Tuesday, June 14, 2016 / by Jeff Stoffel
With the spring real estate market heating up across the United States, it’s time to focus on curb appeal. You want your home to stand out from the others, and the exterior will be the first area buyers see. If it’s not in top shape, there’s a good chance buyers will move on to the next home. So make sure you’re trimming the lawn, washing the siding and shining everything else up in preparation for showings. Here are some essential areas to address:
#1 Wash the siding
Your siding probably looks a bit dirty and dusty after this last winter, so it’s time to wash it off and make it look shiny and new for the spring. Use soapy water and a bristled brush to remove dirt and debris. If the grime and dirt won’t come off easily, you may need to use a pressure washer or power washer to remove it. You can rent a pressure washer from a local home improvement store or hire a professional power washer. The cost for exterior power washing ranges from $200 to $400, depending on the time and square footage involved. You should also take this time to wash your garage door, as it will be one of the first things buyers see. Do not use a power washer to clean your windows and doors though, because it could damage them and lead to repair costs.
#2 Revitalize the paint job
Once you’ve cleaned off the siding, it’s time to look at the paint. There’s a chance your home’s exterior will have chips, cracks and other paint issues following winter. To increase the exterior appeal of your home, consider repainting it. You could use the same paint color as before or choose a whole new color.. For a job this big, you may need to hire a painting contractor. Then explore how you can accent the paint job, whether it’s with plants, trim or exterior window treatments.
#3 Fix up the lawn
Given that winter was likely harsh on your landscape, it’s time to get it back in shape for the spring market. You should trim and prune any trees and bushes that took a beating or look overgrown. Add mulch to your flower beds and around trees to give them a professional, well-kept look. Aerate and dethatch your lawn so it can breathe and absorb nutrients more easily. If you have any barren spots in your lawn from snow and ice, add seeds or sod to help renew and cover those areas. If you have the time and budget, think about new spring garden colors in the form of flowers and shrubs.
#4 Add a fence
Another nostalgic, yet high selling point for buyers is a fence around the front of your property. It doesn’t have to be a highly secure fence like those you would add around the backyard. Rather, you could install a picket fence or a short chain link fence around the front yard. This can be especially appealing to families with young children because it helps keep kids safe and enclosed near the home. Installing a fence can range from $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the material you choose and the square footage of the front yard.
#5 Renew the front door
Once people pass through your fence and renewed landscape, they have to open your front door. If your entry door is beaten down, rotting and in bad shape, it sets a bad tone for the rest of the walkthrough. So look at how you can revitalize the door, whether it’s with a thorough cleaning or a paint job. Start by washing it down and then look for chips and cracks in the paint. Depending on the age of the door, it might be time to replace the door. Steel doors are noted as the safest and most effective doors for homeowners, but they are expensive. You might consider an affordable alternative like wood that you can personalize with knobs, windows and colors that complement your home’s interior and exterior design.
#6 Add landscaping lighting
For night walkthroughs, a great addition to your landscape is outdoor lighting. Landscape lights can increase the appeal of your home’s exterior and add security. You can accent trees, shrubs and flower beds at night to attract the buyer’s eye. That way, even though it’s dark outside, they’re still noticing the high points of your landscape. You can use solar fixtures that soak up sunlight during the day and light up at night. Otherwise, you can buy light fixtures that draw on power from the house or use batteries. These decisions depend on your budget and what works best for your landscape design.
#7 Update the mailbox
Mailboxes may seem like a nostalgic idea, but they can add definite appeal to your home, especially if you live in the suburbs. You can get mailboxes at a local home improvement store, and they come in various styles to match your home design. You can also fix up the mailbox you already have, whether it means painting it a new color or adding numbers to the side in the form of stickers or metal decals.