When selling your home, it is important to prepare, or stage, your home's exterior in order to make a good first impression upon prospective buyers. When they approach your home, buyers want to feel welcomed and find an instant emotional bond with your home. That is why you should take time to perform a few tasks to help bring about this response. Below are four aspects to staging the exterior of your home to make it as appealing as possible:
Remove distractions and clutter
One of the first tasks on your list for staging your home's exterior is to eliminate clutter and distracting objects. Everyone jokes about plastic pink flamingos, but you need to be sure that you don't have your own tacky decor that takes away from your home's exterior. Individuality is great, and while you shouldn't be afraid to express your tastes, use restraint when deciding what to place on your lawn and in your landscaping.
In addition, some objects should never be in view of the prospective buyer when they first arrive. For example, move your trash cans to your backyard or into your garage if you store them at the side of your house. Other distractions include old cars on blocks with missing wheels, piles of firewood, stacks of cut tree limbs, and landscaping materials. All of these things create an impression of disorganization and can draw the buyer's eye away from your home.
Guide the buyer to the door
Another aspect to properly staging your home's exterior is to create a natural route to the entrance. This path should be intuitive and not require visitors to think deeply about how they are going to enter. For example, if you own a home with a carport and use a side entrance to regularly enter and exit your home, keep in mind that most guests will proceed to the front door. If their path seems difficult, uncertain or restricted, confusion or fear can be the buyer's reaction.
In most circumstances, it is best to follow along with the buyer's lead and facilitate their entrance to your home. You can encourage this by using potted plants along the sidewalk, placing a new doormat, trimming the height of nearby hedges, and even painting the front door. You don't need to lay out a "yellow brick road," but remember that discomfort on the part of a prospective buyer before they enter is not conducive to selling your home.
Punch it up with color in your landscape
While distraction is a bad idea, as you learned above, don't make the mistake of going too far in the opposite direction and eliminate all sources of color from your home's exterior. All browns and grays can sap the home's individuality and vitality and lessen the level of buyer interest at first glance.
That is why the use of color on a selective basis can be helpful in putting your home in its best light. An easy way to add color is to plant annual flowers in beds and planters. Annuals are typically inexpensive and their fast growth and blooming pattern makes them ideal for adding near-instant color. If you are selling your home in the dead of winter and annuals aren't an option, you can also consider planting hardy shrubs with colorful or at least evergreen foliage. For example, bright red berries contrast well with the green leaves of the various holly species that flourish in winter.
One caution when planting colorful plants: be sure the colors are limited in number to just a few shades and that you don't create a haphazard rainbow effect. This can be overly distracting and even lend a cartoonish appearance to your home's exterior. Keep the setting conservative, yet appealing, and you will find the right middle ground.
Clean the exterior
Home exteriors need to be painted on occasion, but they should be washed once per year to maintain their best appearance. If you haven't washed your home's exterior in some time, you definitely want to do so when you place it on the market for sale. Use a power washer for the best cleaning performance, though be careful not to knock loose siding or do other damage with the high-pressure spray.
In addition, don't just wash down your home's exterior. Take time to use the power washer on your driveway, sidewalk and curbs to give the concrete a fresh, new appearance by removing oil stains and other ingrained debris and stains.
For more tips on how to appropriately present your home, consider working with real estate services, such as The Gresham Group, as they will be experienced and know what buyers want to see in an exterior.