There is nothing worse than pulling into a driveway with qualified buyers, only to have them refuse to get out of the car because they don't like the house!  People sure do judge a book by it's cover!  

     On occasion, I've been able to cajole buyers into a house over their protests.  Usually, I set the rules of the game before we even get in the car..."I made an appointment, these sellers prepared for your showing and vacated their house, so we WILL look at it, even if it's just our of courtesy for their efforts."  

     Most agents are unarmed when they are showing property, so they can't force someone at gunpoint to look at a house when the outside is not attractive!  First impressions are really important!

 So, if you are getting your home ready for the market, start by standing out in front of your home...What's more appealing...this?

or maybe this?

(sometime soon I'll talk about the importance of good photography, and how framing a front shot so that more than half of the picture is NOT of the pavement in front of the house is probably a good idea.  But, I digress...)

So, here are some quick and easy guidelines, rules, regulations,decrees, or ultimatums, ...for staging the exterior of your home.

1.  Shrubs and landscaping should ENHANCE, not hide, the home! 

2.  Tree limbs should be far enough from the ground that you can walk under them without putting your eye out!

3.  Flowerbeds should be clean and look good in ALL seasons, with a sharp edge, free of leaves and debris.  

4.  The lawn should be mowed and neatly edged.

5.  Overseed any bare or thin spots in your lawn.

6. Arrange for a lawn company to keep your lawn deep green and weed free.

7.  Mulch...mulch...mulch...no matter the season

8.  Remove all trash cans, scraps, and trash.  Restack wood piles, and remove all storage containers, children's toys, and any other unnecessary objects.

9.  Make all windows spotless.  This includes frames around the windows, sills and shutters.

10.  Paint or clean ornamental fences, light posts, and railings.

11.  Clean all outside light fixtures inside and out.

12.  Open up and clear any pathways to other amenities on your property, including trimming low hanging branches.

13.  Repair cracks in the driveway and sidewalks.  Caulk is your friend...

14.  Clean gutters and paint or wash trim if necessary.

15.  Consider an exterior power washing.

16.  If you think your front door could use a coat of paint, you are right!  At the very least, clean the door and hardware.  Make sure your doorbell works and that it is not cracked or broken.

17.  Keep your front porch swept.

18.  Have an attractive welcome mat for people to wipe their feet on.

19.   Make sure the mailbox is clean and rust free.

20.  If  you have outdoor furniture, make sure it is clean and inviting, and someplace someone would actually like to sit!

I know that this list seems long and maybe even the work of someone with a severe case of OCD.  The fact is that when sellers take the time and trouble to tackle this list, their homes sell quickly, and usually for the highest price possible.  And in my experience, the entire transaction goes smoothly.  

I'll give you some time to get this done, and next time we'll work on general inside appeal!  Have fun!