One of the first things your real estate agent will discuss with you when giving you tips for selling your house is the importance of “curb appeal.” While that includes your front door, windows, exterior light fixtures, walkways, fencing, and your front deck or porch, it’s also all about your yard.
You may not be able to choose precisely when you put your house on the market. But as soon as you know you want to sell, you should start the outdoor work, preferably at least a month before you list the house and have an open house or book showings.
Here are a few tips on things you’ll want to tackle to make sure your home has enough curb appeal to get people in to view its interior.
Rent a Power Washer
Great for cleaning vinyl or brick siding, gutters, and paved surfaces, a weekend with a power washer is a great way to start the exterior clean up your home will need before you list it. As you clean the walkways, make note of any cracked or broken paving stones, and replace them.
Don’t forget to use the power washer on any birdbaths, water features, or small ponds you’ve created to wash away stains and lichens that may have started to sprout.
As you make your way around your home, check your exterior light fixtures and clear out the bugs that have collected in them and replace any burnt out lights.
Trim Shrubs and Trees
Now is the time to tackle low-hanging or damaged branches and shrubs that have overgrown the space allotted to them. It won’t just make the place look better, it will invigorate your trees and shrubs and force new growth in the direction you want to encourage it. If you have large trees that are beginning to encroach on power lines, consider hiring an arborist to do this work for you.
Invest in half a dozen paper yard waste bags and rake up any dead leaves and twigs. Most municipalities have yard waste collections or drop-off depots. Take advantage of them, and get rid of all your yard waste at once.
Unless you have perennials already planted at the base of your trees, consider investing in some top quality mulch instead of planting annuals later on. Invest in a few extra bags so you can top up the mulch once your house is listed. Cocoa mulch, if you can find it, is the husks of cocoa beans. When it’s fresh and shortly after it rains, you get the bonus of the lovely scent of chocolate spreading throughout your yard.
Remove Must-Have Perennials
If you have cherished perennials with a lot of sentimental value (bleeding heart, cherished rose bushes, or lily of the valley from your great-grandmother’s home), it’s better to remove them before showing the house. If you don’t have another place to plant them immediately, just put them in pots and make sure the pots are listed as an exclusion when negotiating a sale.
Invest in Annuals and Hanging Pots
Keeping a house immaculate while it’s listed for sale is enough work without constantly worrying about the exterior as well. This year, no matter what your usual garden plan is, invest in tons of long-blooming annuals and fill up all your garden beds with them. Spread mulch around them and you won’t have to weed.
Petunias and pansies are particularly nice because they come in so many different colors and bloom all summer long. Chicken and eggs are a good investment too, as they’ll expand to fill the space available to them and grow densely enough so there won’t be any weeds creeping in amongst them.
Depending on the timing, you can also invest in roll-out flower gardens, seeds embedded in biodegradable material. While germination should only take a week or two, most take five to six weeks for full bloom, so this solution might or might not work, depending on the season and how early you’re starting the garden spruce up before you plan to sell.
Lush hanging pots of flowers or some attractive tall planters filled with a variety of flowers and decorative grasses are always a nice touch too, and they’ll keep the focus on your entryway.
It goes without saying that you should ensure any patches of damaged lawn are reseeded as one of the first steps prior to selling. It will take a while for the grass to catch up to the rest of your lawn, but it will make a huge difference. A sad or patchy lawn plants a negative seed in potential buyers’ minds, making them wonder, “If they haven’t taken care of this, what else has been neglected?”
Try not to let that thought take hold. Your real estate agent may have other tips for selling your house that relate to the garden and exterior. Listen to them and do as much as you can. It will make a difference in the number and quality of offers you receive and the number of days your house is on the market.