Peggy Farber, CRS, CIPS, TRC - oldCape Sotheby’s International Real Estate


Creating just the right amount of curb appeal can be a delicate balance, but one thing's for sure: Many real estate agents firmly believe that it is the most important factor affecting how long a property remains on the market. That being the case, it's a phase of preparing your home for sale that you don't want to neglect or put on "the back burner."

If your home and property is in reasonably good condition, it may be possible to give it some extra eye-appeal without going overboard on the cost. Here are a few curb-appeal basics to consider as you get your house ready for the real estate market.

Painting: If it's been more than a few years since the outside of your home has been painted, it may be time to either repaint the entire exterior (which won't be cheap) or do some extensive "touching up." Sometimes, simply repainting window trim, shutters, and the front door can help visibly improve the overall appearance of your property. In general, peeling or fading paint will negatively impact the marketability of your home, so it's an issue worth addressing early on.

Power washing: A professional power-washing service can remove unsightly stains, layers of dirt, and discoloration from concrete surfaces, fences, roofs, garages, garage doors, and your home's exterior. One cautionary note about power washing: Applying too much water pressure can potentially cause damage to materials like loose roof shingles, older painted surfaces, crumbling concrete, old slate flooring, untreated wood, and aging fences. Special instructions may need to be given to workers and their manager, regarding delicate surfaces and the need to adjust water pressure accordingly.

Front porch: There are a lot of nice touches you can add to a front porch to make it look more inviting and visually appealing. In addition to making sure floors, steps, railings, windows, and furniture are immaculate, inexpensive upgrades, such as a new welcome mat, mailbox, and house numbers can also make a noticeable difference in the impression you create. Weather permitting, colorful potted or hanging flower baskets will enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property. As is the case with interior home staging, strategically arranging furniture can help prospective buyers imagine themselves relaxing on your porch and elsewhere in your house. That can be a key step in triggering their interest.

Landscaping: When your house is on the market, it's crucial to keep your lawn and shrubs looking manicured at all times. Any hint of overgrowth, dying trees, or weeds can send the wrong message to potential buyers about the quality and desirability of your home. Edging for lawns, flower beds, and sidewalks can often be a relatively inexpensive way to enhance the eye appeal of your property.

A seasoned real estate agent can provide you with more cost-effective ideas on sprucing up the outside of your house to attract prospective buyers.


Getting your house ready to be sold can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. Like any large project, though, if you take it one step at a time, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

The ideal scenario involves having everyone in the family pitch in to keep your house looking its best for each showing. When you divide the labor and work as a team, things get done a lot faster and more efficiently.

Keeping your lawn mowed, bushes trimmed, and house clean on a consistent basis are among the many challenges of always being ready for the next showing. Another common necessity involves applying a fresh coat of paint to walls and other surfaces. That relatively inexpensive step can help make your home look dramatically brighter, vibrant, and more appealing to prospective buyers.

One thing to keep in mind when preparing to put your home on the market is that you (the owner) are probably "too close to the trees to see the forest." In other words, you may be overly accustomed to the appearance, the imperfections, and the décor of your home to be able to identify what needs to be upgraded, fixed, or changed. An experienced real estate agent can help you develop a cost-effective plan for staging your home, enhancing curb appeal, and making necessary improvements to maximize your home's appeal and marketability.

There are dozens of inexpensive things you can do that often have a major impact on the impression you make on potential buyers. Having your carpets, upholstered furniture, and draperies professionally steam-cleaned, for example, can make a world of difference! So can adding a few colorful flower arrangements, inside and out. Lots of light -- both natural and artificial -- also helps make your home look more cheerful and inviting. Keeping your windows crystal clear is another way to make a positive impression, as well as cleaning out your closets to avoid a cluttered, unkempt look.

A few other critical things homeowners sometimes forget to do is clean up dog droppings in the yard, fix squeaky hinges, and remove visible mouse traps from the basement and garage -- especially if there are mice in them! The cleanliness of your cat's litter box is another major priority that can easily be overlooked.

Even the most meticulous, conscientious home sellers can forget to clean, prepare, or organize important things before potential house buyers come to visit, so it's useful to create checklists and routines to get ready for scheduled house showings.

While some homes pose more of a challenge than others when it comes to getting ready for real estate showings, the goal is to make the most of what you have, and do so within your available budget and timeframe.


"Motivation" could be defined as a positive energy that is applied to the achievement of a desired goal.

You may be wondering whether you, as a home seller, need to be motivated. The short answer is: "Yes! Your attitude and energy level can potentially make a huge difference in the sale of your home!"

In rare instances, the right buyer may show up at just the right time, without much effort on your part. However, when it comes to getting the best price for your house and selling it within the shortest period of time, you don't want to leave things to chance! The stakes are too high and the window of opportunity is too brief to depend on luck. Although there are several variables that are beyond your control -- such as market conditions, location, and time of year -- there are plenty of things you can do to increase the probability of a fast sale.

Choose a proactive real estate agent: The encouraging news is that there are many full-time real estate agents who are personable, focused, and results oriented. They know their business and they recognize the value of positive client relationships. However, all real estate agents are not created equal. Unless you're hiring a real estate agent based on a rock-solid recommendation from a trusted friend or relative, it's always best to interview at least two agents before making your final decision.

The real estate agent you ultimately work with will have a direct impact on many aspects of your home-selling experience, so it pays to choose carefully. Although a good rapport does go a long way toward a successful working relationship with an agent, it's vital to find one who's experienced, knowledgeable, and successful. Success is important because if they don't have a proven record of selling houses in your area -- especially ones in your price range -- then how can you be sure they'll market your home effectively?

Always put your best foot forward: One crucial thing house sellers do have control over is making a good impression. You rarely get a second chance to make a great first impression, so it's well worth your while to prioritize things like curb appeal, cleanliness, and home staging.

If there's anything about the appearance or functionality of your home that concerns you, you can be sure prospective buyers are also going to notice it. An experienced real estate agent will have a good sense of effective home staging, what might put off buyers, and how you can cost-effectively remedy problems.

Half the battle usually involves thoroughly cleaning your house, applying a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint where needed, and getting rid of clutter in and around all surfaces, including floors, countertops, walls, and storage areas. Although every situation is different, when it comes to furniture arrangement and room décor, "less is (usually) more!"




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