Beyond Curb Appeal: Staging the Exterior of Your Home To Sell

They say first impressions are important – and the exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see. That’s why staging the exterior of your home is just as important as staging the interior. Here is our project list for getting the outside of your house ready beyond just curb appeal.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Repairs

The first thing you need to ask when getting your home ready to sell is if there are any obvious repairs that need to take place.  Walk around your house with a critical eye.  Look at the paint, trim, siding, roof, window casings, doors, foundation – is there anything that looks old, chipped, damaged or rough?

Sometimes when staging the exterior of your home it helps to stand back at the street and look from the point of view of a buyer that might be driving by.  What can they see?  Where are the rough spots? What are the best features of your home that you want to highlight?

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Pressure Wash Surfaces & Wash Windows

Homes collect dust, grime, dirt and pollution.  Your house may look like it needs a coat of exterior paint, but it *may* just be dirty!  When staging the exterior of your home, removing the layers of dirt from your house and driveway and walkways will make it look fresh and new again.

When staging the exterior of your home you should even look at cleaning any patio furniture and potted plants – they get dusty too.

You can DIY a pressure wash, but it might be worth your time to hire a professional.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home: Fix Any Pet Damage

One important aspect of staging the exterior of your home is fix any damage caused by your dog!  You may love your dog – but the next owner of your house won’t want to deal with any yard problems.

Some things to look for:

  • Scratched fencing, scratched wood on the deck or scratches on the back door
  • Bare patches in your lawn or dead grass
  • Holes dug in the garden

Ideally, there should be no sign of your dog (or cat) when prospective buyers come to call.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home:  Think Green

During the summer, greenery makes all the difference.  Make sure that the front lawn is green, weeded and trimmed.  Flower beds should  be manicured and freshly planted and weed-free.   No one wanted to move in and feel like they have instantly have weeding to do.  Finally, adding some potted plants to the porch is a nice touch and a way to go the extra mile.

 

Staging the Exterior of Your Home:  Little Touches

A few extra touches will make a BIG impact:

  • Replace or refresh the hardware on the door
  • Make sure that any fountains, fire pits or spot lights are turned on
  • Make sure that blinds or shads look clean and well cared for
  • Refresh your home address signage – make the numbers big and easy to see from the street
  • Leave your lights on at night – it allows people to drive by and see the house in its *ahem* best light in the evening

 

Some additional resources:

 

 

Three Questions to Ask A Contractor – Before Your Hire Them

Need a contractor?  Here are the 3 questions to ask a contractor BEFORE you sign a contract!

As a homeowner, hiring a contractor to do work on your home can be stressful and time consuming. A lot can go wrong. To help you, here are our top 3 questions to ask a contractor that you may not have considered.  These questions will help you save some time and energy in finding a contractor that is the best fit for you.

1.  Ask to talk to references

Our number one on the list of questions to ask a contractor is: Ask for references.  And reviews on Yelp or Houzz don’t count.  Ask to speak to someone on the phone that your contractor did work for in the past year.  A reputable contractor will be more than willing to let you talk to a satisfied customer.

Some things to discuss:

  • What type of work did this contractor do for you?
  • What was your experience with your contractor?  Did they deliver on the agreed upon work?
  • Were they able to stick to project timelines or did they communicate about any unanticipated delays?
  • Did they stick to the budget or discuss any unexpected expenditures or overtime?
  • How would you rate the quality of their work?
  • Would you hire them again?

While you are at it, you can ask to see photos, portfolios or do drive-bys (for exterior or landscaping) of their work.

 

2.  Ask About Payment

Another one of our questions to ask a contractor is all about the money.  Always get a clear (written!) answer on payment and the fee schedule.  It is good to get full clarity on payment BEFORE the work starts.

Some things to ask about:

  • Do you require a deposit?  How much
  • Who pays for materials and supplies?
  • When is final payment due?  Is it when you finish the work, within 30 days, etc.
  • How do you invoice? Is the invoice itemized?
  • What forms of payment do you accept?

Estimate vs. Quote?

