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In my 28+ years as a real estate agent, I can usually tell when I pull up in front of a home I’m about to show what the inside of a home will look like based on the exterior. If the exterior is unkept then you can bet that the inside is generally the same.


colonial-homeA vast majority of home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a home, based on their first impressions of the outside… does it have “curb appeal?” ..the view they see when they drive by or arrive for a showing. You can ensure people want to come inside your home by spending some time working on its exterior appearance, making it inviting for buyers to want to see more.

Most potential buyers find it difficult to visualize changes, and often won’t take a second look at a home if the first impression does not appeal to them. Often buyers who can visualize changes and may be prepared to make them, expect the realtor to reduce the price of the house to compensate for they work they are planning.

As homeowners it is difficult to look at our own home and critique it the same way a potential home buyer does, because we become accustomed to its appearance and the way it functions and we don’t want to see its faults.

You must think of your home as a commodity you want to sell at the highest possible dollar amount, and stop thinking of it as your home.


In order to get a good view of your home, try to stop across the street the next time you come home, or a little way down the street, and try to view it as a potential buyer. What is your FIRST impression of the overall appearance of the house and yard?

  • Park where the potential buyer would and walk towards the house
  • Is the grass neatly trimmed?
  • Are the flower beds free from weeds?
  • Are there oil stains on the asphalt?
  • Are there toys and other debris etc. laying around the yard?
  • Is the paint on the garage door or shutters peeling and need repainting?
  • What is the best feature or your home, or lot and how can you improve it?
  • What are the worst features of your home and how can you minimize or improve them?

Take a photo of your home’s exterior and critique it through the eyes of a potential buyer and make a list of the problem areas. Complete the repair and clean up chores first, then put some time into making the grounds more attractive.

  • Clean windows and eaves
  • Stow away unnecessary garden tools
  • Clean and kill any mould or mildew on the house, sidewalks, or driveway
  • Pressure wash dirty siding or decks
  • Edge sidewalks and remove vegetation growing between concrete or bricks
  • Cut the grass and get rid of weeds
  • Rake and dispose of leaves


marco-island-florida-300x225Try the exercise again in the evening as it is not unusual for potential buyers to drive by homes after dark. One effective way to improve curb appeal is with lighting but make sure any lighting that is visible through the front door or windows enhances the home’s appearance. You may want to consider replacing that tired light fixture at the front porch and add a low voltage fixture to enhance importance landscape elements. Sometimes adding to the landscaping can dramatically improve curb appeal, but other times it can be more effective when something is removed.


Remember… The first impression that is instilled in to the mind of a potential buyer… is the one they leave with when they walk out the door, and in this instance, often when they first pull up outside your home. Make the exterior an inviting picture to make them want to see the inside!