Don't Sabotage Your Curb Appeal

Draw buyers inside by avoiding these common seller mistakes.

When your home is on the market, first impressions are everything: An unkempt yard or peeling paint will scare some buyers away completely, while a neat, pretty exterior will bring in more potential buyers.

Escape the pitfalls of an unsightly exterior by avoiding these eight common mistakes that can sabotage curb appeal.

1. Doing nothing

“One of the biggest mistakes I see is sellers not doing anything in terms of curb appeal,” says Matthew Coates, a real estate agent with West USA Realty Revelation in Chandler, AZ.

Many sellers focus their staging efforts inside the house, but the exterior is at least as important. Spend half a day cleaning up your property to reinforce the impression that your home is well-cared-for.

2. Too much clutter

It’s one thing to have a cluttered yard most of the time, but it shouldn’t be cluttered when your home is on the market. A collection of shoes near the front door, a jumble of lawn furniture, kids’ toys — all of that should be cleared away, with only a few tasteful pieces left out to make the yard look homey and to give buyers ideas for how the space could be used.

3. Tired landscaping

Don’t go overboard and bring in a backhoe to level the lawn, but do make sure the yard is looking its best. Water the grass, trim the hedges, and put in a few perennial flowers to brighten things up.

“Adding vibrancy with fresh flowers would make a world of difference and make the yard inviting and alive,” says Coates. Backyards and gardens teeming with bright flowers are one of the main reasons the real estate market heats up in spring.

If it’s not springtime, you can still add a little color to your yard by planting seasonal flowers, sweeping up dry leaves, and making sure it’s looking its best.

4. Peeling paint

There are many theories about which renovations are worth investing in when a house is on the market. We would contend that touching up the paint on the front of your house is one of them.