In real estate today, the homes that sell faster and for top current market value are those that are properly prepared -- both inside and outside.
What do I mean by properly prepared?
These days everyone has heard of "staging" and may understand some of the elements of the stager's art. They include neutralizing colors, removing extraneous furnishings, depersonalizing your space by limiting collections and family photos and a variety of other very important tasks. All of that should happen PRIOR to putting your home on the market.
What your Realtor also should tell you is the brutal truth about your exterior. In particular, landscaping that has overgrown will be a distraction for potential buyers. Bushes may be so large that they keep buyers from evaluating your home's aesthetics or even its construction.
Walk around the outside of your home with your Realtor and discuss projects that should be completed before your home is listed for sale. A neutral party's opinion very often will help you see your lawn and landscape from a different perspective.
If weed barriers have broken down and you now have more weeds than rocks showing in your outside decor, it may be time for some drastic action. The Bobcat pictured in this post is removing 25-year-old landscaping that had overtaken a home in Glen Carbon, IL. The owners decided to remove everything from all four sides of the residence and start from scratch to give the home a contemporary and fresh exterior.
Your issues may not require the intervention of a professional landscaping team and a Bobcat, but they are just as important in the sale of your home. What should you look for? This is not an exhaustive list, but will provide you with a good start:
1.) Landscaping that hides your home's features must be severely trimmed or removed and replaced. Think about including more currently popular plants in your design such as native grasses, knockout roses and wildflowers and removing old-school bushes such as yews and junipers.
2.) Deferred tuckpointing on chimneys should be repaired.
3.) Peeling or chipped paint is a problem. This is especially important if your home might sell to someone using FHA or VA financing which requires certain fixes such as repairs to all peeling paint.
4.) Weeds peeking up from driveway cracks should be removed, or asphalt driveways that need to be re-sealed should be fixed.
5.) Scrutinize the area around your front door. Does the door need to be repainted? A potential buyer will spent a lot of time in front of your door while their agent is opening the home. What will they see?
6.) Exterior AC unit. -- does it need to be cleaned?
7.) How does your mailbox look? Maybe a quick paint job will help. If your mail box is in the shape of a giant fish or a football helmet, perhaps you need to rethink that when your home is for sale.
8.) Do you have a fence that needs to be repaired or replaced?
9.) Everyone needs a friend with a power washer. You'll be amazed and how your porches, decks patios and driveway will look after a good spritz from a power washer.
Above all, just try to look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. After all, you're in competition with a lot of inventory these days, including new construction homes that have that "new in a box" feeling. Show buyers how well your home has been maintained by sprucing up the outside. It will pay off for you in the end result, which we hope will be a quicker sale at favorable price.