Helping to Sell Homes More Quickly for More Money

Helping to Sell Homes More Quickly for More Money

April 17, 2019

Curb appeal:The House

While the weed and feed is sprucing up the lawn (see the April 9, 2019 blog) it’s time to look at the exterior of the house. Older homes may have a painted wood exterior and some homes with vinyl siding still have painted wood trim. Assuming there is no rot and nothing is missing, a fresh coat of paint is going to be most appreciated by buyers. Homes with vinyl siding should be clean and mildew free. Homes with stone or brick exteriors may need cleaning if there are signs of leaching on them. They also need to be checked for missing mortar, especially chimneys that run from the ground to above the roof line.

During all this checking, cleaning and repairing is being done, be sure to remove all insect and bird nests. Any signs of termite damage must be treated and repaired. Even old, inactive termite activity can force a homeowner to have a full termite inspection and certification that the home is termite free. I speak from personal experience!

The other big exterior issue is the roof. The average asphalt shingle roof has a lifespan of about 20-25 years. If the roof has not been inspected recently it is worth the money to have it looked at to repair loose or missing shingles and to have the flashing around vents and chimney(s) checked and re-caulked. You may learn it is time to replace the roof if is too damaged to repair. Better to learn this now so you can take action instead of failing to pass the home inspection before settlement. New roofs are a big selling point for older homes. However if all is in good shape, determine if the roof needs cleaning too… this is more important for light colored shingles which stain more easily if leaves and other debris have gotten wet and stayed on the roof.

Don’t forget the gutters. They must be firmly attached to the house and connected properly to all down-spouts. Gutter covers are a big plus, but as long as there are no clogs or leaks, they are good to go. Gutter companies often offer inspection services and tune ups like tightening or replacing missing screws and freshly caulking joints.

More tips:

Shutters should be straight, tight and looking good. Faded shutters should be painted. Ditto for front doors which are often painted the same color as the shutters. Light-colored homes often do well with darker shutters and doors like navy, dark green and black. Dark colored home need lighter accents of white, light gray or light blue. Discolored or rusty door handles and lock-sets should also be cleaned or replaced. House numbers should be easily visible and newer, modern numbers also ad to curb appeal.

Exterior lights need to be clear of bug debris and working with bright bulbs installed. If the light fixtures are old, rusted, discolored, etc. it is a good idea to install new, more modern or contemporary lights for curb appeal. It is also a good idea to remove holiday lights, unless it is the holiday season. Classic white lights or LED style lighting will highlight your homes’ exterior features. But don’t ad lighting to bushes and trees, and no inflatables or other lighted décor except possibly some decorated pots on either side of the front door.

Porches and decks should be in good shape, clean and uncluttered. Rotted boards will not pass inspection. Loose boards should be screwed down. Power-washing, staining and painting will also make a good impression. A few chairs with outdoor pillows and a few small tables with greenery and/or candles should suffice. Grills and other deck accessories should be free of debris and sheathed with newer covers. Be sure to let buyers know if the grill or other items are included in the sale price.

Lastly, one item that is neither lawn- nor house-related is the mailbox. Damaged, faded, stained mailboxes should be replaced with fresh boxes. If you are not using a one-piece unit that covers the post, be sure the post itself is upright and has a fresh coat of paint or stain. I also like large  house number stickers on either side of the mailbox to make it easy for people to find the house. Many people like to plant flowers around the base of the mailbox, but the USPS recommends against it. Flowers attract bees which can be a hazard for USPS delivery people. Plain mulch is fine if you don't want to worry about trimming grass around the base of the mailbox.


April 9, 2019

Welcome to my Capitol Home Staging blog! This is one of the ways I can help realtors and owners sell their homes faster and for more money. Todays’ topic is curb appeal, specifically the yard.

While curb appeal refers to the front of the house, making sure the backyard looks as nice as the front yard is going to appeal to more buyers. Step one is to remove toys and damaged furniture, other junk, overgrown weeds and create a space for trash cans.

Winter snow can hide many sins, but now that spring has sprung, the yard should be spruced up. Lawns that are covered in leaves and other detritus like sticks and plant stalks should be raked. This allows air and water to get into the soil.

Green grass that is regularly mowed helps make that first good impression. Too many weeds, brown spots and bare spots are not welcoming. Now is a great time to get spring fertilizers down and put down some grass seed. With any luck spring showers will take care of the watering for you, but if not, make sure the fertilizer is watered into the grass roots and that the seeds stay moist until germination.

Also check out the trees and shrubs in the yard and around the house. Dead would should be removed. And I always like to make sure the lowest branches are about 6 or 7 feet above the ground to avoid potential face injuries while mowing. Older trees may benefit from a professional thinning of the branches and some shaping as well.

Shrubs should have a good 6-12 inches clearance from the foundation, house or porch. This helps reduce bugs inside the house and allows for better air flow to keep mildew from growing on the house.  If the mildew is already there, plan to get the house power-washed. Trimming shrubs for shape and size is recommended. Shrubs that are very overgrown and hide the house might need to be removed and new ones planted.

Spots of color from flowers always add to your curb appeal. I tend to plant perennials but annuals work too. Then put down some fresh mulch around the flowers, shrubs and trees. Voila! Buyers are more inclined to look at your house.

These are all recommendations I’ve made to my sellers over the years and I hope they will help you. See my next blog on the home exterior for more tips on curb appeal!


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