First appearances are everything, right? Well, when it comes to selling a home, curb appeal is a buzz word you’ll hear often. The reality is that your home’s exterior should be in tip-top shape no matter what time of year you sell, but if you want to stand out in the oft sluggish winter market, landscaping is the key. Let’s take a look at how the shape of your yard will make or break your winter home sale.
It’s a necessity
Sure, you have a long list of things to take care of before listing your home, but some items are optional. Guess what? Your property’s landscaping is non-negotiable. You must have your home’s exterior in order if you want to interest potential buyers. First impressions will be the difference between a lot of scheduled tours and crickets.
If you live in a temperate area devoid of harsh winter weather, groundskeeping is still of the utmost importance. One of the easiest DIY landscaping tips — and one that most people can take care of on their own — is bolstering the appearance of their flower beds. Ensure that your flower beds are cleared of leaves or other debris, and plant seasonal flowers for a well-maintained appearance. Any trees, bushes or shrubs should be carefully pruned for a tidy look.
If your yard is grassy, make sure to keep it trimmed, and if it’s looking patchy or sickly, consider a grass alternative to keep your yard looking well-maintained. Whether it’s planting succulents and filing with mulch or converting huge swaths to gravel or rock, a well-maintained yard is a must when your house is on the market.
Harsh winter climates
While homeowners in colder areas should still keep their trees and flower beds maintained, they have other wintertime worries: snow and ice.
For those of you in areas that get pounded with snow and sub-zero temperatures each winter, property maintenance will be your first priority. Make sure that the driveway and walkways are shoveled or cleared of snow, and that your gutters are tended to (you should have already taken care of leaf debris before the ice storms hit, but there’s no time like the present).
If you’ve already moved to a new home and your property is vacant, hire a snow removal company or ask a neighbor to tend to snow and ice in your absence. The last thing you want is for a potential buyer to arrive at your home, only to see it snowed-in, vacant, and untended.
Regardless of climate, if you live in the lower 48, you want to make sure that your property is well-lighted. Not only does a well-lit house exude comfort and safety, but it also gives the place a warm and homey feeling for potential buyers. Many buyers will only be able to tour homes after work, which means they’ll be seeing your home in the waning daylight hours or twilight. Well-lighted paths and warm light emanating from windows create popular curb appeal.
If your home has a unique exterior — such as brick or river rock — consider placing spotlights in the beds to illuminate your house. Another ideal spotlight placement is on any ornamental trees you may have in your yard, so their beauty doesn’t get lost in the dark of winter.
While well-placed lighting is great at creating a comfortable and welcoming feel to your home, adding color in what are usually drab months can have a similar effect. Plant seasonal plants in your beds — that includes those of you in cold climates, too! Think holly bushes with deep green leaves and bright red berries, ornamental cabbage with purple hues, winter jasmine for a pop of yellow, or dogwood for slashes of red.
At the most basic level, you want your home’s exterior to appear maintained and welcoming. Paying careful attention to the exterior is the best way to get potential buyers to explore the interior and nail that winter home sale!