curb appeal

The Outside Matters: A Calendar to Serious Curb Appeal

CalendarIt’s no big deal ... just a bit of peeling trim, slightly tarnished door hinges or a few chipped paver stones on the walkway. Seeing them daily, it’s easy to stop noticing the little blemishes around your home. But an interested buyer is not only likely to notice the little things, but also to make the leap to presume that your home is not well maintained.

As well-documented on television shows like Property Brothers and Love It Or List It, readying your home to sell at a great price is a substantial endeavor. Cleanup, purging and staging efforts are not limited to the interior of the home.

Prospective buyers approaching your home from the street take in your property in a sweeping glance. And then? They judge it … promising or underwhelming, impressive or disappointing.

Over a series of posts, we’re providing a month’s worth of maintenance tasks to maximize your home’s exterior curb appeal. Check off one daily and your home will show beautifully.

First impressions are lasting (the street view)

As your home’s possible new owners emerge from their car and approach the front door, there are dozens of ways you can impress – or disappoint.

  1. Mailbox and post: Assess your mailbox with a critical eye: Does it need to be cleaned or replaced? Is the house number faded or worn? Would the post benefit from fresh paint or should it be upgraded?
  2. Driveway: Fill driveway cracks and re-seal the driveway.
  3. Front walkway: Is there moss or growth between your paver stones leading to the front door? Remedy with a power washing -- and keep moss from coming back with a product like Wet & Forget.
  4.  A well-lit view: If you have walkway lighting, is it in good working condition? Replace any burned-out bulbs or broken fixtures.
  5. Yard décor: Different strokes for different folks. Though you may be partial to garden gnomes, holiday flags and birdbaths, they’re a matter of personal taste. Best to pack these goodies away for your next home.
  6. Front steps: As the potential buyer grasps the railing, will he note that the paint is peeling? Check it yourself and take action before putting your home on the market.
  7. Storm door: If you have a glass storm door, make sure it sparkles with a weekly vinegar and water cleaning inside and out.
  8. Exterior entry: Lots of opportunities here! First, vacuum the exterior door and trim carefully to remove loose debris and cobwebs. Then wash both the glass and the surface of the door thoroughly.
  9. Front door: If your metal door has oxidized, restore the luster with a product like Everbrite
  10. Fixtures: Since they’re exposed to the elements, more than likely your door knob, door knocker and doorbell need some love. Exterior light fixtures can pit over time; replace if needed or spruce them up with a cleaning and some polish.
  11. Door mat: Yes, it’s just for wiping off snow, leaves and mud, but a new doormat is a must if yours isn’t in pristine condition. 
  12. Garage: If your home has a garage, make it an asset. Lubricate the door opening mechanisms so they operate smoothly and without excessive noise.

Up, up (but hopefully not away!)

Approaching your home on foot, cast a look upward for a bird’s eye view. Consider the following potential concerns from a prospective buyer.

  1. Roof: Snow-packed roofs in winter can melt to an ugly surprise in March. A moldy roof sets off alarm bells for buyers; quell their concerns with a pressure washing.
  2. Evidence of Christmas past: Remove and dispose of remnants of holiday lights, wreath hooks and faded decorations.  
  3. Gutters: The downside of our colorful autumn leaves in New England is that many end up in the gutters. A gutter cleanout takes a professional about 15 minutes – and helps maintain your home’s  condition. Banish debris-filled gutters with an annual cleanout.
  4. Overgrown trees: Remove any dead tree limbs and trim overgrown shrubbery.
  5. Shutters: Are yours in good condition? Repair, pressure wash or paint as needed.

Start chipping away and soon enough your home will start to display some serious curb appeal.  And stay tuned for more ... in Curb Appeal Part 2 we'll offer some great tips for tackling the side view and backyard. Check back often or follow us on Facebook to be sure you don't miss it. 

Outside Maintenance Checklist For Sellers - Curb Appeal (Part 2)

Exterior View Of A HomeIn our prior post focused on the exterior of the home, we covered 17 items on a 30 day list of maintenance tasks associated with the front of your home and the roofline. To fully maximize your home’s exterior curb appeal, however, the side view and backyard must not be ignored. In this post, we'll offer you the remaining tasks for a month's worth of daily maintenance tasks for exterior curb appeal.

Walking the exterior (the side view)

Buyers interested in a home with a yard are likely to walk the exterior of the property. Give proper attention to the home from every angle.

18. Lawn: Seed or patch scant areas and ensure the lawn is well manicured and cleanly edged in spring, summer or fall. If it’s winter, clear snow and ice to expose dry pavement for safety, and sweep away remnants of salt and sand. Neatness counts!

19. Banish the tools of labor: While your yard should look like an oasis, you don’t want buyers to see the evidence of all the work  involved. Remove and neatly store hoses, rakes and garden tools out of sight. 

20. Critters: Nature lover or no, it’s best to keep wildlife away from property you’re trying to sell. Remove bird feeders to minimize rodents.

21. Fence: If your property has a fence, walk the perimeter with a critical eye. Replace any damaged areas and freshen up paint if needed. Lubricate gate hardware so it operates easily. Since a possible buyer will pause to open the date, be sure that the area around the gate is neat and well-kept.

22. Trim and window sills: Wood rots over time and must be replaced. In particular, look out for spongy window skills and peeling paint and replace trim with new wood or fabricated wood.

23. Windows: Realtors agree that sparkling windows (in and out) are a basic must for selling a home. If you don’t want to climb ladders or hire a window washer for the exterior, keep both feet safely on the ground with cleaning products that attach to your garden hose.

The backyard: An oasis or a hiding spot?

An inviting backyard can help a possible buyer visualize themselves in your home. Maximize your assets with a backyard cleanup.

24. Deck or patio: Brighten up your deck with a pressure wash for the flooring and rails. If you have a patio, the paver stones benefit from a power wash to remove dirt, moss and growth.

25. Outdoor furniture: Remove any furniture that’s worn, faded or mismatched, and keep the space neat and uncrowded.

26. Grill: Cover the grill and remove any grilling utensils or cleaning tools.

27. Back door, side door or sliding doors: Give all exterior doors the same attention as the front entry door – clean, polish hardware and make the glass sparkle!

28. Lighting: Be sure it’s in working order and clean or replace any pitted or unsightly fixtures.

29. Bulkhead: If your basement has a bulkhead, lubricate the mechanism so it opens smoothly.

30. Poop matters: While over 50% of Massachusetts homes include a dog (source: Dogtime), you don’t want a potential buyer to step in the evidence of yours. Be sure you’ve cleaned up after your dog and store the pooper scooper away with the garden and yard supplies.

The key to tackling any big job is to chip away at small tasks. Tackle one item on this list each day to get your home sales-ready! If you need help with specialists to help you through the process, contact us or see our preferred vendors listings.