If you’ve ever looked at real estate, you’ve probably noticed most listing photos are interior shots of the home. Since sale price depends largely on square footage and since most realtors pay for listing photos, you can bet the majority of pics will showcase living space rather than lackluster exterior features.
First impressions are lasting ones. Good listing photos are key to getting buyers to the door. But before they can even step inside, a clean, well-manicured yard can really wow potential buyers. Just like staging the interior, staging your yard will take some time, effort and a little money. But, investing in your home’s curb appeal will definitely impress potential buyers. And the payoff can be a fast offer.
Before your realtor takes the first listing photo, here are some key areas to address that will maximize the curb appeal of your home:
Clean & Spruce up the Lawn
Imagine pulling up to a property that caught your eye as you shopped online. Your first impression, however, is an overgrown lawn littered with weeds. You’re already disappointed and you haven’t even walked in the door. As a seller with a lawn, it’s one of the first things potential buyers will critique. It’s crucial to cut the grass and keep it neat and clean for every showing.
Weed and water your flower beds regularly. Trim the bushes & hedges especially those along walkways and remove dead leaves as needed. Make sure you clean the front stoop. Specifically, remove spider webs and dead insects. Clean exterior light fixtures. Replace old planters and remove any dead flowers. Adding a new ‘Welcome’ mat never hurts. And don’t forget to check the mailbox for signs of wear and tear.
Porches, driveways and sidewalks should be in good repair. And if they are covered with dirt or stains, consider power washing. Renting a power washer from a local home improvement store and investing a couple hours of your time can significantly improve the curb appeal of your home.
Image courtesy of Veranda
On the recommendation of your realtor or stager, you’ve probably already de-cluttered your interior spaces. Why stop there? Don’t ignore clutter in your yard . Ensure the outside of your home looks as tidy as possible. Remove old newspapers as well as any litter you see around the yard.
Make sure your kids’ toys are stored neatly, preferably out of sight. And speaking of toys, make sure your adult ‘toys’ (aka cars) are parked in the garage or on the street when showing. Why block the appealing view you’re working so hard to create?
Add Punches of Color
Depending on the season, a trip to your local garden center is in order. Pick up inexpensive, colorful annuals for your garden, planters, window boxes or along the edge of the driveway. If you don’t have much space, shepherds hooks or hooks with hanging baskets along the eaves can work wonders. In colder weather, planters should be styled with seasonally appropriate (preferably natural) fillers or removed from sight.
Image courtesy of jasminetokyo
Much More Mulch
It should go without saying, but fresh mulch is a must for planting beds. Like a fresh coat of paint covers smudges and blemishes on your walls, fresh mulch covers unsightly dirt and weeds for an immediate exterior facelift. Opt for thin layer of dark mulch for better coverage.
Set the Stage for the Entire Family
A yard cluttered with toys and other kid’s clutter can be an instant turn off. But, you can still stage your lawn to look attractive to buyers whether they have children or not.
Getting children excited about a living in a home is actually more difficult than adults. Since the kids can be very influential in the decision, make sure the yard appeals to them as well.
If you have a swing set or climber in your yard, make sure it is clean and in good repair. Add “temporary” improvements like volleyball net or cornhole boards to excite kids. Organize bikes and other toys as well.
Entertain Exterior Entertainment
Kids aren’t the only ones who like to “play” in the yard. Creating an adult space for outdoor entertaining or dining is a great way to show the grownups how much fun entertaining in your home’s backyard can be.
Image courtesy of Houzz
Styling your patio or deck as an inviting outdoor seating area is a great start. Create inviting outdoor “rooms” to complement the staged spaces inside. Adding colorful rugs, throw pillows, outdoor lanterns and accessories will showcase the additional square footage in your homes backyard.
Paying attention to curb appeal is your best chance to make a good, first impression with prospective buyers. With a little money, time and sweat equity, your outdoor space might just be the thing that puts your indoor space in front of all others!
Go forth and create curb appeal that blows the competition away. And happy exterior staging from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433
Jeff is a Certified Interior Decorator & Redesigner, Real Estate Stager & Color Specifier.
His award-winning work has been featured in publications including From House to Home™, Home Improvement™ and Crystal Lake City Lifestyle™ magazines as well as other local and online media sources.
Jeff is a nine-time recipient of the Houzz.com 'Best in Service' Award as well a three-time winner as One of the Best Interior Designers in McHenry County in the Northwest Herald's "Best of the Fox" Reader's Choice.
He lives in Crystal Lake, IL and has been serving the greater Chicago area since 2004.