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."

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