Don't sabotage your home sale with outdoor
decor that turns buyers off before they've even walked through the door.
A car parked in the driveway tells potential
buyers that the house isn't big enough to store everything, so you had to put
the overflow in the garage and park your vehicle outside. It's also distracting
in online pictures.
Homes, like people, are often judged by the
company they keep, says Rick Hoffman, president and COO of Coldwell Banker
Residential Brokerage in San Diego County and Temecula Valley.
"Unfortunately, a home with a less-than-tidy next-door neighbor or an
adjacent vacant home lacking in the lawn care department can have a negative
effect on a potential homebuyer. It's worth the effort to politely ask for some
neighborly support in keeping their lawn mowed, or even offering to lend your
own elbow grease," he says.
Religious decor, lawn ornaments, kids' toys
scattered around or even piled up in a corner are a huge no-no, says Laura
Slyman, owner of Slyman Real Estate in Knoxville, Tenn. "Sometimes
homeowners will have outdoor landscaping that isn't cohesive with the rest of
the neighborhood or geographical area, like gravel in the garden in an area
where everyone else uses mulch," she says. "Instead of being unique,
it comes off as an eyesore."
Gardens may not look great out of season,
but you can spruce them up by getting rid of dead leaves and plants, says Paul
Brennesholtz, a Keller Williams real estate agent in Atlanta. "Whatever
you do, don't 'plant' artificial flowers," he warns. "They are the
epitome of tacky."
You've spent the last decade turning your
yard into a full-fledged garden, getting rid of grass little by little until
you had an entire lawn full of ornamentals, annuals and perennials. But your
dream garden may be a buyer's nightmare. Talk to your real estate agent about
how to make that lovely landscape appear to be low-maintenance.
The rusted-out carport, rotted wood shutters
and tattered awnings have been there so long your eyes just move right past
them, but buyers will notice, says David Kean, a real estate agent with The
John Aaroe Group in Beverly Hills. "Just getting rid of some outdated,
mismatched or dilapidated features of your home's exterior will drastically
improve the curb appeal for a minimal amount of effort and money," he
says. "Bear in mind that you might need to invest some elbow grease in the
form of patching and painting afterward."
Most homes have seen a bit of wear and tear,
so it's important to consider a fresh coat of paint — at least for certain
details like the front door and shutters. Opt for neutral colors — gray, black,
white and beige — rather than colors that are too personal or extreme — like
pink, purple or bright yellow, says Jennifer Ames, a Chicago-based Coldwell
Banker agent. "But add touches of color to avoid appearing too
sterile," she advises. That means a pop of red on the front door, or dark
blue shutters on a white house.