Lori Madden's Blog
No doubt about it, one of the joys of home-ownership is making your abode reflect your personality. You’ve added an accent feature here and faux finishes there, trendy geometric shutters and some personal landscaping art reflect your funky nature.
You thought this was your forever home and didn’t worry about what anyone else might think about it … but now, you’re moving on and you’re worried your expressive nature might derail your home sale. Take a moment to assess which of your personal touches should stay with the house and which ones might detract from a potential buyer.
Exterior colors: Many newer communities have color requirements for a home’s exterior, so as long as your home falls in line with the requirements, you won’t need to make any changes. In older neighborhoods, however, there may be no such restrictions. If yours is a particularly bright or stand-out color, you may want to tone it down to blend in more with your neighbors. A better option for attracting buyers includes an exterior free of mold and stains and freshly painted trim. While painted brick is all the rage on home renovation shows, if your brick is not painted, just make sure it is clean. If it is painted, but the paint is tired, chipped or faded, consider giving it a new coat.
Exterior décor: Trendy patio hangings, gazing balls, gnomes and birdbaths added to the pleasure you took in enjoying your outdoor space. A buyer with a simpler aesthetic might find these additions distracting. A better option for attracting buyers is curb appeal based on clean landscaping, perennial plants, and flora that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. This provides a cleaner canvas for the new buyer’s personal creativity. You can express your personality with a brightly painted front door, an easy fix for a homebuyer to change.
Overgrown landscaping: Depending on the age of your home, and the length of time you’ve lived there, the landscaping may need to be scaled back. Larger trees that have grown up near the foundation may cause potential buyer concerns about the costly foundation and structural repairs. Brick walls covered in ivy are beautiful but may make a buyer wonder about what’s hidden under all those leaves. Consult with an arborist about trimming back trees and if you have concerns about the foundation, get it inspected to avoid any nasty contingencies at closing time.
Water features: Of course, some locations demand a pool for summer entertaining, while in other areas a pool or hot tub is entirely optional. It doesn’t make any sense to fill in an in-ground pool unless it no longer functions, but above-ground pools can detract from a sale. Hot tubs in less-than-pristine condition can give some buyers pause, while Koi ponds, fountain and other water features may either enhance or detract from your buying demographic. Check with your real estate professional to see what is true in your area.
Try to walk around the exterior of your home with a critical eye:
- Do some fencing panels need replacing? Gate hinges?
- Check the exterior knobs. Do they all match? Are they keyed the same?
- Are windows cracked or do any have broken seals—do they have condensation inside when the temperatures outside and inside differ?
- Carriage and porch lights often get neglected. While you may not need to replace them, make certain they are clean and functional.
Ask a professional for guidance with questions about the exterior appeal of your home and the best practices for your home's future sale.