Table of Contents Show
- Real-World Advice to Help You Sell Your Home
- 1. Clear Out the Cluttered Chaos in the Yard
- 2. Leave No Maintenance Items Outstanding
- 3. Soften an Over-exposed Exterior
- 4. Evict All Furry Friends from Your Residence
- 5. Remove All Religious or Seasonal Decor
- 6. Examine Your Home With a Fresh Set of Eyes
Real-World Advice to Help You Sell Your Home
Getting ready to sell your home or have a home that is already on the market? On the surface, this may initially seem quite easy, especially when it comes to the outside of the home. After all, what is there really to do on the outside? Mow the grass? Sweep the step? How hard can it be?
Actually, preparing the outside of your home for sale properly is a lot more intense, and can make a much bigger impact on the overall impression of your home than many people realize.
People are visual beings who live in a fast-paced society; they have short attention spans and not a lot of initiative to look beyond what they see. So your home needs to deliver a good impression from the moment your potential buyer drives up, and then keep that positive impression going for the entire tour.
If potential purchaser sees things that don’t look good, they are quite likely to move on rather than move closer. Often viewers won’t take the time to bother seeing past the initial appearance of a home until they have been wooed enough to consider buying. It is therefore in our best interests to give anyone who may purchase our property the best visual appeal possible, both inside and outside.
And since there’s a lot we can do to prepare our yards for the buyers to ensure that we achieve this critical positive impression, it is obviously worthwhile to try and do so.
Here, we want your home to look welcoming and wonderful to everyone who drives by or who might decide to put in an offer. So, to help you maximize the sale value of your home and to ensure that you get the most money possible, we’ve asked our resident style expert to compile a list of six key tips for staging the outside of a home.
Without further ado, here’s what she has recommended;
1. Clear Out the Cluttered Chaos in the Yard
Prospective home buyers must be able to visualize themselves (and their personal effects) not only inside the home but outside as well.
While a few decorative accessories may help show off the various functions of an outdoor space, distractions such as personal trinkets, garden gnomes, toys, lawn tools or piles of patio furniture can make the space appear small, cluttered, and virtually impossible for any buyer to visualize themselves in.
Keep all toys, tools, and sports equipment stored neatly in a shed or garage. Put away any personal garden or lawn artifacts, as well as extra patio furniture (one dining set is fine – ten chairs are not).
The goal is to make the space appear as large and comfortable as possible. The last thing anyone needs is for a potential buyer to trip on a rake or twist their ankle on a plastic bat during a viewing.
2. Leave No Maintenance Items Outstanding
A house that cries out neglect scares away buyers faster than just about anything else. Failing to take care of outstanding maintenance issues can make your house appear overrun and old, derelict, and uncared for.
Even if you don’t think it matters, buyers pick up on everything that isn’t done around the outside of a house, and they will use it to prejudge how well you took care of the inside.
The more ‘maintenance issues‘ they perceive to be outstanding, the more they will knock down the sale price. After all, buyers want to move in and enjoy, not move in and work!
Here are a few common maintenance issues you may have outstanding in your yard and the most important things to address in each:
Uncut grass, overgrown hedges, weedy gardens, and dead plants are guaranteed to leave your visitors with a negative first impression. Keep lawns neatly mowed, hedges trimmed, trees pruned and gardens weeded.
Tons of touch-ups
Nothing screams unwanted work like outstanding cosmetic repairs. Touch up peeling paint, rusted fences, and dirty windows so everything looks as good outside as it does inside.
When a buyer pulls up to your house, you want them to feel a twinge of excitement, not a twang of despair. Garish outdoor paint, cobwebs in the corners, cracked window sills, clogged rain gutters, and buckling shingles all contribute to inferior curb appeal.
It is vitally important that buyers feel welcome when they approach your home. Over-grown walkways, huge trees or hedges blocking windows, a dingy doorway, burnt-out porch lights, hard-to-see street numbers, or uneven steps and pathways can make visitors feel as if a house is trying to shoo them away rather than welcome them in.
3. Soften an Over-exposed Exterior
Sometimes when a home is new or if the owners have had little time to devote to their outdoor living spaces, the effect can be that of a cold, barren, and over-exposed house.
To combat this feeling and create a welcoming ambiance, camouflage corners and hard edges of the home by planting or placing mature plants in pots nearby, and soften patio space with an outdoor dinette set and some large planted containers or a privacy screen.
Add a few hanging flower baskets over a barren porch to bring color and richness to your doorway, flank a staircase with tall planters to create a tasteful focal point, and use inexpensive lawn lanterns to create a welcoming path for visitors.
If time and finances permit, a simple garden with a variety of plants (available at your local lawn or garden center) placed along the sides and/or the front of an otherwise barren house facade can tone down hard visual lines where walls and ground meet.
4. Evict All Furry Friends from Your Residence
Whether it is pet poop or uninvited guests living under the step, buyers have big issues with the mess and maintenance issues that come with a house that shelters animals. Be sure to remove as many telltale signs as possible that a pet has been in your yard.
Scoop up any traces of doggy-doo, fix and paint any outdoor pet shelters (it would actually be best to remove them altogether, if possible), and send Fido to a friend’s home during viewings. People with allergies or pet phobias will not be able to concentrate on the house if they are in a constant state of panic or if they are sneezing every few seconds.
If there are unwanted animals living under your deck or stairs such as a skunk or a family of stray cats, have them removed by the appropriate city department before hosting a potential purchaser.
The last thing you want (or need) is a pest control issue when the subject of price is being considered.
5. Remove All Religious or Seasonal Decor
Although it is fine to leave Christmas lights up year-round when you own a home, it is certainly not OK when you are trying to sell it. Seasonal decor that is out-of-season gives the impression that an owner doesn’t have the time, energy, or desire to keep up with maintenance.
As we learned earlier, anything that implies a home is unkempt can greatly impact the way a buyer perceives the value of that home. Seasonal items can also be a put-off to buyers who do not celebrate that particular holiday.
This holds true for religious outdoor decor as well. If a potential purchaser is busy frowning at your religious statuettes or inflatable Santa-Claus display, they will not be busy looking at the property.
And the last thing you want is for a viewer to be so wrapped up in the decorations that they don’t remember the other important outdoor features of the home.
6. Examine Your Home With a Fresh Set of Eyes
When you are staging a home outside or inside, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to assume that just because you like the way something looks, a potential buyer will too. Because you are accustomed to seeing your own space, you may not always notice or care about little problems or imperfections.
Having a neutral third party (a trusted friend, relative, or neighbor) look around your yard before any buyer’s visit can enable you to see potential problems that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
A pair of fresh eyes will pick up on all sorts of things that can turn off a potential purchaser – giving you an inside view on anything that you may have missed or avoided doing, thinking it looked ‘just fine’ the way it was.