You only get a few minutes to make a first impression, so when selling your home, you have to make those minutes count – and that’s where curb appeal comes in. To lure would-be buyers, you have to make sure you’re not undermining your efforts. So step outside, take a good look at your home and watch out for these curb-appeal killers.
1. Lackluster Landscapes
Carpet-bombing the front yard with red roses sounds lovely, but too much of the same flower can look boring. As Houselogic explains, the yard will look great when the flowers are in bloom, then drab for the rest of the year. The better solution is to mix things up and opt for seasonal color. For instance, planting summer-blooming roses and autumn camellias can help keep your lawn colorful year-round.
2. Dying Shrubs
Refusing to bury the dead can scare away buyers faster than you say compost. As Houselogic notes, spent plants are ideal for a pile, as long as you grind them up first. Otherwise, bag them up and add them to the trash. And remove the dead or dying shrubs, pronto.
3. Unwanted Guests
Deer and rabbits are cute, but their constant nibbling can leave your landscape in disarray. They can also leave branches denuded. If an electric fence is too pricy an option, do as Houselogic suggests and spray critter repellent. After a hard rain, spray it again. No luck scaring away Bambi? Consider deer- and rabbit-resistant plants.
4. Monotonous Mowing
Yes, even a well-mowed lawn can scare away buyers. As AOL explains, mowing grass in the same direction, day in and day out, can “mat down the turf and inhibit growth.” Varying the pattern in which you mow encourages growth and reduces wear. You’ll also avoid missing or mowing over the same spots.
5. Barely-There Lawns
Speaking of mowing, only about one-third of the grass blade should be cut. Short clippings break down easily, and according to AOL, make natural nitrogen return to the soil—a bad thing for plants trying to grow. Cut too much at once and the grass can stress out, leaving it withered, drab-looking and flat.
6. Ugly Siding
Drab siding can put a dent in your home’s curb appeal. Take a peek and see if there’s well-preserved wood underneath, Time magazine suggests. You can remove the siding, repair the old wood, and/or try a new coat of paint. Replacing the siding with fiber cement siding, which can look like real wood, is also an option.
7. Old Garage Doors
If it’s a large slab of vinyl or lackluster steel, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Time magazine suggests choosing doors with “moldings, windows, or an old-fashioned carriage house look.” A coat of glaze can dress the door up, as can paint or power-washing the exterior.<
8. Missing or Torn Shingles
A roof in good repair will hardly go noticed, which is a good thing, says roofing expert Matthew Lopez. But if your roof is more than 10 or 15 years old, chances are the shingles will start coming apart and buyers will spot them a mile away. Check your roof regularly so you can repair any missing or torn shingles before buyers notice.
9. Bold colors
Bubblegum pink may be your thing, but chances are most buyers won’t dig it. In general, homeowners are drawn to neutral colors like blue, light brown, beige and gray. When selecting a new color, keep in mind what your neighbors have chosen and make sure it complements your home’s landscaping and hardscaping.
If prospective buyers are mistaking your home for a junkyard, you’ve got a problem, says Pro.com. Neatness counts for a lot, especially when showcasing a home. Move the clutter out of the front lawn and consider giving away what you don’t need. The idea is to make your home shine, not have it pass as a backdrop for hoarders.
11. A Dingy Front Door
If your front door’s been around since Truman was president, it may need a facelift. “A front door should beckon buyers to come inside and make them think about what their future houseguest will see,” explains Pro.com. If buying a new door is out of your budget, consider switching the hardware (door knob, hinges and knocker) or tacking on a wreath for a nice pop of color.
12. Beaten-Up Hardscaping
Hardscaping refers to the use of brick, concrete and natural stone — and if it’s cracked, it can turn away buyers. Driveways are especially important to keep free of cracks, as are the walkway and other immediately visible areas. Make sure the hardscaping complements the landscaping and home siding, Pro.com recommends, so the look feels consistent.
13. Bad Neighbors
Yes, even your neighbors can wreck your home’s curb appeal. If their yard is covered with weeds, lacks a fence, or any number of things, prospective buyers may question whether the neighborhood is worth it. If you decide to confront your neighbors, broach the topic with care, Zillow says. Not everyone wants to hear that they need to spruce up their home.