A Realtor’s guide to maximizing curb appeal – knowing exactly what to check off your list
Curb appeal is huge when trying to sell a home. It’s about setting one’s mood at first glance, whereby any prospective home Buyer would find themselves riveted by your home; wanting to find out more to discover what lies behind your front door.
It’s about grabbing ahold of a home Buyer’s visual sense of your home. As a Realtor here in Southeast Florida, I’ve advised numerous home Sellers on just what they can do to make their homes curb appeal….riveting.
Think about how prospective home Buyers can be drawn to your home. Let them want to envision owning your home and what it would be like for them to live in your home.
“Here I am…come on inside…see what else is waiting for you”! – shouts the home maxed out with curb appeal.
You’re likely wondering what areas of your home are the most important to pay attention to when maximizing curb appeal – where do you begin? I’ve put together a checklist below that will help you in pinpointing exactly what you need to do to spruce up your home’s curb appeal.
Let’s get started on that CHECKLIST:
✅ Driveway and Sidewalk
Remove dirt and debris from your driveway and sidewalks. A good pressure cleaning treatment is ideal.
Also, if your driveway and sidewalk have cracked concrete, asphalt or pavers, now is a good time to repair those areas and a resurfacing might even be beneficial.
Don’t forget about ensuring that the sides along your driveway and sidewalk are neatly edged by you or your gardener, where no weeds or grass is encompassing over the edges.
Get your grass green – the lusher and weed free, the more appealing. Water. Lots of water. If you live in an area where your water usage is restricted, then simply follow the local ordinance lawn watering guidelines – just make sure you’re watering your lawn. Got a few bare spots? Go to your local Home Depot or garden store and buy a few square feet of sod or whatever is needed to cover up the barren spots. Now is not the time to throw down some seed; time is not on your side.
Trim your trees of any dead branches. Particularly, if you’re here in Southeast Florida with us, it’s common place to have dead palm tree fronds hanging and blowing in the wind. Be sure to keep the trees neat.
What do your garden beds look like? If you see weeds and dirt, it’s time to clean them up. Start by pulling out any weeds. And if topsoil is visible, it’s best to add a layer of mulch to hide the dirt. Don’t forget the garden bed edges either, by ensuring that you or your gardener uses a edger to properly trim the area that lines between the garden bed and grassy lawn.
Remove any wilting or dead plants and replace with springy new plants. Bring some color to your garden beds and remember, there are some brilliant shades of green that will do just fine.
At a minimum, that requires no additional cost, be sure to thoroughly clean your front door of dirt and insects. If a prospective Buyer is greeted by an unsightly front door with insects and webs hanging, they’re immediately concerned about what the inside may look like once they step over the threshold.
If your door could benefit by a coat of paint, that would be ideal, plus it’s affordable.
✅ Front Door handle
Has your door handle seen it’s better days? Consider changing it out if it’s dull and aged.
✅ Welcome Mat
If your current mat located at the foot of your front door has seen it’s better days, now is a good time to replace it with a fresh, new welcome mat. Plus, a welcome mat can go along way in ridding your home of unwanted dirt brought in by prospective home buyers.
Make them shine so the birds will fly through them or at least try to fly through them. Try a bucket of warm water with a few cups of vinegar added. Or if your windows are really dirty you might have to wash with a bucket of soapy water, squeegee and then finish with the vinegar/water mixture. Wipe down and dry. Know that newspaper can make for a great way to dry them. Or if you no longer read a newspaper due to our digital age, try some packing paper that you may already have from a mover you’ve hired to move you and your family.
✅ House Numbers
Consider updating your home’s house numbers to what’s the latest trend for identifying a home’s address. There are many styles to choose from that will fit your home’s design style. Not sure where to begin, take a closer look here at the selection of house numbers.
✅ Front Patio/Porch
Perhaps one of the most powerful ways in which to maximize your home’s curb appeal is to stage your front porch. It’s a way to make your home smile from the outside, simply by setting up an area that says; welcome to our home…can’t you just imagine living here?!
Whether you have a simpler, small scale area or a full scale large front porch, there are a number of things that you can do to set the stage for what awaits for a prospective Buyer inside, and remember to always reduce the clutter.
Small scale front patio/porch – add a large flower/plant pot or two with freshly planted flowers or bright, colorful foliage that would flank the front door. Or consider an attractive decorative outdoor accessory that will compliment your home’s style.
Larger front patio/porch – if your home has the larger footprint for patio furniture, tables, etc., you’ll find it a lot easier to draw in the Buyer with an attractive combination of patio furniture. And adding an outdoor rug under the seating area will tie it all together.
