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Creating Curb Appeal
and Proper Property Presentation
(Part 2)

Painted/Finished Surfaces
The first consideration always seems to be paint or no paint. If there is any chipped or pealing paint, it’s a no-brainer – scrap, sand and paint. If the texture of the paint looks good up close, let’s take a farther look. Step back, go across the street, does the paint still look vibrant? Does the paint look uniform and even? If not, fresh paint is probably the best answer. We already know fresh paint is a good investment and really spruces up the appearance of a house and adds to the curb appeal. When choosing a color, a light neutral color is best – a color that fits well in the neighborhood. You want buyers to feel they are buying a home that blends in, not sticks out.

Also consider deck and railing surfaces. Wood decks and railings should give the appearance of being well maintained. Especially vulnerable are the horizontal surfaces where water has a chance to collect and wear on the wood finish. One of the best solutions is a maintenance-free, synthetic covering on horizontal surfaces.
Metal railings in basement ways and porches often get forgotten. If there are any rough spots, they should be sanded add painted. You may be able to get away with spot painting but only if the paint is out of the same can as the original paint.

The Roof
While you are across the street, take a good look at your roof – you may even want to take binoculars or field glasses to have a close look. Is there anything in the roof’s appearance that would concern a prospective buyer? Is so, it’s better to realize it now and have it corrected or at least show that you are aware of it and have the answer ready to relieve the buyer’s concerns. If you know your roof leaks, fix it – if it is old and leaky, replace it. If you do not replace it, you have to disclose it and the buyer will possibly want the roof replaced anyway. If you do not know of any leaks but the roof just looks worn or rough, it is probably best to wait to see if and/or what the home inspection reveals. Why spend any money unless you have to?

The Back Yard
The back yard is no less a showcase than the front yard. It is often an area that offers more privacy and security for the homeowner. (A flashback: curb appeal is based on the view from the front curb right up to and in the front door. Curb appeal is important because it gets potential buyers to stop and look closer.) Fact: The buying family will spend much more recreational/personal time in the back yard than in the area of curb appeal out front. Fine, now we have a perspective.


This outdoor area will be the buyer’s primary outside area. It must show neat and clean. Some guidelines:

  • The grass should be freshly cut and edged (and as much as possible, should resemble carpet) for showings.
  • If you have a pool, in season keep it fresh, crystal clear and inviting.
  • If you have pets or visiting wildlife, be sure to constantly keep the area clear of "debris."
  • If you have swing sets or anything elaborate toys for your kids, it probably makes more sense to remove them now unless they convey with the property. If they convey, they should be safe and in good working order. Your REALTOR® should be able to explain and safeguard you from liability.
  • Also consider (if you do have elaborate toys for your kids) they tend to take up space and you want your yard to appear as spacious as possible. Food for thought – should it convey or should it go?

The Front Door & Entryway
This is where club appeal ends and the buyer starts to get a closer look. We want the entrance to be inviting and to convey the message “welcome to your new home.” That message might be difficult for the buyers to pick up on if you have your family name on the door knocker, a plaque or even the mailbox. Do what you can to depersonalize the front of the house.

  • The front doorway (the door, door frame, threshold, door mat) should be especially neat and clean. All fixtures (door knob, door knocker, hinges, light fixtures, all glass) should be cleaned/polished and be squeaky clean.
  • The front door is almost magical: If it needs repainting or refinishing, do it.
  • Be sure the door swings freely without the squeaks of a Halloween haunted house.
  • Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. Your key may work fine but does the one that you just had cut work as well? Test all new keys.
    Next: What's Next?

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