When most people hear the phrase staging a home they immediately think of preparing the home’s interior — painting, arranging furniture and the like. While the interior is certainly important, the home’s exterior is an equally important (but often overlooked) home staging hot-spot.
Curb appeal is exactly what it sounds like. When potential buyers pull up to the curb in front of your home, you want the home to appeal to them as much as possible. This gives a good first impression, so it should part of your home staging checklist.
Here are some tips to help you stage your home’s exterior for maximum curb appeal.
Staging the Exterior
- Start by creating a list of items needing attention. Go out to the curb in front of your house with a notepad and pen. Jot down anything that “leaps” out at you.
- Have a friend perform the same type of inspection. It will only take them 10 or 15 minutes to spot areas that need attention. Add their list to your list.
- If the home’s paint is chipped or faded, give it a fresh coat. Pay particular attention to shutters, doors and trim.
- If the door and shutters are different colors, you may want to make them the same color. Choose the color that’s the more neutral of the two and standardize the color scheme.
- Keep the lawn mowed and neatly edged. A nicely mowed lawn does wonders for curb appeal, so you might have to mow every few days while the home is on the market (depending on where you live, season, etc.).
- If your lawn is in really bad shape from years of neglect, you might have to lay down fresh sod. Do this at least a month before listing the home, so the new grass has some time to grow in and look nice. Here’s a video tutorial on laying sod.
- Mulch is your best friend when trying to boost your curb appeal. Adding fresh mulch to your existing flower / plant beds can make a big difference in appearance. Best of all, it cheaps and readily available at your local garden store, Home Depot, etc.
- Weather and season permitting, plant or pot some fresh flowers outside the front door. For simplicity, you might want to stick to potted plants. This will allow you to place them wherever you need them, and with less effort. Bright plants or flowers do a lot to enhance the entry.
- Think “yellow” when adding accent plants to your home’s entry. Yellow is a great color for this purpose. It draws the eye and makes people feel at ease, which is exactly how you want them to feel when entering your home.
- Check your flower beds and lawn for weeds every day while your house is on the market. Remove any weeds you find. It’s important to check daily, because weeds can literally sprout up overnight.
- In the fall, be sure to rake leaves from your lawn and also from flower beds. Do this every couple of days, or as needed to keep the lawn free of leaves.
- Trim bushes and trees as needed to give a tidy appearance. In particular, make sure they are not blocking windows or doors.
- Speaking of windows, make sure they are spotless. This includes the frames around the windows, as well as the shutters. This adds a lot of sparkle to your overall curb appeal.
- If you have vinyl railings outside your home’s entrance, give them a good washing. All you need is a bucket, a hose, and some concentrated car wash liquid.
- You might want to rent a power washer if you have a lot of dirt and grime. It’s an easy way to clean everything at once — the siding, sidewalks, doors and shutters, etc.
- If you have wood railings, consider giving them a fresh coat of paint.
- Do you have a large porch that’s ideal for sitting? Add a nice bench, or a pair of chairs, to help people see themselves relaxing on the porch.
Remember, people will see the outside of your house before they see the inside. Unless, of course, you escort them in with a blindfold. If the home’s exterior makes a bad first impression on potential buyers, they will carry that negativity inside the house with them. So when you stage your home prior to listing, work on the outside as well.