You’ve heard that saying that “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”? It’s true. You’ve gotta get them in the front door! And you really don’t want buyers coming in with reservations about the house before they actually walk into your home!
Today I’m going to give you easy and inexpensive (or FREE!!) ideas for making your house look super inviting and keeping buyers from making their showing a “drive by”.
If you’re thinking of selling your home, download my “7 Tips to a Fast Sale” – It’s free in the description box below the video or you can email me and I’ll send you a copy. firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some cheap and easy ways to make your curb appeal top notch!
Often when we live somewhere for a long time we stop seeing things that are minor and might need some spiffing up, but buyers won’t miss them, and may think that this reflects on the quality of the home overall and the PRICE.
I spend a lot of time with buyers and I hear the things that come to their attention as they look at a home and how they perceive them – little changes can go a LONG way toward making buyers excited about coming into your home and it will PAY OFF when offers come in. When people perceive the value to be high they WANT to win the bid. Obviously curb appeal is just one aspect of that, and it is often a quick and inexpensive fix.
I’ll start with the most expensive of the things I’ll mention (and it’s not expensive!) – updating an exterior light fixture. This isn’t something we spend a lot of time looking at on our own homes, but I think of them like the jewelry on a home.
Take a hard look at yours – are the light fixtures dated, faded, dirty and crusty looking? Maybe it just needs a good cleaning, or if you are great with spray paint and want to take it down and tape off everything and give it a fresh coat of paint to freshen up the metal, awesome! But if you think it could use an update and make your home appear more modern or current, you can get a new light and install it within an hour for less than $100. No lie. I’ve installed MANY light fixtures over the years and if I’m still standing, it means you can do it too.
Speaking of jewelry on the home – while you’re looking at the light fixture, check the house numbers. Our house had tiny squiggly super cheap house number when we bought it, I replaced them with larger, clean lined, fresh ones and was stunned at the difference. So many times I’m out walking my dog through the neighborhood and I love looking at homes (of course) and one of the things I’ll notice is a great set of house numbers. Some of these can be quite expensive, but they don’t have to be! You can really show your attention to details with a set you pick up from the local Home Depot or another hardware store.
Make it fresh and HAPPY
Still focusing on the entryway (the place where the buyers will stand examining everything while they wait for the agent to get the door open!) look at your front door. Is it faded, dirty, scuffed up or the does the color lack punch? You should consider painting the front door. It’s less than a quart of paint and an hour of your time to have a fresh clean happy looking entry way. Maybe $15? Then add a pretty wreath if you want – to me a wreath says WELCOME. If you’re in a condo – this can be your curb appeal! easy.
Now make the rest of the entry shine by making sure you’ve swept down any cobwebs, replace lightbulbs so that the porch or entry has a bright welcome, and replace the welcome mat if it’s not new. Sweep the surface of the stairs, and if your sidewalk or steps aren’t looking very fresh, borrow a power washer and give them a good cleaning. I know I’m not the only one that loves before and after videos of power washing… so satisfying! Also free and worth doing – clean any glass on the door or windows nearby. 🙂
Set the stage
If you are lucky enough to have a porch, put out a chair with a bright pillow that picks up your door color, add a side table to show that it’s a great place to sit with coffee, greet neighbors, or watch the kids play. People want to imagine how they would live in the spaces and making it inviting right from the moment people approach is important.
Details… Look at your landscaping
Now focus on your landscaping a bit. Make sure your grass has been mowed, and go the extra step and edge around sidewalks. This looks really sharp and gives the impression of care.
Make sure you pull weeds! I have seen more than one house with weeds coming up through entry steps or sidewalk cracks. I wince because details matter and this is EASY and FREE.
Make sure to trim back bushes and trees so that they are easy to walk past, that they are not allowed to obscure the house, which is a double no no – it makes the house look creepy and overgrown from the outside and often blocks a precious FREE resource INSIDE – natural light! Nearly everyone wants a home filled with natural light. Especially if you live in the north!
Add a fresh layer of mulch to garden beds and clip back or pull out anything that isn’t looking fresh.
Adding fresh flowers to a pot or two as you approach the house really adds a welcoming touch but if you aren’t much of a gardener, you can find fake plants easily and for not a lot of money at home stores. I honestly can’t believe the deals I’ve found on them lately when I’ve been out shopping for staging materials for my listings.
If you’re selling in winter use evergreen branches as your “potted plants” to add life and warmth to the front of the home. I’ve picked up premade bundles from greenhouses and they last forever out in the cold and really make a good first impression. This is not 100% curb appeal, but if you are selling in winter, do not neglect to keep your sidewalk absolutely clear of snow and ice. Falling on ice or wading through snow isn’t the best first impression.
Let me know if you have questions, feel free to download or request those tips for selling, they address things to consider for the house as a whole.