Before you put your home on the market, there is an enormous amount of prep work to be done. While everyone's mind immediately goes to interior tasks, like decluttering knick-knacks, neutralizing paint colors, and packing away personal items, there are many jobs on the exterior of your home that need to be tended to as well. Depending on your climate, winter can mean snow, and lots of it. This does not mean, however, that potential buyers will not look carefully at the outside of your home. In fact, they may look a little closer. Taking the time to prepare the exterior for a sale this winter will mean the difference in how fast you sell, and for how much.
1. Snow: In the winter, snow removal is key to your success. If you don't bother to shovel the snow, no one will bother to get out of the car and take a look. In fact, a driveway covered in snow will probably mean that the buyers just drive right on by. Who wants to get stuck trying to maneuver in that? Likewise, an unshoveled front walk is just going to frustrate buyers as they are forced to trek through snow just to make it to the front door, especially if they did not come prepared with winter boots.
2. Gutters: Your home's gutters should have been cleaned out in the fall. Clogged gutters can lead to any variety of problems throughout the year. In fact, a home inspector will make note of the condition of your home's gutters on their report. If they are full of leaves and debris, the buyers will know. Hire someone to clean them out now, on the next warm or sunny day, to avoid any potential issues later.
3. Icicles: While these sparkling beauties may look pretty, they can cause a lot of damage to a home. In fact, anything larger in diameter than a pop can is more than likely part of an ice dam. Ice dams occur when your home's attic is improperly insulated. Simply knocking them down does not solve the problem; call in the professionals to address the situation before any potential buyers see your home.
4. Shutters: Stand outside your home and take a look at your shutters. Chances are you haven't really looked at them in a while. If they appear worn or one is missing, fix the problem. Nothing kills the curb appeal of a home faster than a shutter hanging precariously by just one screw.
5. Garage Door: Your garage door needs to not only look good, but it needs to work well. If your door has dents, get it repaired. If the paint is faded or flaking, replace it. You may not even pay attention to your garage door anymore, but a potential buyer notices everything. Likewise, when inside your home, someone is bound to push the button and attempt to raise the garage door. If it doesn't work, it will raise red flags instead.
6. Front Porch: Your front porch should be welcoming. Remove any dead leaves, cobwebs, or snow on a regular basis. If you can, stage the area to be even more welcoming by adding potted evergreens, a welcome mat, and a shiny, new brass porch light.
7. Doorbell: Last, but not least, your doorbell should function. It may seem minor, but when a buyer sees a note taped to the front door about a doorbell not working, it signals to them that your home is a fixer-upper. You are simply setting the wrong tone right off the bat, and that's not good for your bottom line.
Before putting our home on the market this winter, go to sites and take the time to make the outside of your home presentable, too. Everything from the garage door to the doorbell should look perfect.