Another question you will want to ask: Is this an estimate or is it a firm quote?  Keep in mind that an estimate is just a guess based on what they think a job might cost.  A firm quote is much more definite (assuming of course there are no major surprises or add-ons to the job).  Again, be sure to specify and get all quotes in writing.

 

3.  Ask to See Their Credentials

Another one of our questions to ask a contractor has to do with making sure they can safely provide you with the services you need.

Always ask for:

  • License and any certifications
  • Proof that they do background checks on their employees
  • Proof of insurance – you don’t want to be liable if someone is injured on your property
  • And if it is a major remodel you can even ask to be added as co-insured on their carrier

Remember, your contractor is going to be working in your home – you want to be sure that, like any guest, you feel comfortable with them being there.

 

Finally some resources:

If you have any thoughts on questions to ask a contractor, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.

The Spring Home Maintenance Checklist You Need Today

Don’t just spring clean… Get going on your spring home maintenance today!

Spring is in the air and that means that you’re probably thinking about spring cleaning.  Hold on though! You also need to be thinking about some key spring home maintenance items as well! Doing these 8 things at least once a year will save you time, money, and a big headache down the road.  The goal is to prevent things from going wrong or catching little problems early BEFORE they become major problems.

We created a handy check list of 8 spring maintenance items you should be checking every year.  As a matter of fact, you can probably get these done in one weekend and then you don’t have to worry!

 

1.  Check your gutters and down spouts

Gutters and down spouts get all clogged up over the winter with leaves and debris.  Get up on a ladder every spring and clear that gunk out.  It will save you leaks, breaks, pools of stagnant water and a big repair bill.

2.  Inspect your roof

Most roofs will last around 12-25+ years (depending on the material) IF, and only if they are inspected regularly and repaired.  While you’re up on the ladder cleaning your gutters and drain spouts, take a moment and climb up on your roof.  Look for loose roofing, pooled water, or curling shingles.

It can be very affordable to repair your roof regularly.  If your roof ends up leaking during those springtime showers, it can cost you thousands in damages PLUS the money to repair or get a new roof.

It’s a good idea to check your roof both in the spring and the fall. Just to be safe.

3.  Check seals on windows and doors

Check and repair any seals on window sills, door sills, and thresholds.  Look for damaged or peeling caulk, splinters, loose panes and gaps.  While you are at it, check and repair any screens – you’ll be glad to be able to open those windows and air out your home without bugs getting in!  Here is a handy guide for how to caulk your windows.

 

4. Give some love to your deck

Already planning the first BBQ of the season?  Better get that deck ready.  Just like your roof, you want to inspect it every spring.  Look for cracks, greying wood, loose joints and water seeping in.  Every 3-5 years you’ll want to stain and seal your deck to keep it from weathering.  A final step?  Give it a good pressure wash to get it ready for that backyard party!

5.  Filter out those dirty filters

Guys. HVAC filters get D.I.R.T.Y.  They collect dust, pollen, pet hair and dirt.  And then recirculate all those things back through your house if you don’t clean or replace them regularly.  This is something you’ll want to check several times a year.

 

6.  Don’t forget about your dryer and refrigerator

When doing spring home maintenance, don’t forget to check your dryer vent.  It gets clogged up and makes your dryer work that much harder.  Which makes your electricity bill go up.

And while you’re at it, check your refrigerator coils.  Chances are they need a good vacuum.  Not only are they really gross when they are covered in dust, they also make your fridge less efficient.

 

7.  Drain that water heater

Your water heater should be 100% drained a couple of times a year.  The reason?  All kinds of minerals and sediment build up in the bottom.  Which equals corrosion and water that doesn’t heat as fast as you’d like.

 

8.  Test your smoke detectors

This spring home maintenance item can literally save your life.  Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and put fresh batteries in.  While you’re at it why not make sure that your family knows what to do when an alarm goes off.  A household fire drill goes a long way.

Need a hand?

Check out our list of trusted vendors, contractors, supplier and all around handy types who can help you if you run into problems (or they can just take care of this stuff for you).  They’ll give you a hand with the whole spring home maintenance thing!