If you are planning to put your North Calgary home on the market soon, chances are good that you are already immersed in a flurry of painting, de-cluttering, and deep cleaning tasks to make sure that prospective buyers will find it both attractive and welcoming.
While doing this type of interior preparation is a very important part of getting buyers to want to purchase the home, sellers must also realize the importance of making sure that their home appeals to buyers when viewed from the curb, as well.
After all, getting prospective buyers to look inside the home begins by making sure they find the outside attractive enough to want to see the inside.
Start at the Curb
Today's families live busy lives, making it easy to overlook landscaping issues that can mar the attractiveness of the home when viewed from the curb. To determine what prospective buyers will see when they drive by or arrive to view the home, start by standing on the curb or in your driveway and looking toward your front door. This will help you to see any problems that need addressed or areas that could use some touching up.
Here are some common issues that you might see when viewing your home from the curb and helpful advice on how you can solve them them.
- Sidewalks that are stained or littered with dead grass or leaves should be kept swept and scrubbed clean
- Uneven, or badly cracked sidewalks and walkways can put prospective buyers at risk of falling or make them worry that your home has not been properly maintained so it is worthwhile to consider having them repaired or replaced with new concrete or attractive paving stones to enhance safety and add a fresh new look
- Rusty, unattractive, or non-working yard lights that detract from the view should be removed or replaced with attractive solar lighting to provide soft, welcoming light for evening showings
- Gates that are unattractive or difficult to open can frustrate buyers and showing agents before they even see the inside of your home, so make sure to repair or replace ugly or broken gates as part of your home selling preparations
- An ugly or dirty mailbox at the curb or on the porch should be replaced or refurbished to make sure it is clean, bright and attractive with house numbers that are easy to read
- Garbage cans should never be left on the curb or haphazardly parked where they will mar the attractiveness of the home when viewed from the curb, instead choose to retrieve them promptly on trash day and hide them away from view
- Untrimmed hedges or flower beds full of dead flowers, weeds, or leaves are a turnoff to prospective buyers so make sure that weekly attention is given to these areas while the home is on the market
- Weedy vegetable gardens or those that are full of dead plants from last year's gardens make outdoor spaces look messy so take time to mow or remove weeds and dead vegetation for a neater, more attractive appearance
Create Focal Points
Nondescript or boring lawns and landscaping can be easily forgotten by prospective buyers. To avoid this problem, consider creating one or more focal points to make these areas attract more attention and become more memorable.
Some good ideas for creating inexpensive but attractive focal points fast include:
- Placing an inexpensive bench or pre-made gazebo in a quiet corner and adding a few potted flowers or green plants to create an attractive conversation area
- Creating an explosion of colour and greenery by burying pots of flowering and green plants in a mound of mulch and surrounding it with attractive stones or other border materials
- Laying inexpensive paving stones in an area of the yard to create a patio-like area that can be decorated with comfortable lawn furniture and a fire pit to create an outdoor living area
- Updating your window box with flowers and other decor.
How to Fill Your Window Boxes in Any Season
Window boxes are an easy way to add a touch of charm to your home and boost its curb appeal—especially during the spring and summer, when they're filled with bright blooms. But what about the colder months?
You don't have to be able to grow plants outdoors to have a decorative window box all year long. Try these ideas to keep yours looking great, even when growing conditions are next to impossible.
There's a reason your mental image of springtime includes loads of bright flowers: it's the time of year when most plants break dormancy and grow so well that even brown thumbs can manage a lovely display. For northern gardeners, tulips, daffodils and pansies can handle dips in the early spring temperatures, while southern climes have an even greater range of options for this time of year.
Head to your local nursery for transplants that are just about to bloom, and you'll enjoy some much-needed instant gratification after a long winter.
As temperatures climb, you'll need to remove spent spring flowers and replace them with drought-hardy choices that can take the heat.
Marigolds and zinnias are classic summer workhorses, but you can also consider attractive, leafy plants like dusty miller. For a new twist on your window box, try packing it with herbs like basil, dill and rosemary for a delicious, fragrant option to perfume your home whenever you open the windows at night.
