How many times have you judged a book by its cover, despite what your parents taught you?
We all know that, for most things, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. That isn’t the case when you’re selling a house.
A house needs to catch the eye of a potential buyer right away with spectacular curbside appeal. But when you’ve lived in this home for years, it’s hard to look at it with fresh eyes and see the whole picture.
It’s All About That First Impression
People make up their minds quickly: if they don’t like the way your home looks while they’re scrolling through listings online or driving down the street, it won’t matter how great it is inside.
It’s all about first impressions: if you want people to walk through your door and buy your house, you have to do the following things.
1. Keep Your Lawn in Tip-Top Shape
This is something you’re going to have to do regularly, particularly if your home is on the market for more than a couple of weeks. A scraggly lawn and wild landscaping gives the appearance of neglect, which is the last thing you want people to associate with your listing.
Trim back all your trees and shrubbery so the view of your home isn’t blocked from the street: the front of your house shouldn’t be a mystery.
Mow your lawn at least once a week, and rake up the clippings. A freshly manicured lawn loses some appeal when there are clumps of clippings all over it.
A well-trimmed lawn is an attractive lawn. Paul Rushforth Real Estate.
If you’re selling your home in the winter, make sure your driveway is plowed and that snow isn’t piled up against the house.
Tip: As the weather warms up, your kids will be spending more and more time outside. We’re big fans of fun in the sun, but remember to pick up and store all toys before an open house or scheduled showing. Buyers want to imagine themselves enjoying your great porch or backyard, not tripping over a frisbee.
2. Invest in Some Colorful Plants
Spring is the perfect opportunity to add a pop of colour. Talk to a landscape artist or florist to plan out your garden so when it blooms, it looks professional and pleasing.
Depending on when you sell, you may want to opt for fully-grown plants and flowers that can easily be transplanted into your existing gardens.
You don’t need a green thumb to achieve the look of a lush garden – just some potted plants and a little water.
Limited Yard Space? Window Boxes Can Do the Trick
In Ottawa, it’s not uncommon to have a limited (or no) yard. But you can still add eye-catching colour with window boxes and containers – and it’s incredibly easy to do! There are several places with affordable boxes and containers you can install yourself which will instantly give your curbside appeal a boost.
3. Make Sure All Your Outdoor Lights Are Working (and Cobweb-Free)
Your outdoor lights are the key to achieving great curbside appeal as the sun sets. Not only is it a matter of safety, but you can use lights to make your home look warm and inviting.
Make sure all your front entry lights are working. You should also give them, and the rest of your entrance, a thorough cleaning. There’s nothing like a cobweb to ruin a first impression.
If you have a path to your door, you should line it with lights. Most home stores have solar ones for sale that easily stick into the ground. This provides a nice glow, and makes for a great image.
Lighting, like this sconce, can make any outdoor living area more inviting.
4. Repair Your Driveway, and Any Paths to Your Home
Speaking of paths: yours are crucial to your curbside appeal. A chipped stone path or cracked driveway will distract buyers from the great things about your home.
Make sure any necessary repairs are done in advance. Use a garden trimming tool to keep the edges of your path and driveway neat, and pull any weeds that crop up in or around the path.
Keep your path trim and neat, and buyers will enjoy the walk to your front door.
5. Wash Your Siding, Windows, and Decks
A house with dingy siding, mildewed decks and porches, and dirty windows gives an overall negative impression to buyers.
Using a soft-bristled long-handled brush and a bucket of water, you can easily clean off your siding, whatever kind it is. You can do the same for your deck. A rag, cleaning solution, and good old-fashioned elbow grease will get your windows to sparkle.
It may take a weekend or two of your time, but the end result will be a fresh-faced house that shines.
Don’t forget the garage!
Tip: Professionals cleaners aren’t just for your home’s interior. You can hire a company to do the “dirty work”.
6. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint to Your Door
It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do, and chances are that your door needs it. The nicks and scratches you’ve come to know need to be gone when the buyer arrives.
Exterior paint is one of the most affordable ways to increase your curbside appeal. It’s also an opportunity to change up the look of your entrance with a new door colour.
If you have shutters or trim in need of a fresh coat, do them at the same time.
Your door is also a great chance to add some colour.
7. Polish or Upgrade Your Hardware
Door knobs and knockers add character to a home, but not if they’re dented or dull. Now is a great time to look for an upgrade. If your hardware is still in great shape, a simple polishing job is the perfect finishing touch to your entrance.
Create Symmetry with Potted Plants and Decorations
People love symmetry: there’s something incredibly pleasing about it. You can create that pleasing effect by framing your entrance with 2 of something. This could be identical potted plants, hanging baskets, or some other decoration.
These two chairs create a lovely frame around the decorative doorway.
8. If Necessary: Repair Your Roof
Your roof is an essential part of your curbside appeal. People see missing shingles, and immediately think of dollar signs. No one wants to buy a house with a roof that needs repairs.
Have someone come inspect your roof, and get a report on it’s condition. If it needs repairs, you should have them done before you list.
A good roof is a great asset.
Bonus: Dynamic and Fresh House Numbers Can Be Quite Eye-Catching
A great way to make an impression is to have a unique feature, like the way your house number is presented. By opting for something a little different and easy to see, buyers are more likely to remember it – and you want them to keep thinking about your house after they’ve seen it.
Professional Photography Makes a Difference
Once you’ve improved your curbside appeal, we’re ready for one of the most important steps: taking professional photos of your property. This is a step that many other real estate agents completely skip, and it could make or break your home sale.
Most buyers and agents will be looking online at homes first. Pictures really are worth 1,000 words in this situation: a poor-quality picture won’t say anything good.
We always use professional photographers for our pre-listing shoots who specialize in real estate photography.
What You Shouldn’t Do
There are a few things that you shouldn’t do when it comes to the exterior of your home. This includes big renovations that aren’t necessary to your home sale, like adding a deck or a pool.
In fact, in many situations, additions like pools decrease in value. There are also the added costs of putting up a child-proof fence to adhere to Ottawa bylaws.
Our recommendation for big additions is that you shouldn’t add it unless you’re going to get to enjoy it.
When You List With Us, We Make Your Home Look Amazing
At Paul Rushforth Real Estate, our goal is to sell your home at the right price to the right person. We start by helping you make your home look amazing. By following these tips, you’ll have buyers doing a double-take.
Are you ready to sell? We can give you a free home value estimate!