Do you enjoy window shopping? Most of us do, and store owners understand that it’s what is displayed in the window that will draw customers into the store.
A homeowner selling his property For Sale by Owner or FSBO also has just one chance to make that great first impression and draw in a potential buyer. His home may be the cutest clinker brick cottage on the block, but if it’s hidden behind a tangled mat of arborvitae and scraggy trees, a buyer won’t even bother getting out of the car. Curb appeal is an important sales tool when it comes to marketing a home, and boosting the curb appeal of your FSBO is an important step in attracting a buyer. How can you improve the curb appeal of your FSBO?
Remove overgrown landscaping
Take a good look from the middle of the street towards your home. Can you see your house? If not, it’s time to get out the chainsaw and start chopping away. Get rid of those scraggly bushes, trim up the tree branches, and yank off that Virginia Creeper that has overtaken the porch, windows and mailbox. Removing overgrown branches and shrubbery will make the yard look neater and more inviting, and accentuates the home’s architectural features rather than hiding it. If you don’t feel comfortable pruning your trees, hire a professional to do the job instead.
Green up and mow the yard
Along with trimming back overgrowth, a home owner should take a critical look at the overall condition of the lawn. Is it weedy, semi dead, or over grown? Give the yard a good mowing and edging treatment, and then apply a bag (or two) of Weed and Feed. Within several days, the yard will look healthier, greener, and much more appealing from the curb.
Clean off the front porch
Is your porch still decorated with last year’s Halloween decorations? Get rid of the cobwebs and decomposing pumpkins, sweep off the leaves, shake out the door mat, and scrub off the grime from the rails and front door. After the porch has been scrubbed clean, wash out the light fixtures and replace dead light bulbs if necessary.
Remove the clutter
A yard cluttered with toys, bikes, hoses, and tools is often an indicator that the house might not be in much better shape. Cleaning up the yard will also make the area look much larger. While your home is on the market, get in the habit of storing toys and yard tools in the storage shed. If you don’t have one, RubberMaid makes a fabulous outdoor system that can hold all that stuff in one convenient location. RubberMaid yard sheds range in price from $250 to $600.
While you are cleaning up the yard, it’s also a good idea to remove those commode planters, busted railroad ties, and that pile of branches leftover from last fall.
Put in some flower beds
Several bags of bark chip and a three flats of cheap annuals can turn a dead flower bed into a spectacular show of color. Consider planting annuals in the beds around the front of the house where they can be seen from the street and boost the overall curb appeal of your home.
Set out planters and hanging baskets
In addition to planting a few flower beds, decorate the porch and patio with hanging baskets and a few carefully placed potted plants. Most discount department stores sell inexpensive baskets and potted plants for around $20.
Remove weed patches
Whether you use a weed whacker, boiling water, or weed killer, removing overgrown weeds from your property is a must. While most people tend to remove weeds that grow up against the house, they often forget the weeds that grow out of the sidewalks and driveways, against the curb, on the property line, or alongside the fence.
Hose down the sidewalks
Washing down the sidewalks has the effect of making them look like new, while removing debris and dirt from the surface. For tiny plants that have sprung up in the cracks, use the flat edge of a shovel to remove them or simply pour scalding water over the plant.
Wash the windows and awnings
Dirty windows look dull and lifeless while freshly cleaned windows actually sparkle and reflect the streetscape. Those squeaky clean windows will also make your home look brighter, cleaner, and much more cared for.
Boosting the curb appeal of your home doesn’t have to cost a lot of money nor take a lot of time. By paying attention to the condition of your landscaping, clearing out the clutter, and applying a little elbow grease in the dirty areas, you’ll encourage a potential buyer to slow down for a closer look rather than just speeding by.