To properly prepare your home for a sale, it’s best to see your home as a stranger sees it.
There are several ways to step back and take a second look: enlisting a trusted friend–ideally one who specializes in brutal honesty–to point out any and everything that should be improved; bringing in a real estate professional to give a second opinion; and taking photos of your home from all angles–inside and out.
Follow these seven important steps on how to prepare the outside of your home before that “For Sale” sign ever goes up:
1. Start with the mailbox
Is your mailbox rusty, bent or broken? Does it have peeling paint? If you answered “yes” to any of the previous questions, get a new one, pronto. It’s a small thing, but it’s these kind of small things that make a big impression. Remember, it’s all about selling your home to the highest bidder.
2. Evaluate the driveway and walkways
Are they clear of debris, free of weeds, and recently sealed? If not, step to it. Buyers don’t want to start their view of your property thinking about how much work it needs.
3. Trim the bushes and trees and clear away any dead branches
Don’t just pay attention to the bushes, trees, and grounds. Look up and get those leaves out of the gutter while you’re at it, too.
4. Rent a pressure washer and use it liberally
Areas that should be targeted include the driveway, walkways, siding, deck, shutters, and outdoor lawn furniture.
5. Minimize signs of animals and children
If you have dog crates or piles of pet toys in the yard, put them neatly in a shed or into storage during a showing. Same goes with kid trikes, bikes, or outdoor playthings: store them out of sight.
6. Limit banners and signs
If your home has any banners or flags flying declaring your love of the Golden State Warriors, cats, or Summer, it’s best to clear those out so as to appeal to the widest swath of buyers.
7. Scrutinize your entryway.
Make sure the steps leading to your door are even and clean, and clear out those cobwebs. If you repaint anything on the outside of your home, make it the area around the door.
Buy a planter, fill it with flowers, and set it near the entrance. Consider investing in a small bench if there’s room–it tends to make the entryway seem more inviting.