Maybe you “shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but, in the real estate arena Buyers do judge houses from their exteriors. Serious buyers will spend several minutes looking at the outside of your house before they even step inside. Many of us focus on the interior of the house when getting prepared to sell. This makes sense, of course, since buyers focus on interior photos when deciding whether to consider or eliminate a property. Once they make the trip to the house, however, it’s the outside that makes the first impression. Here are our top tips for elevating your exterior to impress buyers:
1. Exterior Lighting – This is one of the most overlooked “staging” items in a house. While many of us spend time updating the lighting fixtures inside, few of us understand the importance of updating exterior lighting. If the exterior lighting, walkway lampposts, front door wall sconces, and/or garage lighting is dated then it’s time to replace them. Make sure you keep with the “theme” of your interior. For example, if your interior is modern then you don’t want to pick Colonial style brass fixtures.
2. Front Steps and Walkway – You may have become accustomed to the greenish tint on your concrete steps or the degradation of grout lines on your brick steps, but buyers notice these items immediately. Power washing, re-grouting, and a general freshening will go a long way in letting buyers know that you care about the maintenance of your property. Likewise, picking weeds from brick walkways, sweeping the path, and trimming back shrubbery will give your property a manicured look. It’s no fun to bushwhack your way to a front door and climb up steps that are neglected. Remember, the agent is leading the way and has to spend a minute or so unlocking the house so buyers have time to scrutinize the exterior while they wait to go inside.
3. Front Door, Storm Door/Screen Door – This seems obvious but many of us access our house from the garage so we never bother to go through the front door. If your storm door or screen door needs repair then repair or replace it. If your front door paint is faded then it’s time to repaint. Most importantly, the hardware on your front door can “date” your house. Upgrade and update your front door handle and lockset. There’s nothing worse than buyers watching their Realtor struggle with an outdated lockset to open the door to the house.
Once a buyer makes a commitment to set up an appointment and visit the property then the exterior becomes one of the most scrutinized parts of the house tour. If you want a professional design opinion on any of these tips, contact us to see how to get your property in tip top shape for the Spring market.