Monday, November 3, 2014

Cold Weather Curb Appeal

The frenzy of the spring and summer markets is wearing down and there are fewer buyers and sellers negotiation deals in these cold fall and winter months.  Which is why it is more important than ever to be diligent on the appearance of your house if you still have yours on the market.

Curb appeal is what gets people in the door to discover all the wonderful things your home has to offer. If you're lacking on curb appeal, even if the rest of your home is stellar, that one thing could make a potential buyer walk. So follow these tips on giving your home great presence in these cold fall and winter months.

Safety First


No matter how cute your home is when people drive by, if no one can get to your front door, then you've lost them.  Keep your driveway and front walk and entry free of leaves, snow and ice.

Paint NOW


Yes, the weather is getting colder but there are still a few days here and there above 50 degrees F which is the magic number you need to be above to paint outside.  Touch up your trim, add stain/paint to faded areas of your siding, and consider painting your front door a bright, bold color so that it stands out in the drab gray days of winter.

Tidy Up Your Landscape


Get those fall maintenance tasks done a little early.  Trim back your bushes, remove faded and dead foliage from your perennials, mow your lawn one last time and gather up all the leaves.  Do this periodically until there's snow on the ground.

Plant Evergreens


Here in Minnesota, deciduous trees that have no leaves can look fairly bleak.  Consider investing in a few well-placed evergreen trees and bushes to give your winter landscape some color and density.  The birds will love you for it and so will your house, especially if you plant some as a wind break on the north western side of your house.

Clean Your Gutters


Potential buyers are going to go over every minute detail of your home.  So be sure to clean your gutters out before the leaves freeze in place.  Let people know that you have kept this home in tip top shape with regular maintenance.

Decorate In Moderation


Pull out the gangly, almost dead annuals from your pots.  In the fall, consider planting chrysanthemums and an assortment of dried flowers and leaves.  Then after Thanksgiving, remove some of the fall-like elements and replace with spruce tips and pine boughs.  Decorate your mailbox to give it a special touch.  When Christmas time rolls around, tastefully decorate the outside of your home but leave the giant inflatables for another year.  A few strings of lights and some pine boughs or wreaths are all you need for tasteful Christmas decorations.


 Pay Attention To Lighting


During the fall and winter months, your home spends way more time in the dark.  For this reason, you'll need to pay special attention to the lighting of your home when people come to a walk-thru after work or decide to do a drive by one evening.  Your house should look just as inviting in the dark as it does during the day.

Have your outdoor lights on at sunset every night that your house is on the market so that someone can actually see what your home looks like.  Have a few indoor lights on a timer to give that warm glow from the windows, even if you're not home.  Have the walk up to your home well lit with path lighting.  And consider highlight some of your trees and shrubs with some landscape lighting.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

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