Making a good first impression outside will entice homebuyers to want to see what’s inside the home that’s on the market. That’s why one of the first things a home seller should do when preparing their home for sale is go stand out by the curb and take in the sights of their home’s exterior and front yard. What do you see? If it's not eye-appealing chances are buyers will pass your home and never turn back.

Walking through different neighborhoods it’s unbelievable how many homes, whether represented by an agent or not, have For Sale signs in the yard with overgrown grass, dead flowers beds, crumbling stoops and the home’s exterior missing pieces of roof shingles or siding.

[See: 12 Home Improvement Shortcuts That Are a Bad Idea.]

The impression these sellers, even these real estate agents, are suggesting is neglect, abandonment and unwillingness to put the buyer’s feelings first. If you want a buyer to respond positively to your home and make an offer than you need to assess the space as a buyer would and make improvements that reflect your sales price.

Start with these seven tips to impress buyers outside regardless of how much time or money you actually have before hitting the market.

Update Structural Issues. Consider updating projects that will make a big impact on the look and resale value of the home. Repairs like, roofing, siding and replacing windows are not only considered a cosmetic improvement, but can enhance the structural integrity of the home. According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for 2016, a homeowner can recoup more than 70 percent of the cost of these projects.

Leaving repairs undone could cause water damage, pest infestation and mold, which will be revealed during a home inspection and could devalue your home.

Fix Minor Repairs. If you don’t have the budget to make structural upgrades, then consider what minor repairs can improve the exterior. Small fixes can include cleaning or replacing gutters. Patch up the driveway or concrete walkways. Repaint the front door, fence or any other wood exterior to give it a fresh surface.

[See: 10 Ways to Save Energy and Reduce Utility Bills at Home.]

Pressure Wash All Surfaces. Your home’s exterior can accumulate a lot of dust, grime, even mildew over the years. In order to make the exterior look like new, pressure wash the siding, concrete, vinyl fences, decking and any other surfaces that have lost their luster over time. Beware, though, that a pressure washer can be powerful enough to remove paint, so be careful.

Clean Up Landscaping. Remove dead debris and cut back overgrown shrubs. Add colorful flowers, plants with varying heights and mulch into the flowerbeds. Make sure the flowerbeds frame out the exterior of your home so they become an extension of the structure.

Add Potted Plants. Welcome buyers with colorful flowers or topiaries near the front door to add some life to this hardscape. Try to have at least two matching planters on either side of the door or if you don’t have enough space on your porch, use one larger planter in a corner and consider adding two other planters at varying heights in the same corner to create a statement.

Install New Hardware. Check your house numbers, lighting fixtures, doorknobs and mailbox to see if you could benefit from new hardware. These quick fixes are not only easy to install, but are cost effective and instantly make the area around your door stand out. Just make sure all the hardware is the same material.

[See: Weird Home Features That May Confuse Homebuyers.]

Accessorize Your Porch. This is the final step when dressing up your home’s exterior. Add accessories like a seasonal wreath, a new doormat and a seating area around your front door to invite buyers into your home.

Don’t forget to accessorize other areas in your yard that could impress buyers. Consider updating an outdoor living or dining area with new throw pillows, cushions or a rug. Think about adding more light to define and enhance the space or even add a fireplace to set the mood that buyers can enjoy this area under the stars even on cool nights.

Tags: housing market, existing home sales, home improvements


Tori Toth is a best-selling author, DIY and lifestyle expert, award-winning home stager and lifestyle authority. She can show anybody how to add more value to their home by giving the tools needed to prepare and showcase any home for sale. She works with consumers, real estate agents, or anybody else who wants to make their home look its best quickly and easily. Home staging is a strategic marketing tool for the biggest return on investment of a home, focusing on renovation and creative design. By creating a lifestyle that buyers will find aspirational, Tori Toth will demonstrate methods of rearranging, organizing and in many cases, adding or editing furniture and home décor. The best, clearest, most helpful information of how to stage a home with and be an immediate success can be found in Tori’ best-selling book "Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell."

Recommended Articles

Best Places to Live for Quality of Life

Devon Thorsby | April 19, 2019

These metro areas offer the best education, access to health services and crime rates.

Why Spring Is the Perfect Time to Sell

Devon Thorsby | April 17, 2019

Spring is here and interest rates are low – it's a great time to make the most of eager buyers.

Home Selling: Real Estate Team vs. Agent

Dima Williams | April 17, 2019

Solo agents are an industry standard, but teams offer a novel alternative. Here's what sets the two arrangements apart.  

The Priciest Repairs for Homebuyers

Lisa Larson | April 16, 2019

Avoid the repairs that will cost you the most before you move in with a sharp eye and the right inspections.

The Best Places to Live in New York

Devon Thorsby | April 12, 2019

Find out where in the Empire State you'll find the best opportunities.

What’s Dragging Down Your Home's Value?

Devon Thorsby | April 10, 2019

Find out why your home isn't worth as much as you think.

Do Home Value Estimate Tools Work?

Teresa Mears, Devon Thorsby | April 10, 2019

Homeowners now have more control over how home value estimates are calculated.

DIY Projects That Add Value to Your Home

Mady Dahlstrom | April 10, 2019

These are the home improvement projects that will add value to your home when selling.

Are These New Hot Spots Too Expensive?

Devon Thorsby | April 9, 2019

In places where net migration is highest, housing costs are rising fast.

The Best Affordable Places to Live 2019

Devon Thorsby | April 9, 2019

When it comes to housing costs, these metro areas allow your paycheck to go further.

The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Devon Thorsby | April 9, 2019

These metro areas offer the best combination of jobs, desirability, cost of living, quality of life and more.

Why a Real Estate Agent's Advice Works

Steven Gottlieb | April 8, 2019

The advice your real estate agent offers can help you close the right deal to buy or sell your home.

Selling Your House in a Buyer's Market

Wendy Arriz | April 2, 2019

Five steps to ensure the right buyer sees your home.

Climate Change May Impact Home Values

Geoff Williams | March 29, 2019

With sea level rise accelerating, waterfront real estate values could be revalued sooner than you think.

How to Make Your Open House Memorable

Sally Forster Jones | March 28, 2019

How to prepare your home for a day of showings that will make buyers want to put in an offer.

What Is a BPO in Real Estate?

Devon Thorsby | March 20, 2019

Here's what to know about a broker price opinion, how it's calculated and if you should get one.

Are You Ready To Buy a Home?

Wendy Arriz | March 19, 2019

For the millennial generation, homeownership can still be intimidating. Here's what you should consider before making an offer.

Decorate Your Apartment on the Cheap

Devon Thorsby | March 15, 2019

A short lease doesn't mean you can't make your apartment feel like home.

What Data Points Tell You About Housing

Dima Williams | March 14, 2019

From home prices and sales to construction and mortgage rates, these are the real estate gauges to watch.

The Best Places to Live in California

Devon Thorsby | March 13, 2019

See how 12 metro areas in California compare to each other.