Easy Steps to Curb Appeal

Realtors know that spiffed-up homes sell faster and for more money, so they sometimes recommend hiring a staging company to spruce them up. But all it takes, really, to vastly improve the look of a home going on the market is some elbow grease, serious decluttering and fresh color. Curb appeal is what gets potential buyers through your front door. With a list of homes to look at and limited time, some buyers won’t even get out of the car to see a home that is unappealing from the outside. Making your home’s exterior enticing provides a great first impression and allows buyers to assume that the inside is just as attractive as the outside. here’s how:

LANDSCAPE
• Prune obstructing foliage so buyers can see the front of the house when they pull up. Trim large shrubs for a neat appearance.
• Be sure the house numbers are large and completely visible from the street.
• Weed, rake up dead foliage and debris, and remove ugly or sick plants.
• Mulch flowerbeds with fresh hemlock bark and plant colorful, long-flowering annuals. Use pansies and primroses for spring, geraniums and marigolds for summer, bedding dahlias and mums for fall, and evergreen ornamental grasses, dwarf conifers or flowering kale for winter.
• Weed, mow and edge the lawn.
• Pack up lawn ornaments except for a single birdbath orthe like.

CLEAN UP
• Pressure wash or hand-scrub to remove dirt and moss from the house, porch, decks, stairs, sidewalks, roof and driveway.
• Wash patio furniture, light fixtures, windows and doors, and your mailbox.
• Is your porch light working? Install new bulbs if needed.
• Remove front door and porch decorations such as wind chimes and banners The porch should look spare and uncluttered, with perhaps one or two chairs or a patio set. Remove any unmatched furnishings. add fresh cushions to the remaining furniture.
• Polish front-door hardware.
• Put the grill in the garage.
• Put garbage, recycling and yard debris bins out of sight.
• Remove rundown play structures or sheds.

ADD COLOR
•Paint the house a neutral color with white trim if the old paint looks tired or is peeling.
• Paint or stain the front door.
• Choose a few large, colorful pots that complement your home’s exterior colors and fill them with blooming plants.
• If you have a large, bungalow-style porch, add a hanging basket.
• Place a fresh, neutral welcome mat at the door.

Portland freelance writer Jan Behrs specializes in stories about gardeners, gardens, remodeling and real estate. a master gardener, her work appears in the Oregonian, Better Homes and Gardens and online.

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