| November 25, 2014
The fall home sales season is make-or-break time for a lot of buyers, so as a seller, you can capitalize on the urgency by making your property the most attractive in the neighborhood. Especially in markets where local inventory is tight, a little curb appeal goes a long way.
Real estate professionals and home improvement experts alike suggest starting from the outside and working your way in. That often means catching prospective buyers' eyes with an updated exterior and well-manicured landscaping. A strong first impression is crucial to getting house hunters in the door, and that means your home needs to stand out from the street. It may seem superficial, but a strong presentation reflects well on you as an owner- and as someone these customers will want to do business with. Some suggested measures for enhancing your property's fall beauty, as noted by HGTV Front Door and the National Association of Realtors, include the following:
Light it up
- Clear the path. Whatever the most immediate route to your main entrance, make sure it is clearly identifiable and navigable. You can take advantage of the season's ability to beautify your lawn without allowing the walkway to be cluttered. You don't have to rid the space of leaves entirely, but rake any sticks and debris off the path and trim the grass to a presentable length. It's also worth investing in some fertilizer to help clear any glaring brown patches on your lawn, or to clear up anything else that diverts attention from the walkway, the door and the home itself.
- Subtle planting. Perennials like sunflowers and chrysanthemums can add color to flower beds outside your home that might be growing bare as the summer ends. It's important not to overdo it, especially if you have enough trees to accentuate your home, but a well-maintained garden can still impress buyers who want to see tasteful attention to detail. You can add further seasonal touches by stacking a pile of logs outside your garage or perhaps garnishing your front door with a fall wreath or a few gourds. Just remember to err on the side of moderation.
- Tasteful touch-ups. You're trying to draw people to your door, so any new paint job should begin there. If you're going to go bold, make sure it's with a color that complements the rest of the home and its surroundings. A deep red, for example, will present itself differently from a bold turquoise. From there, you can refinish the paint on windows and shutters if necessary, but don't overdo it or overspend at a time when your budget is becoming increasingly important. Matching shutters, trim and doors are all well and good, but shoring up any nagging structural issues - such as leaky insulation or unreliable plumbing - is time and money better spent as you prepare to sell.
. As the calendar turns, showings that would have taken place in the late-afternoon or early-evening sunlight will now be after-dark affairs. That means all your hard work at generating curb appeal can go unnoticed if you don't have proper lighting to draw attention to the right places. Flood lighting along the walkway and a few strategically placed candles in the windows can do the trick without causing you to spend like crazy, illuminating the upgrades you've made without coming off gaudy or tacky. Lighting a clear path toward your door also reassures visitors you're looking out for them, which never hurts as you try to make yourself appealing as a seller and transaction partner.