work of it.

Maximize Curb Appeal with Paint

Wash the Windows (and the Shutters)

Sparkling windows set off by freshly painted frames and freshly laundered window coverings will attract attention—the good kind.

And if you have shutters, you’ll want them to appear as clean and well-maintained as possible, whether that means a new coat of paint (wooden shutters) or a good scrub (vinyl shutters).

Spruce Up the Driveway

Depending on the condition of your driveway, it may need repaving, resurfacing, or just a good hosing down. No matter how long or short your driveway, if it’s stained and cracked, it will take away from the curb appeal of your house. However, if it’s clean and looks new, your home will look significantly better.

Wash the Car

Whether there will be a car parked in the driveway or the garage, it’s a good idea to take it through the carwash or handwash it before each scheduled open house. It’s a little detail, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a lasting impression. Even an older model looks better when it’s clean.

Curb Appeal Clean Car

Put Away the Bikes and Other Yard Clutter

Whether potential buyers have children or not, when considering making an offer on a new house, they’ll almost always prefer a minimalist approach to the exterior and interior of your home. So, put away the bicycles, rollerblades, trampoline (if practical), and other items that are “cluttering” your yard.

Cut the Grass 

The smell of fresh cut grass can do for potential buyers what the scent of fresh baked goods can do for them when they walk through the front door. It can stir up all kinds of pleasant memories. Plus, a neat and tidy yard is one of the most important ways to increase the curb appeal of your home. 

Trim the Hedges & Overgrown Bushes

A well-manicured lawn will make a great first impression, but hedges that are overrun with new growth and overgrown bushes can distract from the appearance of your yard. Remember that this, and any other task you’re not able to complete on your own, can be done by professionals. If you plan to do the job yourself but are concerned about damaging the plants, it’s advisable to do some research or get a professional opinion about how best to trim back overgrowth without damaging hedges, bushes—and possibly, trees.

Clean Hedges Curb Appeal

Sweep or Blow Off the Sidewalks (and Driveway)

When you’re cutting the grass and trimming the hedges, it’s common to get clippings on the sidewalks and driveway. Even if you’ve spent hours working on the appearance of your property, grass and leaves on these surfaces give the appearance of an incomplete project and may be difficult to overlook. Have a blower? You can make short work of the task? If not, you can still bring out the straw broom and give everything a good sweeping.

Weed the Flower Gardens

Fresh paint. Clean windows. A well-manicured lawn. Trimmed hedges. And … gardens overrun with weeds. No. Just no.

Some tasks can be accomplished in an hour or two. Some in an afternoon. However, weeding the gardens can take several sessions, especially if you have extensive gardens—or this is the first time you’ve gotten to them since last year. Pace yourself. Weeding gardens can be one of the most physically demanding tasks you have on your list.

Once all the weeding is done, you may also want to spread several bags of mulch over the gardens and fill in the gaps. Talk about increasing curb appeal!

A Word about Selling Your Home in the Winter

When possible, plan your move several months ahead, especially if you’ll be moving in the winter. In this way, you can tend to outdoor tasks that are weather-dependent. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your roof reshingled or the house repainted once the weather turns cold. And while you may be able to tidy up the gardens, depending on how much snow you get, you may not even be able to get to them. 

And one of the most important things to remember if you’re selling your house in the winter is to keep the driveway, sidewalks, and stairs free of ice and snow. It doesn’t matter how much curb appeal your home has if potential buyers are looking at it from their back after having fallen.