Getting Your Home Ready
The Exterior of the House
Most real estate agents advice tells you to work on the outside of the house first, but unless there is a major project, we believe it is best to do it last. There are two main reasons for this. First, the first steps in preparing the interior of the home are easier. They also help develop the proper mindset required for selling - beginning to think of your "home" as a marketable commodity. Second, the exterior is the most important. A homebuyer's first impression is based on his or her view of the house from the out side in the their car or the real estate agent's car.
So take a walk across the street and take a real good look at your house. Look at nearby houses, too, and see how yours compares to theirs.
Is your landscaping at least average for the neighborhood? If it is not, buy a few plants & bushes and plant them. Do not plant mature trees. Mature trees are expensive, and you will not get back your money that you put into them. Also, immature trees do not really add much to the appearance and value of your home. If you have an area for flowers, buy mature colorful flowers and plant them. They add a touch of vibrancy and color, creating a favorable first impression. Do not buy bulbs or seeds and plant them. They take to long grow enough to create the desired effect you want and you certainly don't want a patch of brown earth for homebuyers to view.
Your lawn should be evenly cut, and well maintained, and well watered, and free of brown spots. If there are any problems with your lawn, you should probably take care of them before working on the inside of your home. This is because certain areas may need to be reseeded, and you want to give it a good chance to grow so the reseeded areas are not immediately apparent. Plus, you might want to give fertilizer enough time to be effective.
NOTE: Always rake up loose leaves and grass cuttings, it makes the lot look better to home buyer's
The big decision is whether to paint or not to paint. When you look at your home from across the street, does it look old and faded? If so, a paint job may be in order. It is often a good investment and really spruces up the appearance of your home, adding dollars to offers from potential homebuyers.
When choosing a color, it should not be something real bright and unusual, but a color that fits well in your neighborhood. Of course, the color also depends on the style of your house, too. For some reason, different shades of yellow seem to elicit the best response in homebuyers, whether it is in the trim or the basic color of the house.
As for the roof, if you know your home has really old shingle and leaks you should replace it. If you do not replace a leaky roof, you are going to have to disclose it and the buyer will want a new roof, anyway. Otherwise, wait and see what the building inspector says. Why spend money unnecessarily?
The Back Yard
The back yard should be neat. If you have a pool, keep it freshly maintained and constantly cleaned. For those that have pets that use the back yard, be sure to constantly keep the area clear of "debris." If you have anything elaborate for your kids in the back yard, like an old swing set that is real old looking it probably makes more sense to remove it than to leave it there. They take up room, and you want your back yard to appear as spacious as possible, especially in newer homes where the lot might not be as large anyway.