The snow has melted for good and the grass is growing greener by the day. Spring is officially here and with it, the spring real estate market. Spring is a time for renewal, a time to celebrate the end of another long winter. For REALTORS and stagers, however, winter’s end marks the beginning of what is often the busiest season in real estate. It’s a time when energetic buyers begin hitting the pavement with their agents trying to take in as many open houses as they can, and a time when sellers start scrambling to get their homes ready for their close-ups.
Staging often focuses on a home’s interior, but since first impressions are formed from the curb, here is our list of things to consider when trying to improve your home’s curb appeal.
It’s not just for your home’s interior; spring cleaning applies to a home’s exterior as well. Windows, siding, shutters, and doors, all benefit from having a good scrub come spring, especially if you plan on listing your home for sale. Regardless of their age or rating, windows always look better when they’re squeaky clean, and that means cleaning them inside and out. While brick exteriors can often escape a season unscathed, homes with siding always benefit from a power wash after a year of rain and wind depositing dust all over them. The same is true for your exterior doors and shutters, railings and walkways. The exterior of your home will show better when there are no traces of seasons past to be found on it.
If you’re fortunate to have a front yard, make sure you highlight it by keeping it neat and tidy. Grass should be kept cut, and preferably green, with edged sides where it meets hard surfaces. Your flowerbeds should be turned with dark soil, fully planted, or mulched with precision. The perimeter of your yard should be observed from every angle, and its imperfections addressed. Peeling paint, rusty railings, the position of your garbage and recycling bins should all be viewed with the overall aesthetic of your yard prioritized over functionality, at least until your home is sold. If you haven’t planted flowers in 15 years, now might not be the time to start, but edging your beds and adding some dark topsoil or mulch to them will go a long way in making your home look presentable. Buyers will be comparing your home to the others they’ve seen or will inevitably see before they make up their minds, so give your home every advantage by focusing on the area from the curb to your door.
Add Colour and Contrast
When selling your home, you need to think about ways to make your home stand out and look attractive to buyers who will be scrutinizing it before they step inside. One way to do this is by adding colour and contrast to the exterior. Take a walk through your neighbourhood or the neighbourhood of your dreams and make some notes about your favourite homes. What do you notice? Front doors should command attention and not fade into the rest of the home. Consider painting your front door and/or shutters a complimentary colour to the exterior of your home. Red brick pairs well with any number of colours, as does neutral stucco or siding. Your local paint expert can offer you some good advice if the decision process scares you. You don’t have to paint your front door yellow or teal (though I support both options) to make it stand out, but you may want to give it a fresh coat of paint and consider moving outside of your comfort zone. You’re not painting it for yourself after all, but for your home’s future owner. Highlight your entrance by purchasing a planter or two to draw the eye towards it. Your planter should add colour and have some height to be noticeable from the street. Shrubs, flowering or otherwise, provide an excellent foil to fences, just as dark mulch adds needed contrast to your lawn or driveway. Chain link fences don’t do anything for curb appeal. Wherever possible, consider removing them or replacing them with black aluminium prefab options for a serious increase in style.
Make your House a Home
Houses have front steps, but homes have steps people want to sit on. Houses have porches, but homes have outdoor living spaces that beckon the neighbours over to share an evening drink on. Houses are made of bricks and mortar, but homes are made of humans and their stories.
Making your home look inviting to buyers is the ultimate goal. Clean, well-maintained homes with pops of colour and contrast are great, but homes people can see themselves in sell faster and for more money. This is where furniture, accessories, and storytelling come into play. If your entrance can accommodate a chair and a small table or bench, add them, and follow that up with a lantern, a plant, and maybe your favourite pair of Hunter boots to rest on a welcome mat. Line your steps with billowing flowerpots and consider leaving your (conspicuously clean) gardening gloves and hand shovel on the step to highlight the human side of living there.
The curb appeal of your home is always important, but the increase in activity with the market coupled with seasonal maintenance means there’s a little more work to be done in the spring. By taking the time to improve your home’s curb appeal you just may decrease the time you spend waiting for an offer.
Author: Kiel Storms. Read more about him here.