Curb Appeal: Preparing Your Home for Sale

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More homes sell in the spring and summer than any other time of year. With so many potential buyers looking right now, it's important to ensure your home stands above the rest. Making a great first impression is critical: Potential buyers don't allow for do-overs or second chances.

Start by detaching yourself from the home and taking a critical view. Look at your home from across the road, and note what stands out.

A well-manicured yard will help set you apart from the neighbors. Remove weeds, fertilize, and water often for that deep green look. Bushes and hedges should be neatly pruned. Remove old or dead landscaping and replace it with young healthy plants that require minimal care.

Fill your flowerbeds with vibrantly colored annuals. Annuals cost reasonably less than perennials, and tend to stand out wonderfully with fresh mulch underneath. (Oddly enough, statistically, homes with yellow or red flowers tend to sell faster. Keep that in mind when choosing your plants.)

Stage your front porch to create the perfect welcome. Plant fragrant flowers in unique pots around the entry and add a new doormat, or wreath. Remove anything monogrammed. (You'll want to take such items with you anyway, so it's the perfect time to replace them.) Try to imagine your home featured in a magazine, where the front porch is the only thing pictured. Consider a small chair, side table, and outdoor pillow for a perfectly inviting look.

Once you have the yard and porch aesthetics in place, look at your home's maintenance. Power washing the exterior will remove dirt, cobwebs, and flaky paint. Many companies will power wash and do paint touch-up, if needed, to ensure a clean looking home. A newly painted front door stands out and offers great curb appeal. The front door should be soundless, with no squeaks or rattles. Wash all glass doors, windows, blinds, and anything else exposed, like the porch light. Everything should look perfect for the buyer's first impression!

Staging your home is another important step. Having an inviting, welcoming exterior will make buyers excited to see the inside. Your interior should have simple repairs made and be clean, clutter-free, and always ready to show. Some sellers even rent storage to clear closets and attics, and for any additional furniture. By doing so, they've made the entire living space seem larger and organized. All of these efforts make it easier for a buyer to envision living in the home.

With the saturated housing market, you need to make your home attractive to buyers. Do what's possible on your own, to try to keep costs down. The goal is to help sell the home for the best price possible—and curb appeal is a big factor in achieving that goal.

 Written by Nicole Gray, CEO of The Navigational Group, LLC, is a contributing writer for West Michigan Woman.

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