Clean your patio furniture and put on a fresh coat of paint, if needed or possible. What do your seat cushions look like? Are they faded and/or torn? Be sure to replace them if they’re worn and tattered or clean them if you can remove any stains.
Continue with the flower/plant pots as you would with the small scale front patio/porch discussed above.
It’s all about creating a conversation area on your patio. Let the Buyers imagine themselves sitting down to a morning cup of coffee or a evening glass of wine or beer. Or just relaxing while they watch their kids play around in the front yard. What kids playing outdoors you wonder – what am I talking about?! Do kids actually play outside these days? Well of course they do, once you have them pried away from their computers and phones!
If your mailbox is leaning or has a few dings in it, now before selling your home, you could replace it, paint it or repair the box. Or if you live in a community with matching mailboxes and your Homeowner’s Association keeps the mailboxes in good condition, you’re in luck…you won’t have to worry about a shoddy mailbox.
✅ Roof and Gutters
With the recent introduction of drone aerial camera photography and videos from above, a dirty or really old roof will be glaring in the images taken. Not all Real Estate Agents use drone photography like I do for my homeowner’s home listings, yet those that do understand this very well.
Not only will a dirty roof be clearly visible from above, it’s also an integral part of making sure your homes’ curb appeal is maximized when seen from the street. Have your roof pressure cleaned and clean out your gutters. Don’t let a prospective Buyer notice the plants growing out of your gutter or a filthy, dirty roof.
Repair a fence in need of repair. Closely manicure any shrubs, plants or trees nearby the fence to free it of any overgrown areas. Allow for easy access through the fence gate if your gate is not locked.
✅ Trash and Recycle Cans
Tuck your trash and recycle cans away. Make sure they are hidden from the curb and keeping them in the garage for the showing time period would be ideal if you have the space.
While the pool area can not likely be seen from the curb, it is important to include it as part of your curb appeal preparations being an extension of the front yard.
Have your pool cleaned, remove pool toys and anything around the pool that shows as clutter.
✅ Grilling area
Again, like the pool area, your grilling area is an extension of your front yard so make sure it too is clean and ready for grilling. You can emphasize your grilling area by having any grill cover removed and positioned well on your back patio. If your grill area includes an outdoor Kitchen it would be beneficial to stage it too with things such as utensils, hot pads, outdoor dishware, etc. Or what about that outdoor pizza oven you have? Stage it with a pizza and sauce before it goes in the oven.
✅ Back Yard Lawn Furniture
Clean your patio furniture, repair any hanging straps or paint it, if needed. Also, be sure to arrange your backyard lawn furniture just like you set it up on the front patio. Be sure to have your furniture cleaned and neatly arranged for lounging. Always a great idea to stage a backyard just like you would on a front patio/porch.
Make it inviting for visiting, prospective home Buyers to get a good feel of how they could enjoy life in the backyard.
✅ Christmas Decorations
By all means, make sure they’re packed away, if it’s not the Christmas season.
As you have likely now learned, much of maximizing your home’s curb appeal doesn’t always have to mean you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars, but rather in knowing what you should address and what home Buyers will be focusing on when they come calling on your home.
Use this checklist and print it out if that will help. Start with the first item and go through making sure that you have addressed each item. Once you’re finished, you’re that much closer to being ready to list your home for sale and selling it fast.
Related helpful articles from leading Real Estate bloggers:
Enhancing your home’s curb appeal by Michelle Gibson
Adding instant curb appeal to your home by Sharon Paxon
A home seller’s checklist by Bill Gassett
Summer curb appeal tips by Luke Skar
The science of selling a home by Paul Sian
Staging like a Pro found at ImagineYourHouse
Today’s Real Estate article “A Checklist for Maximizing a Home’s Curb Appeal” was written by Lynn Pineda. You’ll find Lynn selling homes in Southeast Florida in the cities of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Coral Springs, Delray Beach, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Margate, Parkland, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Sunrise, Plantation and Ft Lauderdale areas within Broward and Palm Beach counties. Call Lynn at 954-464-1100 if you have questions about your home’s curb appeal in Boca Raton to Coral Springs and around!
Lynn Pineda, a licensed Southeast Florida Real Estate Agent serving Southeast Florida since 2005. eXp Coral Springs Realty. Real Estate Promises Delivered. You can speak with Lynn by calling/texting her at 954-464-1100 or you can email her at: LynnP@ImagineYourHouse.com if you need to buy or sell a Southeast Florida home. Your local, trusted professional when it’s time to buy or sell a home. Real Estate promises delivered.