Catch the eye of potential buyers from the first drive-by when you spruce up the outside. These 10 tips will help you enhance your curb appeal–and sell your house faster–in the cold winter months.
1. Cheer up the front door
Experts agree–nothing catches the eye faster than a pretty front door. Consider painting yours a bright, inviting color that complements your house or by sprucing up the door area with a large, evergreen wreath or other decorative adornment.
Christina Hoffmann, content manager for HouseLogic.com, . “The one thing [a new homebuyer] is going to notice right away is if the front door looks fresh or sad,” she says. “That is literally the first thing they look at–people will then decide if they want to go in there. They’re really going to notice the front door and the porch and [get] that sense of welcoming.”
2. Keep your house well-maintained
Keeping up with basic maintenance tasks such as painting or replacing your shutters; cleaning or pressure washing your siding, sidewalks, and driveway; replacing burned-out bulbs; and cleaning out your gutters are easy ways to show potential homebuyers that your house is well-loved.
“Buyers immediately notice when doors aren’t painted [or] lights are falling off–and a roof in poor condition is a huge eyesore on a $500,000 home. Drastically improve your curb appeal by fixing the things that have been neglected the last ten years for the cost of a few hundred dollars. You [may] see it as a minor [detail, but] the buyer sees a big sign that says ‘needs work’ as soon as they pull up,” Mackay Barr, of Timberline Inspections, LLC, a home inspection company in Birmingham, Alabama, says.
3. Tidy up the landscaping
Beyond raking up the last of the fall leaves (though that’s good, too), consider other ways you can make your yard stand out in cold winter months. Pull weeds, trim back bushes and dead plants, and add mulch around trees and other garden beds for a fresh look. Hoffman also suggests adding pinecones on top of mulch around any trees to add a seasonal flair and that extra little something that really makes your yard stand out.
4. Clear a path
You might think that soft, fluffy stuff falling from the sky is beautifully framing your house in a dreamy snow globe scene. While that may be true–it can also be treacherous for potential home buyers trudging through inches of it to get a good look at your house. Make sure you’ve cleared and salted your driveways and walkways and that you’re keeping up on it as the day–and snow–progresses.
5. Add color pops
In addition to making sure your front door stands out, consider other areas of your home that could use a colorful touch-up. Think about your window sills, shutters, railings, and other features. “It’s eye-catching and can brighten up even the grumpiest winter day. You can also paint the fence while you’re at it–just don’t go overboard with the color combinations,” says Deemer Cass, landscape designer with Fantastic Gardeners.
6. Focus on lighting
Rhianna Miller, home and garden expert with Rubber Mulch, says homeowners should “consider adding outdoor lighting that will add interest and warmth to your home during the cold winter months. The outside of your home may look dreary and dark during January, but updated wall mount lighting and hanging lanterns will give your home a warm glow.”
In addition, consider wrapping some white holiday lights around trees, in branches, or along the fence line. Cass also suggests installing outdoor lighting along the driveway, on the patio, or even on the facade to offer a soft glow to your house during those cold winter nights.
7. Update your house numbers and mailbox
Hoffman suggests upgrading your house numbers to some that are more distinctive and/or larger to complement your house exterior, light fixtures, or house color. You can also upgrade your mailbox to something more colorful, updated, or sturdier–all of these little elements can really make your house stand out from the crowd and look well-loved.
8. Think green–evergreen
Even though most trees are bare and no flowers are blooming at this time of year, there are some evergreen trees and bushes and other hardy plants that can help spruce up your yard and make your house look more homey.
“There are plants that will bloom in the winter and add color [such as] blue holly, winter hazel, or calendula. Or add color [in] planters with evergreens or other plants, like [ornamental] cabbage (look for annuals and evergreens). You can add lights to those too. Winter bloomers are a really good idea,” Hoffman says.
9. Add other decorative elements
Other items to consider adding to the outside of your home include wreaths, flags, benches, doormats, or metal wall decor. “If your home has a covered porch or entry area, keep out Adirondack chairs, a bench, or other seating and dress them up with a cozy throw and outdoor pillows with plaid or winter designs. Add some outdoor lanterns to give the space ambiance and a feeling of warmth,” Miller says. “Accessories such as a pair of ice skates, an old fashioned winter sled, and a basket of logs will complete the cozy look. These gestures are easily the most important to your overall curb appeal and can make all the difference.”
10. Consider hardscaping and sculpture
Whereas landscaping focuses on the softer elements of your yard–the lawn, bushes, flowers, and other garden elements, hardscaping refers to the harder materials that make your yard stand out, like sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls, and other stone or cement paths. While the weather may not be conducive to pouring a new concrete patio, you could add a birdbath, fountains, a large garden stone, or another tasteful sculptural piece.