As they say, a first impression is a lasting one. If your home doesn’t look good from the outside, buyers are going to believe it doesn’t look good on the inside either, so they’ll just drive away, or not click on your online listing to see the interior photos.

Also, if your home looks beautiful, loved and taken care of on the outside it speaks volumes for what the buyer perceives the inside looks like. It also says to the buyer “I am the type of homeowner that takes care of EVERYTHING – the roof, the furnace, repairs, etc.”

Lastly, with outdoor space, even if it’s just a terrace in a condo or high-rise city building, buyers are buying EXTRA SQUARE FOOTAGE, so the outside space should receive the same care and even staging that is done on the inside of the house.

The first thing to do is to clear away the “clutter”.

Next, clean.

Next, make needed repairs.

Then, do some easy, but impactful “wow” factor transformations.

Here is a checklist to get your home’s exterior space in show-ready condition:

Step 1: Clearing the “Clutter”

  • Keep grass mowed and edges trimmed regularly (weekly)
  • Remove and replace any dead or dying shrubs
  • Consider removing or trimming any excess large trees or shrubs, especially those blocking the windows
  • Prune hedges and plants
  • Remove plant debris
  • Rake the lawn and walkways
  • Weed yard and garden
  • Shovel snow and de-ice walkways
  • Remove and store garden equipment, kids’ toys, pool rafts, empty clay pots, and any other extraneous items
  • Hide trash cans out of view
  • Keep driveway clear of extra cars (park down the street) during showings
  • Remove excess clutter from and neaten up shed and garage
  • Wrap up your hose or hide it altogether in a hose storage pot or wheel
  • Remove excess furnishings from front porches, decks and patios to create spaciousness
  • Take down or move umbrellas if they block any kind of view
  • If it is safe, take down the portable child fence around the pool
  • Remove “Beware of Dog” signs
  • Neatly stack the firewood

Step 2: Cleaning

  • Remove mildew and cobwebs from eaves and lighting fixtures
  • Power wash any mildew off (or at least hose it down) house, roof, patio/deck, outdoor shower, cement, furniture, awnings, umbrellas, walkway, front door area and driveway
  • Clean windows, front door glass and sliding glass doors inside and out
  • Clean light fixtures
  • Clean exterior and interior of BBQ
  • Sweep and wash garage floor
  • Sweep shed floor
  • What you can’t stow away when you’re decluttering, at least clean and place it to the side
  • Clean out gutters
  • Though not visible, clean chimney (safety reasons)
  • Clean grease spills on driveway and garage floor
  • Clean pool, hot tub, ponds and other water features
  • Wipe down or hose your curbside mailbox

Step 3: Repairs

  • Fertilize grass
  • Water grass more
  • Add grass or sod to bare spots
  • Paint exterior
  • Paint trim
  • Paint or stain fence
  • Paint, or oil and seal the deck
  • Repair or replace windows, screens and shutters
  • Repair or repaint front door
  • Replace mailbox and house numbers
  • Replace welcome mat
  • Polish door fixtures, numbers, mailbox, light fixtures
  • Remove unattractive storm doors, especially those hiding a beautiful front door
  • Remove unattractive awnings
  • Replace furniture
  • Repair or replace torn awnings and umbrellas (or remove totally)
  • Repair or replace worn or missing side or roof shingles
  • Replace burned out bulbs
  • Align downspouts with gutters
  • Repair cracks in foundation, sidewalks, etc.
  • Repair or replace broken deck planks/slats
  • Repair broken fences
  • Repair any doors to garage, shed, outdoor shower, pool house, pool equipment storage, etc.
  • Repair hose faucets, sprinkler systems, pool/hot tub filters and pumps
  • Repair or replace any other broken or worn items

Step 4: Make “Wow” Factor Transformations

  • Paint the front door a contrasting color to the house such as red, maroon, black, etc
  • This is one place where it’s OK to use a bright color when selling your home.
  • Paint the garage door
  • Update mailbox, house numbers and driveway and front door lighting fixtures
  • If you have a large front door area, consider adding a bench, chairs, small table
  • Add/replace doormat
  • Update lighting fixtures on walkways, pool area, patios, decks
  • Consider adding walk up lights (solar are inexpensive)
  • Update the planters to match the style of the house
  • Add huge pots of color with flowers (in every season if possible) to at least the front steps, if not also the patio/deck.
  • Consider hanging flower pots around the front porch and deck/patio
  • Plant flowers in the front and back yards – flowers do wonders!
  • Add mulch to the flower and shrub beds to provide contrast and a neat look
  • Flowers and/or mulch can also be used to cover any bare areas in your planters or under trees for a clean, manicured look
  • Consider adding shutters or window flower boxes to accent windows
  • Add a fountain to backyard
  • Add a table and chair set to backyard patio and decks
  • Create an outdoor entertainment room by adding pillows to chairs or setting the table with a stack of plates, wine glasses and bottle of wine
  • Replace worn and outdated outdoor furniture, as well as furniture that doesn’t match the price point of the home.