Maximizing your home’s curb appeal to stand out

By Todd Lewys

After much deliberation, you’ve decided to sell your home.

These days – with so many homes on the market – it’s important to prepare your home so it stands out from the competition.

That means doing all the little things necessary to make your home shine and give it maximum curb appeal.

And while curb appeal is subjective, there are certain things you can do to ensure your home makes a positive first impression, says interior/exterior home stylist Kelly Penuita.

“Fall is a hard time to sell your home because everything around it – the flowers, trees, grass – is dying,” she says. “That means you have to work extra-hard to make your home look good.”

Priority one should be giving your home’s exterior a clean, tidy look from the front sidewalk on in, says Penuita.

“It’s critically important that you clean up your yard. Mow the grass, rake up leaves and remove dead plants or flowers. As you show your home, make sure to stay on top of those tasks.”

Next, turn your attention to your home’s exterior.

“Check areas such as door and window trim, as well as screens,” she advises. “Also, check to see that your front door is working properly. If required, touch up paint, repair screens and adjust your door so that it works properly. Everything needs to be spot-on to make a positive first impression.”

Exterior lighting is another detail that you can’t afford to overlook, adds Penuita.

“It’s now getting darker earlier, so it’s very important to have adequate exterior lighting. Make sure the front door light illuminates the steps, sidewalk and yard so people can see where they’re going. You don’t want them to be uncomfortable walking up to a dark house.”

Likewise, ensure that your house number is also visible from the street.

“Again, it’s getting darker earlier – you will be having showings at dusk or later – so you want your house number to be well lit so prospective buyers can find your home easily.”

Why is it so important to get all those exterior details just right?

“If your home is clean, tidy and well-kept on the outside, it stands to reason that the orderly appearance will transfer inside,” says Penuita. “An appealing exterior will draw people inside to investigate further.”

This is where it’s important not to drop the ball, as picky home buyers will now be looking for an interior that’s well-maintained and livable.

“Your home’s interior can never be too clean. To start, open the windows for fresh air and eliminate any unappealing odors. Don’t bake bread or light scented candles,” she says. “The best scent is no scent, as buyers may think you’re trying to cover something up.”

The next order of business involves tidying up.

“Pack away collections such as photos de-personalizes your home. Also work at cleaning up clutter. For example, taking an extra chair out of the living room can improve flow. You want buyers to be able to walk effortlessly through your home with no distractions so they can visualize living in it.”

Additionally, tidy up kitchens and bathrooms, putting away dishes to clear counter space, and to give bathrooms a more spa-like feel.

Open curtains to expand spaces and let in natural light, make sure beds are made and that bath towels are hung properly.

Elements like a new coat of neutral paint here and there, new fixtures or even new countertops in the kitchen can breathe new life into a home along with an orderly appearance.

“A neat, orderly home that presents well helps people make an emotional connection with spaces and allows them to visualize living there, adds

Putting in the effort to make your home shine outside and inside will pay off, she concludes.

“View it as an investment. Your home must look its best to sell in such a competitive market. Putting in a little sweat equity and getting all the little details right will help you get the best possible return for your home.”