5 Budget-friendly tips for prepping your yard and home exterior for sale

With Spring finally here in Seattle (don’t look out the window just yet though), more people will be putting their home on the market.  And despite it being a seller’s market with a lot of Seattle homes getting multiple offers, you still shouldn’t slack off on curb appeal as it might just make that difference to the one buyer who is willing to go the extra mile on their offer.   With that said, here are the most cost-effective tips on getting your yard and home exterior ready for a spring sale:

1. Clean out your gutters & remove roof moss.  You can easily pay someone to do this, or depending on your confidence level and roof pitch you might want to get up there yourself.  Admit it, you slacked off in the winter and didn’t get your gutters cleaned.  No one is going to see it anyway, right?  Wrong. With a lot of spring rain, buyers will easily see rainwater spilling out over places it shouldn’t because your gutter is all clogged up from the fall and winter.  They’ll notice moss too – which is common where we live, but can make a person wonder how well the roof has been maintained overall.

2. Choose season-appropriate plants for flowerbeds & pots.  It’s fantastic that you currently have 100 daffodils blooming in your front yard – but when you put your home on the market next month, those daffodils will all be long dead and you’ll just have leaves and nothingness.   Likewise, don’t plant something now that won’t flower until later in the summer.  Your best bet is to find flowers that are going to be current for the time period that the home is being listed – so that you have color, and not just leaves, during the Open House.

3. Make the yard low-maintenance.  Although you may end up with a buyer that’s an avid gardener, chances are they’re going to be stressed out around move-in time and won’t want to get right to it.  Or, they may just not like yard work at all – make your yard as maintenance-free as possible; perennials that take care of themselves, bushes that don’t need extensive pruning on a regular basis, and nothing that grows large roots too close to the house that an inspector might see as a problem.

4. Repair dog damage.  I have a dog, and thus I have bare patches in my backyard from, well, pee, and a hole in one corner that she insists she keeps digging, and I don’t mind because I love her.   But there’s a good chance the new buyers of your home might not share your affection for pets.  About two to three weeks before listing is a good time to curb your dogs habits a little.  Restrict where he can go to the bathroom so that grass starts to repair itself.  Don’t allow digging, and look for other noticeable damage they generally cause.  While yards usually find a way to mend themselves once a dog is gone, buyers without pets may see the aftermath and wonder if there’s more damage inside the home that isn’t totally visible – and that can turn some people off.

5. Check all exterior lighting and buy a new welcome mat.   Someone might want to see your house at dusk – make sure all the outdoor light bulbs are working an clear cobwebs and dirt from your porch light so it’s welcoming – and make sure to flip the lights on when you leave for an evening showing (or just a showing in gray weather).  A new front door mat for $15 goes a long way in making a first impression.

When you combine these five tricks with the usual suspects: weeding, painting or repairing the fence and gates, exterior window washing where reachable – you should have a house exterior that shows curb appeal and attracts a new and excited owner!


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