Hardy chrysanthemums are the classic choice for autumn window boxes, since they can take a bit of light frost without calling it quits. If you live in a very cold area, consider removing your plants and placing a painted or polyurethaned wood shelf over your window box instead. Use this surface to hold a collection of miniature pumpkins or decorative gourds for the season.
In most areas of the country, winter means a hiatus from gardening. Luckily, you can still fill your window boxes with natural items. If you have access to a wooded area, seek out bright red holly or winterberry branches to cut.You can insert them into the soil so they remain upright, or you can lash them to that shelf with some evergreen boughs for a seasonal display.
Regardless of the season, creating appealing displays in window boxes will surely dress up your home's curb appeal.
Deal With Specific Issues
Another part of making sure your landscaping is attractive and welcoming to prospective buyers is to make sure you address any specific issues that may affect your property and its appearance. Perhaps your yard has a tree that is dying and needs removed, a large hole in the lawn dug by a neighbour's dog, or maybe it could use some additional landscaping or fencing along a property line to offer significantly more privacy.
No matter what specific issues your landscaping presents, taking time to correct them and enhance the yard's appearance can payoff with increased buyer traffic and a faster, more profitable home selling experience.
Outdoor Chores to Do Before Showing Your Home
The following chores will help you prepare to sell your house in the next few weeks. Completing these projects will help ensure that your home looks appealing when the first buyers arrive.
Clean the Siding
A home's siding can get worn down as time goes by. Whether the paint peels or birds and insects start putting holes in it, damaged siding is easy to notice. Dirty siding can hide the true colour of your house and may signal to buyers that your home needs a lot of cleaning.
To clean your siding, use a strong jet of water from a hose and a long-handled scrub brush. If the dirt persists, use mild detergent in a bucket of warm water. To remove mold or mildew, use warm water mixed with equal parts oxygen bleach.
Paint the Front Door
Your home's front door is one of the first things about your house that buyers will see up close. To make a good impression, apply a fresh coat of paint to your home's front door. This project can be completed in a day.
To start, use a screwdriver to remove the hardware, then sand down the door to rough up the paint. Next, fill in any holes and scratches on the door with putty, then flatten the putty by sanding it down. Scrub down the front door with a sponge and warm, soapy water. Finally, paint the door with a coat of primer and two or more coats of exterior-grade latex paint.
The front porch is arguably one of the most important parts of the home because when a home buyer comes to see the home, that's where they'll enter. Here's some ideas for fixing up the front porch area.
- Paint the front door to give it a fresh new look without buying a new door.
- Polish the door handles and any light fixtures so they don't look dingy or grimy.
- Make sure the doorbell works in case of any tests during home showings.
- If the home's address is located on the porch, make sure it's clearly visible from the road.
- Use a pressure washer to clean the porch and make it look almost brand new.
Clean windows are a must when it comes to curb appeal. Dusty, streaky, or dingy windows can take life out of a home and make it look old and uncared for. On a similar note, window screens are notorious for collecting dust, and that collection can be seen from both the inside as well as the outside. Before allowing buyers inside, clean the screens, then take some window cleaner and a rag and wipe the windows down so they shine.
Nowadays, shutters are a popular addition to homes, even if that addition is purely aesthetic. Shutters can be painted any color, so they can help give the home a bold new look. If the home doesn't have any yet, consider adding some. If it already has shutters, perhaps a new color could breathe some new life into the home. Alternatively, the shutters could be removed altogether if they look like they're falling apart or they make the house appear cluttered.
While usually not part of the actual home, the mailbox is still an important feature of the home that gets use almost every day. If the current mailbox is bent up, rusty, or just unattractive, consider replacing it with a new one. Make sure the home's address is clearly visible on both sides so people coming to look at the home an find it easily.
Home buyers love to see that homes are taken care of, and by following these tips, any home can see a boost in curb appeal. Giving even just a few of these areas a little extra attention can pay off when the home finally sells.
