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The ultimate curb appeal checklist for home sellers

Curb appeal seller's checklist

Whether you’re looking to attract buyers online or in-person, curb appeal is one of the most important things a home seller can master. It’s common to believe that curb appeal is meant to make a home shine, but the real goal is to draw the buyer from the curb to the front door. The best mentality for a buyer to have is, “I hope this property is as amazing inside as it is on the outside.”

Here are insights you can use to add curb appeal to your Minnesota or western Wisconsin home, plus a quick checklist you can follow before you list your property. Follow #SellerInsights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for more ideas on home staging, negotiating through multiple offers as a seller and more.

Curb appeal sellers checklist

Home maintenance and cleaning

When it comes to maintenance, we recommend starting from the top down. If your roof is sagging or will bring down the overall appeal of the home in photographs or in person, you may want to consider replacing it. Otherwise, you can replace shingles and make sure that any leaks or gaps are filled in. Don’t forget to clean and straighten your gutters, too.

Let’s move down to the siding of the home. Start by washing the exterior of the home, either with a pressure washer (be sure to keep the pressure gauge low near windows) or with a hose, pressure sprayer and scrub brush. Once you’ve removed the dirt and debris, you can determine whether the home needs a new paint job or if you can get by with freshening up a few trouble spots.

Wash every window on the exterior and the interior. The best way to get streak-free windows is to nix the paper towels and use crumpled up newspapers instead.

Repaint the trim, shutters and the railings of the front porch or deck. Nearly every home will benefit from painting these surfaces, and it’s much cheaper and less time-consuming than redoing the siding of the house.

Last, look at the walkways and driveway to determine whether they just need some holes and cracks patched, or if they need to be completely redone. Here’s a great tutorial from This Old House on how to renew concrete surfaces that have seen better days.

Landscaping and yard work

The goal of curb appeal is to draw a buyer’s eye from their car to the front door of the home, and great landscaping can do just that. Look first at the walkway (not driveway) of the home. Drawing attention to the walk up to the home is the most important thing to keep in mind when landscaping for curb appeal.

Whether the walkways are short or long, be sure to use in-ground plants and solar LED lights to help them shine in daylight or at night. The landscaping grand finale should include plenty of plants at the home’s front entrance, whether they are in-ground or in pots or (freshly painted) window boxes.

Of course, we don’t want to forget about the foundation of your front yard. If your lawn is mostly grass, be sure to fill in any problem areas with new sod, water your lawn to keep it lush and mow it often. If you have a lot of mulch, be sure to get rid of the old stuff and replace it. Be sure to pack it tightly around your existing plants for even coverage.

The finishing touches

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the fun part! The final details are usually the most exciting and cost-effective updates for homeowners.

It’s undeniable that a new front door is the best curb appeal update you can take on. Not only will it likely recoup 105 percent of the cost at resale, it will change the entire vibe of your home’s exterior. Consider painting it a complementary bright color to really give it an extra pop.

Does your home’s front walkway or porch have room for a seating area? Seating is another great way to draw attention to the home, so look into new benches, porch swings or casual chairs to showcase how great the home is for entertaining or relaxing. Adding outdoor cushions, lanterns and small side tables will also help the space look more inviting.

Last, look at the fixtures  all of them. It’s common for homeowners to replace fixtures only when they break, which results in a hodgepodge of looks. Sync the exterior look by purchasing new doorbells, doorknockers, house numbers, mailboxes or mail slots and outdoor light fixtures that match or go well together. If your home’s vibe is modern, you can get away with mixing and matching, while more traditional homes will benefit from a set that is in the same finish.

Prioritizing your updates

No one understands curb appeal like the local real estate agents who show homes every day. The list above is exhaustive, but your home may be able to sell with fewer updates if it’s in great condition or in a popular area. To get local insights on the curb appeal you’ll need to sell your home, reach out today and we’ll connect you with a neighborhood specialist who can guide you through the process.

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Status Definitions

For Sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active Contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings