The importance of a first impression can’t be overstated. That very first glance at a house can bring about a strong emotional response in potential buyers, so let’s make sure it’s a positive one. For homeowners hoping to sell, it is essential to create top-notch curb appeal to encourage buyers to move from that first impression to that first step inside.
To make the process as easy as possible, Ruoff has laid out five simple rules to take your home’s curb appeal from average to awesome.
1. Don’t Discount the Driveway
Buyers form an opinion about a house from the second they pull in the driveway. As such, take some time to tidy the areas in and around the drive itself. Paved driveways should be swept clean and be free of all debris. Today is not the day for tricycles to be left lying on their sides. If you have the time, consider returning your gravel drive to its former glory with a load of fresh rock. Most people are looking for a home not a project, so the more you can do to complete their vision of a turn-key kingdom, the better.
Next, rake along the sides of the drive clearing any dead grass, weeds, or leaves. For those with a green thumb, evaluate the landscaping around the entrance to the drive. Is there a fitting place to add a few shrubs or a custom address plaque? How’s your mailbox holding up? Is it time for a new one? To make an even bolder statement, consider adding a gate or more formal hardscaping to the start of the entrance. Bob Vila has outlined a few options for homeowners who want to go grand.
2. The Grass Must Always Be Greener
If you have an open house fast-approaching, you better make some time to water the grass…and then cut it and fertilize it and aerate and maybe reseed some of those bald patches. Growing and maintaining green grass is not the easiest thing to do, but it will produce a good return on your investment when it comes time to sell. A lush lawn does wonders to heighten a property’s entire aesthetic and should not be pushed to the backburner for any house that finds itself on the market. Should you lack the necessary landscaping skills (like so many of us), consider bringing in the professionals to get that front yard in shape prior to the big reveal.
3. Wow Them with Flowers
Flowers make people feel happy. They create a bright, joyous vibe and do wonders to amplify outdoor and indoor spaces. As you prepare your front yard for an open house, reserve a day to plant at least a handful of these happy helpers. There are plenty of gorgeous perennial and annual options out there and many of them require little gardening know-how. Fill existing flower beds with new life or create a few fresh spaces around mailboxes or the front steps to insert a pop of color. If your yard does not allow for a proper garden, consider container gardening by adding filled pots of various sizes around your porch or front door, selecting bright foliage and flowers in full bloom for the big day.
4. Give Your Front Door a Facelift
Much like the entrance to the driveway, the entry way to the house offers buyers that first look into their potential new home. For this reason, it can’t be taken lightly. If that front door is not in perfectly working order, it is time for a replacement. Ill-fitting doors, cracked windows, and broken or overly weathered sills do not beckon buyers to take a further peek inside. Instead, these issues (even when minor) send a clear warning signal that the property in question may not be well-maintained.
If your front door is already in good shape, then a simple freshening up might be all you need to be open house ready. With spring on its way, a cheery shade of yellow or a muted sage would match the season or keep things neutral with an easy cream or tan. With so many colors to choose from and paint being relatively inexpensive, don’t worry about getting it wrong. Just let it dry, run back to the store, and try a different shade.
5. Out with the Old to Bring Them in with the New
An open house is not the time to showcase your aging patio furniture or worn-down welcome mat. Your current home is about to be someone’s new home, so make it feel that way. Porches should be freshly stained or painted, railings must be sturdy and secure, and any outdoor furniture ought to be tasteful and relatively new. Evaluate outdoor lighting fixtures, windows, and screens. Do any require replacing or updating? Take a look at the eaves and downspouts that are visible from the front of the house. Is everything affixed as it should be? Correct any potential issues or eyesores before buyers arrive and begin their own assessment of the projects the property contains.
An open house is the one day that the front of your house really needs to shine. Be sure to walk your property from start to finish using a very discerning eye to catch any areas in need of TLC (or total replacement). You may have a long history with the house, but that’s no reason to go easy on it. Now is the time to be picky because that house only gets one chance to make a first impression on its new promising new owners.