Wash the Windows
Washing the windows properly will let in more light inside your home or condo, making it seem cleaner and more cheerful. To wash the windows, spray the glass with a combination water and vinegar, then use a squeegee to swipe it away. For areas that need to be scrubbed, use a microfiber cloth.
One thing many sellers think about before putting their home up on the market is whether or not they should replace the home's roof. Even if the roof is structurally fine, one that appears old can potentially drive buyers away. In many cases, dark stains on roofs are caused by algae growth. This doesn't mean the roof needs to be replaced, though. Homeowners can hire someone to clean the roof, or even do it themselves. Despite its age, a roof that looks clean can boost curb appeal and help bring buyers in.
Best Practices for Green Lawn Growth
Weed, Rake, Water and Mow
Pull up all the weeds in your front yard's garden beds, then lay down a layer of mulch to prevent the weeds from returning. Establish a regular watering schedule to keep your home's lawn green and prevent plants from dying.Mow your grass and establish a regular mowing schedule, then rake up all debris and leaves cluttering the lawn.
Remove any dead, dying, scraggly or unhealthy plants from the landscaping. Any plants that get removed can be thrown away or composted. In the place of any plants you remove, plant low-maintenance annuals or shrubs.
Encourage the Growth of Deep Roots
With little snow this past winter in Calgary, folks had their sprinklers going early in spring because the grass was incredibly dry and the trees and bushes under duress. As the grass wakes up and the roots become active, the roots keep close to the surface because that's where the water is, especially if you are watering every two to three days. They don't penetrate deep into the soil looking for moisture, which is what they need to do to stay healthy. It's necessary to maintain a balance and water just once a week. Give your lawn a good soaking so the moisture penetrates deeper into the ground so the roots will grow down as well. Longer, deeper roots are strong roots, able to withstand disease and to choke out weeds.
Short Grass is Only For Lawn Bowling
Many people subscribe to the theory that tidy grass is short grass, but you can keep it a little longer and still keep the appearance of a well-kept yard. Using a shallow blade is optimal whereby you're slicing off just a third of the steam of grass. When we saw a shallow blade, we mean raise it under the mower. This may mean cutting the lawn more often if you're a stickler for the appearance of your lawn. You can still maintain excellent curb appeal because your grass will be healthy, even if it doesn't have the just-cut appearance. And another thing — when you cut off just a bit every time you mow, there's no need for a grass-catcher. Leave the clippings because they keep the weeds down and give your turf a bit more nutrition.
Annual Aeration is Essential
When you aerate your lawn, you're providing channels for moisture, nutrition and air to get down into the soil to feed your lawn through the roots. You can rent an aerator or hire a company with the proper tools to do it which will save you time and ensure a uniform job. It's easiest to aerate at the beginning of the season before the growing season, when the sod can heal and the holes fill in. This is especially important if your lawn is older as the sod will become very compacted as it ages.
Care at the End of the Season
Before the snow flies, it's a good idea to reduce the thatch build up in preparation for hibernation and the subsequent spring. Rake your lawn of leaves and dead weeds but don't worry about being perfect. Some organic decomposition is good for the soil, but an excessive amount of dead material lying over your lawn can harbor disease.
Be Organic in Action
You may follow all the protocol to keep your lawn health in a natural way, but sometimes Mother Nature needs a little help. Choose organic, natural products to kill weeks and give your grass a little boost. For example, vinegar will kill weeds. For example, put 50% vinegar and water solution in a spray bottle and go crazy. Your local gardening centre can give you advice on green solutions to fertilize your lawn while keeping your family and pets safe.
Contact a Real Estate Professional For Help
Following these tips will boost your home's curb appeal and attract buyers to your property. For more advice, walk through your property with your real estate agent.
If you need additional help in recognizing issues that need to be addressed, ask your real estate professional to offer additional guidance on how you can improve your landscaping. When you're trying to make a great impression with buyers any way you can, you'll be happy you paid some attention to your landscaping.