The exterior of your house is the first impression your home will make on potential buyers. Therefore, it is wise to take the time to create an inviting and plesant view so that buyers will want to get out of their real estate agent's car and come in and view your home. You will want your home to look as good if not better than the homes on your street. It is one of the most cost effective things you can do to increase the chances of bringing in buyers.
Make sure your lawn is freshly cut and edged on a regular basis and that your irrigation system is functioning properly. How green is your lawn? Take a look at your neighbors' lawns. You will want to make sure yours is as lush if not better than the neighbors'. If it's not, speak with a professional or a lawn and garden sales associate at your local hardware store on how best to address the issues your lawn may be having.
If space allows, plant some colorful, mature flowers along the walkway to your front door. Flowers create a wonderful first impression. Fill in any empty areas along the driveway and around the house with bushes. If you have any utility boxes in your yard, it is a good idea to hide those with bushes as well. Just make sure to check with your local utility company for guidelines. As a general rule, don't bother adding trees to your yard. Immature trees don't really add anything to the landscape and mature trees are too expensive.
Take a look at your home from the street. If you are in a high traffic area or if you have a dirty driveway, chances are it could benefit from a pressure washing to give it a clean look. If the house looks a little worn, a fresh coat of paint might be just what is in order to give it a fresh look. If you do opt to paint, remember to stay neutral; you want the home to appeal to the widest range of buyers. Color often depends on not only the style of your home but also any HOA guidelines you may need to follow. If you are open to it, shades of the color yellow seem to create the most positive response from potential homebuyers. Clean up any items that accumulate around the house, man-made or not. If you have pool equipment, garbage cans or other large items you keep outside the house, consider buying a privacy screen (available at your local hardware store) to hide them from view.
A new roof is always a plus, but it is also expensive. Unless your roof is old and leaky, there is no reason to spend money unnecessarily. If you do have a leaky roof, you should seek the advice of a roof professional. You must disclose all structural issues to your real estate agent as well as any potential buyers, anyway. It is always best to avoid any potential pitfalls that could cause your sale not to close.
If you have a concrete, brick, asphalt or other solid surface driveway, a pressure wash cleaning is a good idea just to give it a fresh, clean look.
Think of your front door and/or front patio as the first room of your house. It is the first area potential buyers are really going to study. The front door should have a fresh look to it. Clean any scuff marks and repaint the door if necessary. Polish door fixtures and replace if too badly worn. Check your front door to make sure it locks and unlocks smoothly. Add a new doormat to give it a fresh feeling. If you have front patio furnture, replace any cushions that have been faded by the sun. If you have any personalized items such as family names on plaques and-or welcome signs, remove those. New buyers want to think about your home as their new house, not yours. Add a few colorful plants to brighten the space up and make your entryway pop. If the flooring area, furniture or any other area is dirty, pressure wash to give it a clean look.
You want your back yard to appear spacious. Clear out any piles that may have gathered, be it spare firewood, children's toys, or that rusting old BBQ grill. If you have a back deck, apply the same guidelines as we spelled out for the entryway in the paragraph above. If you have a swimming pool area, make sure it always kept tidy. Keep pool toys and floats in a bin. Make sure the water always looks clear and is properly maintained. If the pool deck area needs it, give it a pressure wash to make it look new again.
Next: Step 4 - Pricing Your Home - Setting Your Listing Price: