This article is an edited excerpt from Do Your Own Home Staging by Tina Parker, published by and reprinted here courtesy of Self-Counsel Press. For more information or to order a copy, click here.
When people buy a home, the fact is that 78 per cent of the decision making process has already been made prior to arrival, based on the price and location of the house. But within seconds of seeing your home, potential buyers have formed an opinion of its overall condition and will likely spend the remaining time looking for consistency with the assumptions they made when they first viewed the home on the Internet. First impressions of the property’s exterior should be “welcome home.”
Exterior Facelift and Landscaping Overhaul
Beautify the front door: When dealing with curb appeal, the focal point is the front door. Upon arriving to the property, a person’s eye should immediately locate the front entrance. Consider painting the door a different colour than the others on the exterior of the house, or installing a unique door.
Install architectural details: Installing large moldings around a front door will attract attention to it, especially if they are painted a contrasting colour.
Add shutters or accent trim: Shutters are great for solving an architectural imbalance. There are some house designs that appear more dominating on one side than the other. By adding shutters to the weaker side, you can create balance.
Update the “bling”: I believe that hardware is the jewelry on a house. Paying attention to these details can create quite a significant impact. House numbers, lighting fixtures, kick plates, entry door lock sets, and wall-mounted mailboxes are all components of a stylish and attractive curb appeal.
Update railings: Porch and deck railings can succumb to the effects of weather conditions pretty quickly if they are not maintained properly. If you need to replace any pieces before repainting, this may be a great opportunity to add character that can separate your home from others in the neighbourhood.
Refresh garden beds: Recreate the fresh garden look by weeding, pruning, and adding new mulch. This applies at any time of the year, especially during the winter when the “dead” look can take over a garden.
Keep up yard maintenance: Trim trees, prune shrubs, use a good lawn fertilizer and weed killer, and make sure the lawn is mowed and watered regularly. Keep in mind that lawns often go brown because they have been mowed too often and too short. Also trim bushes and trees to prevent obstructing walkways.
Renew your driveway: Your driveway is a welcome mat for your visitors. It should be a high priority on your list of repairs if it is cracked, stained, or has weeds growing through it. You do not have to invest in a completely new driveway, but renew it using the various products available. To further enhance your driveway, you can line it with stone, brick, or pavers.
Sell a Lifestyle
Install window boxes: Add charm to the exterior of your house immediately with window boxes. They are easy to install and are available in a wide price range. Choose a colour that is similar to your window trim or “jewelry,” and that is in keeping with the style of the house. Copper and iron are materials used for a traditional look and painted wood provides a cottage feel. Choose plant and flower colours that coordinate well with the colours on the exterior of your house.
Add instant life: Create a colourful, lively welcome with container gardens. Place three or five container gardens in pots of various styles and sizes on the front deck. Container gardens also look charming when placed on both sides of stairs.
Use landscape lighting: Consider installing low-voltage lighting for home buyers who drive by your home at night. You can highlight unique features of the house, illuminate walkways for safe nighttime walking, and add accent lighting to large trees to create drama.
Include landscape art: Great landscaping makes for beautiful curb appeal and landscape art adds charm. Sculptures, water fountains, bird baths and wood artistry are popular choices for a reason, but today’s home improvement stores offer a wide variety of landscape art.
Enhance your landscaping: Arbours, garden gates and decorative fence panels will also enhance your garden and the value of your property. For optimum impact, paint or stain these items to coordinate with your house.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Cleanliness is essential for curb appeal so make sure:
- doors and windows are clean;
- window frames are clean and clear of any moss or mold;
- light fixtures are clean and shine brighter;
- moss and/or debris from roof, gutters, and walkways, have been removed;
- all animal droppings have been picked up, even if you don’t have a pet, as you never know who may have been in your yard in the middle of the night; and
- any litter that may have blown onto the property has been collected, especially anything that might be hidden in bushes.