Autumn projects that increase curb appeal

If you could see your home through buyers’ eyes, you might be left feeling a bit spooked. Try to look at your home with fresh eyes and consider the things you would criticize about your home if you were the buyer. In most cases, it’s very easy to refresh your home and make it easier to sell.

The place to start is, of course, at the curb. Here’s a checklist of essential curb appeal items to review. Many involve inexpensive and straightforward fixes that you or a landscaping person can easily undertake, now that temperate fall weather is here.

5 ways to spruce up the yard

1. Rake those leaves

In fall, this can be a daily requirement to keep a property looking visitor-ready. Fallen leaves make excellent mulch for your flowerbeds. Be sure to pick up any garbage that may have blown in, as well.

2. Trim the shrubs

Among the fastest ways to create a horrible first impression is to let shrubbery obscure the entry and hang over the front walk like the ghost of Halloween past. Shrubs should showcase your entry instead.

3. Mow and edge

Reasonably or not, tidiness conveys the impression that owners take extra good care of an entire property, inside and out. Unkempt landscaping leaves a terrible first impression. You should keep mowing your lawn until the first hard frost.

4. Be diligent

Keep this yard maintenance program going until the leaves quit falling, and the grass is covered in snow, at which point snow shoveling — to keep your driveway and sidewalk clear — takes over.

5. Add finishing touches

Finally, while the weather holds, you should take advantage of the opportunity to:

• Reseed bare spots in the lawn

• Revive planters with seasonal color

• Replant and mulch the flowerbeds

4 ways to say “this is a well-maintained home”

1. Clear the eavestroughs

Get rid of all those tiny plants growing in your eavestroughs. Unclog the downspouts at the same time. Better yet, have gutter-guards installed before leaves start to drop. And clear any fallen tree branches off the roof when the leaves are gone.

2. Touch up peeling paint

Nothing makes a house look shabbier than patches of bare wood surrounded by peeling paint. And it’s so easy to fix. If you hate ladders, hire someone.

3. Rejuvenate the fences

Good fences make good neighbours — and an excellent first impression. Leaning, decaying fences? Not so much. If you can’t afford to replace a fence that’s seen better days, you (or a handyperson) can at least prop it up and power-wash it.

4. Refresh the mailbox

Sellers tend to overlook practical items like the mailbox, which is the first thing buyers likely see. Generally, installing a new box (with house numbers!) is the easiest, fastest way to refresh this area without calling undue attention. However, if it’s a prominent fixture, it’s best to install something in keeping with the home’s architecture and landscape the area, so it fits with the overall planting scheme.

2 ways to make it easy to find the address

1. Make the numbers clear

Draw attention to your address so buyers are confident they’re in the right place. Larger numbers, where architecturally appropriate, do their job artfully. If they’re small, make sure they’re in an easy-to-find location, not behind a bush.

2. Illuminate your address

House lighting becomes especially important when the days start getting shorter and it gets dark early. Make sure that your address is clearly visible by adding architecturally appropriate light fixtures to your home that illuminate your address.

Create an entry that wows in 3 easy steps

1. Amp up the hardscape

A vast expanse of concrete driveway greets buyers driving up to most homes. Often, a path takes off from the driveway toward the front entry. But you probably rarely use it.

You can immediately improve your curb appeal by power-washing all that concrete and dressing up the path. Staining the concrete, lining the walkway with low hedges or other plantings, or installing stone or brick borders, are all ways to quickly elevate the importance of the path that buyers will be treading.

2. Spruce up the entry

Evaluate everything from the porch light, doormat, seating and plants to the front door and its hardware. At minimum, everything needs to be cleaned or replaced. Make sure that the lock works and that the doorknob looks like a medic just signed off on its cleanliness. Themed seasonal decor doesn’t hurt.

Every window needs to sparkle, especially those at the entry. Renew every lightbulb near the entrance because the lower light of fall and winter often requires turning on the lights to welcome visitors on gloomy days. And they will burn out at the worst possible moment if they aren’t brand new.

3. Install decorative lighting

Restraint is essential where decorative lighting is concerned. But, done well, a pair of lighted evergreens flanking the front door, a candlelit lantern on a porch step, or a lighted seasonal wreath can extend a warm welcome right out to the street.

Applying these easy tips should ensure that your home looks its best all through the fall and into winter. And by using a professional REALTOR® you can ensure that your home sells quickly and for the best possible price.

— Inman News