Selling a Home (and Garden): The Outside Story!
Back again, let's talk more about curb appeal. I know everyone has very busy lives. We all rush from point A to point B all day long. When we get home we hurry into the driveway, pull into the garage, and scurry to the next task that awaits.
But if you are selling a home, I challenge you to stop and really take in the appearance of your home – especially the outside. The next time you are heading home from work, take your time driving home. Drive slowly through your neighborhood. Really look at your neighbors houses. How does their lawn look? What about their landscape? Is the front of their house well-maintained? Also, while you are driving, take inventory of other houses for sale in your neighborhood. Make a mental note; this is who you are competing against. You need to look at what your competition is doing so you can do it better and make sure that you don't make the same mistakes that they have.
As you approach your property, park in the front of your house and take a good, long look. Keep an open-mind as you look at your home and your lot. Does your lawn have a lot of weeds? Does it have those yellow spots from the dog? How about the landscaping? Does it look freshly manicured and appealing? Inspect the shutters, shingles and siding. Are they all in good shape? And don't forget the lighting. Is everything in working order? Hopefully at this point, you are taking notes. Let's go ahead and pull into the driveway and get to work!
Grass: Now that winter is over and we have had enough sun and rain to green up the grass, we can assess the damage the winter has had on our yards. It may take a professional to do some spraying to get the weeds under control, possibly fertilizer, and something to take care of those yellow spots. It will be a worth-while investment to draw in a buyer with those internet photos of your newly listed property.
Landscaping: It is spring time and everyone wants a beautiful and well-groomed landscape! Especially when house hunting. Make sure it is freshly mulched, which helps keeps the weeds away. Take out any dead foliage from the flower beds and even consider adding a splash of color with some seasonal flowers.
Flowerpots: Flowerpots are a great way to add color and life to your front walk or porch area. Make sure the flowerpots are not too large. I find sometimes people place a flower pot(s) that are too large for the space making it difficult to navigate onto the porch. Remember that most of the time when buyers are coming to view your property there could be approximately three people attending. Ask yourself, can I get in the door with ease? So make sure to consider the size and location of those flowerpots.
Lighting: Lighting is a big issue. There is a lot of brass lighting in Ohio homes. Brass is out. My suggestion for lighting is typically a black fixture or bronze fixture. Also don't forget about turning on the lights at night. I notice that a lot of people are just lighting the front of their houses. Don't forget the back yard lights! Often home buyers will conduct a drive-by of your home and will turn on the back street to view the home from all sides. Illuminate your wonderful backyard space for them to see!
Another issue with lighting is size. Consider a larger light in the front of the house to really make the front door pop. And what about light bulbs? We recommend that all your light bulbs are new and are not the fluorescent spiral. That style is not very appealing so make sure it's a solid bulb.
Paint colors: We advise homeowners all the time that there is a limit of three colors on the front of a house. Let me repeat that, three! If there are too many paint colors on a house, it just really makes the house look busy and overwhelming. People are not sure where to look.
As for the selection of those three paint colors, we recommend that the main body of the house is the first color. The second color will be the trim. For the last color, we save that for the front door. The front door needs to have a little bit different color. Don't just make it the same color as the front of the house. Why, you ask? The reason is, when someone looks at the front of your house they want to be able to find the front door as they are going in. If your door blends in with the rest of the front exterior it's not inviting them to come in.
As for the selection of those three colors, just make sure they are consistent with the style of your home. My favorite color might be purple and a purple house is on my wish-list. But if I have a traditional colonel style home, that might not be the best selection when it comes to the siding color. Stay true to the architecture of the home when selecting the color combinations.
Window treatments: I am sure this is something that you probably never thought about when discussing the curb appeal of your home. But, I want you to walk back outside and look at the front of your house again. Are all your window treatments consistent? You might have curtains and blinds. Whatever they might be, all of them need to be placed in the exact same position throughout the whole front of your house. This effects the curb appeal perspective of your home. If you have blinds, make sure all the blinds are at the same height in each window. If you have curtains, make sure they are pulled back, keeping it consistent and also letting the light pour into your home.
Now, you've got the outside ready. How do you think the inside shapes up? Stay posted to the Ask Amy Staging, LLC blog to read our next blog about "Preparing to sell: the inside story!"