It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Right?
Not when it comes to selling a home. When you list your property, what’s happening on the outside of your home is more important than what you’ve done to the interior simply because the exterior makes the first impression.
And it had better be a good one, agents say. Because buyers typically spend about 10 seconds driving from lot line to lot line before making a decision about whether or not to schedule an appointment to see the interior.
Home buyers shopping on the Internet might give the exterior of your home even less time, though if interior color photos are included, they might take a look at those as well.
So how do you create an exterior attractive enough to coax even home buyers into crossing the threshold? Make the most of each season’s best, without going overboard.
Winter and Spring
As we move toward Spring, the northern half of the country can expect some wintry weather to continue, including snow, freezing rain, and ice. While Floridians might wonder how anyone can find a snow-covered home attractive, many northerners like snow and how it accentuates landscaping.
Make sure your landscape is up to the challenge. Dried native grass plants look beautiful in a new snowfall, and give an attractive dimension to a winter garden. Evergreen and spruce trees and shrubs liven the landscape with subtle colors. Plant crocus, daffodil and other bulbs that will shoot up at the first signs of spring, and blaze with color. Decorate your doors with herb and dried floral wreaths.
Make sure home buyers can easily get up the front walkway, and out onto any back porches or terraces. Shovel snow and salt any ice on the steps and driveway. If your roof tends to create ice dams, look into installing an inexpensive heat coil system designed to keep your gutters clear even in the coldest weather.
Southern homeowners should take advantage of the nice weather year round and make sure their gardens are manicured, and planted with fresh, colorful flowers.
Late spring is a good time to check the grading around your foundation. You’ll want your landscape to grade away from the foundation, so that the spring rains will run down the pitch and into your garden, rather than down the foundation and into your basement.
Summer and Fall
Should summer heat begin to dry out your lawn, invest in an inexpensive above-ground sprinkler system (cost: about $100). Although watering can be considered wasteful in some areas of the country, most home buyers want to see manicured, green lawns punctuated by flowers, natural grasses and trees.
If you’ve never had a professional landscaper work with your yard, this may be the summer to do so. Start early so that the new planting will have time to take root before you list your home.
Finally, plant flowers that will bloom late into the year, giving your garden some late fall color.
Fall can be a beautiful season in which to sell a home. Trees are ablaze with color, and lawns often stay green until the first big snowfall. Accent your home with potted mums in strategic locations. Having a color theme will help unify your landscaping. If you’re going to sell the following spring, plant bulbs that will come up just as the weather turns again.
There aren’t many landscaping issues that pop up in the fall, except for leaves. Be sure to keep your grass as leaf-free as possible. A mulching lawnmower or bagging leaves should do the trick. Also, have your gutters cleaned twice a year – in the early days of spring (to catch any winter debris that may clog gutters) and after the leaves have fallen.
There’s no need to rip out all of your landscaping and spend thousands of dollars planting a new garden. A couple of hundred dollars should buy you access to a professional landscaper, who can spend a few hours polishing up what you have, and making your home shine.