Austin Home Staging - Exterior

You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

What do buyers see first when your house is for sale?  The exterior, of course.  Most likely it will be the front of the house.  Depending on your home’s orientation, it could be the side or even the back if your home’s driveway connects to an alley.  No matter which side buyer’s see first, you’ll want to make it your home’s “best side” for effective Austin home staging.  No doubt you’ve heard about “curb appeal,” and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve pulled up to the curb with my buyers only to have them grimace and tell me to keep on driving.  You don’t want this to happen to you when your home is for sale.  So, start your makeover with the home’s exterior before it goes on the market.

I’d like you to remember 4 words as you begin working on spiffing up the exterior for Austin home staging:  IMPRESS, INVITE, ENHANCE & ELIMINATE.

Let’s start with IMPRESS.  What if your home were picked for the location of the Royal Wedding Reception?  What if the President of the United States picked your home for a back yard visit?  What if your own family decided your place is best for the extended family reunion?  Even if it’s not normally in your DNA, I’ll bet you would feel at least some desire to IMPRESS your special visitors.  When you decide to sell your home, it’s imperative that you tap in to your desire to IMPRESS others and channel that in to improving your home’s exterior for good Austin home staging.

What does that mean exactly?  Well, ask yourself, “What type of yard impresses most people?” and “What impresses people about the exterior of a house?”  The answers may seem obvious.  Most people love a lush lawn, neatly manicured bushes, stately trimmed trees and colorful flowers.  The majority appreciate clean, freshly painted siding, bright entryways leading to attractive doors and powerwashed stone, driveways & walkways.  If your favorite celebrities are coming for a visit, what would you do to IMPRESS them?  With this purpose in mind, go to work on your lawn, landscaping, siding, stonework, walkways, fences, driveways, exterior doors, windows, screens, lamp posts, mailbox, lawn furniture, potted plants, gardens and anything else on the exterior of your home.  Don’t neglect any outdoor spaces for effective Austin home staging.  Eventually, your guests will see the side and back yards, too.

Once you’ve mastered that first impression, the next obvious step is make your guests feel INVITED.  Even the most famous person in the world will not be IMPRESSED if your home is not warm and INVITING.  What makes a house inviting?  Start with the big picture.  Guests pull up in their vehicle to your home.  Where is that most likely to occur?  When they turn and look at your house, is it obvious where they should enter?  Some homes have a concrete walkway from the street to the front door or a front driveway with a concrete path to the door.  With other homes, it’s not as obvious where guests should enter.  For good Austin home staging, it’s your job to make that front entry EASY to spot from the curb and as appealing as possible.

By the way, remember, these are formal guests.  Don’t think it’s okay if they walk into the home through the garage door, side door, etc.  Even if no one has ever used your front door, it’s time to oil the hinges, find the keys and get it ready.  Think:  Grand Entry.  A side door, even if’s it’s prettier than your front door is not where the Queen or the President is most likely to enter.

Now, zoom in on the actual pathway and entry.  Your guests have gotten out of the car and are walking up to the door.  Have you aggressively trimmed back shrubbery from the walkway?  You’ll want no distractions deterring your guests from their journey to your doorway.  Has the path been edged?  Is the walkway power-washed clean?  No matter the material, make sure your walkway is smooth and easy to navigate. What if your guests are elderly, have young children or wear high heels?  Can everyone, no matter their abilities & dress, easily negotiate your front path?  If not, you may need to invest in some concrete or rock work.

Make that walk to the door an INVITING one – spacious, clean and pretty.  Your front porch and door should be equally pristine.  Everyone will be looking at the front door as the Realtor opens the lockbox and turns the key.  How does the door look?  Is it freshly painted with a shiney kickplate?  The door knob? Is it polished and easy to unlock and turn?  A simple, easy entry is an INVITING one for effective Austin home staging.

You have one chance to IMPRESS your guests and INVITE them into your home.  Conjure up the corresponding feelings to these 2 words while you fix up your front landscaping and home exterior, and you’ll be well on your way to enticing buyers to want your home.

ELIMINATE and ENHANCE are 2 words that will help you with the details.  Now, it’s time to put on your movie-making hat.  The name of the movie is:  I Sold My House for Top Dollar.  Your job is that of stage-hand.  The director doesn’t want anything distracting the audience from the main story line of “I Sold My House”… BUT, she does want the stage to ENHANCE the story line & audience experience.  Also, remember that a movie set is NOT REALITY.  The people don’t really live there.  The furnishings are not always real, instead props are used to ENHANCE the scene.  Now, let’s apply that to Austin home staging for your exterior.

First:  ENHANCE.

1.  Power wash or clean all stone and concrete.
2.  Repair damaged siding, caulk aggressively where needed, fix all trim boards & paint.
3.  Scrub the windows & make sure all window screens are in perfect shape.
4.  Garage doors should be clean, in good repair & fully functioning.
5.  The front door should be freshly painted & in most cases, storm or screen doors should be removed.
6.  The front door should have a kick plate installed that is polished & unscratched.
7.  The front door handle should be new or nearly new, & the lock should turn easily.
8.  Missing mortar or cracks in the home exterior should be repaired functionally & cosmetically.
9.  The slab veneer should be smooth & uncracked.
10. Any pet damage or water damage to exterior should be repaired.
11. Treat for pests: ants, termites, wasps, etc. if needed & remove all nests from every nook & cranny.
12. Fill in low spots in your lawn with soil, & make sure your grass lawn is thick & complete.
13. Trim all bushes & plants that grow along your house BELOW the windows & AWAY from doorways.
14. Square up or round off hedges so that the Queen, herself, would be impressed.
15. No one should be able to reach up or out & touch tree limbs.  Lop them off above head height unless the tree is too small for aggressive trimming.
16. Repair/replace your mailbox if needed.
17. Repair your fence, re-paint if needed, & make sure gates open & latch easily.
18. Repair outbuildings & paint as needed.
19. Bring in colorful flowers & plant them in the gardens.
20. Make sure your house numbers are crisp & clearly visible.
21. Trim trees away from roof, make sure roof & gutters are in good condition or replaced.
22. Add fresh mulch to all gardens.

ELIMINATE:

1.  Overhanging & over-reaching bushes & tree limbs.
2.  All garden hoses.
3.  Yard art.
4.  Fake plants outside the home.
5.  All toys.
6.  All pet items.
7.  All gardening supplies, tools & empty pots.
8.  All pests, ant mounds, rodents, wasps, etc.
9.  Extra yard furniture.  Simplify – keep a few pieces that ENHANCE the look of the house.
10. Cars.  Park inside the garage or arrange to use a neighbor’s drive, if possible.  Store extra vehicles or project vehicles off the property.
11. Trash containers.  Store the ones you use in the garage or out of sight when it’s not trash day.
12. Shoes.  Please don’t leave out shoes or sandals anywhere in the yard or near the doorways.
13. Weeds.  Remove them from fencelines, gardens, driveway cracks, etc.

Call or contact me for more information on staging your home to sell.