What Sells? Part I: Outside

My relationship with a client often begins months before any business is transacted. During that initial meeting, without exception, I’m asked “what do I need to do before I put my house on the market?”.

The hardest thing for a homeowner to do is to think like a homebuyer. It takes all of us out of our comfort zone. As much as we want a new house, we simply don’t want to change what it took us years to create – our current home.

So maybe it starts with a list of what doesn’t sell. And then create a plan to correct those things. Here are a few to get you started. 


What happens at your front door sets the tone for a successful showing. Please make sure that the key works – effortlessly. Calisthenics should not be required to open the door to the house. No push, then pull, then jiggle it a little bit until you hear it click, then hurry and turn the handle before you have to do it all over again. Make sure that you keep spider webs, box elder bug carcasses and neighborhood newspapers cleaned away from your front door. Most people don’t even go in through their front door anymore, so it’s often an overlooked area. Give your front entrance the spa treatment. You have guests coming.

If you have central air, get rid of the swamp cooler and repair the roof! Install a tubular skylight in its place. I know that you justify leaving it in place because it’s more economical and effective to run the evaporative cooler at certain times of the year (“comfortably”, about one week in May and one week in September here in Utah). I also know that once you had the central air installed that you never turned that evap on again. Why would anyone want to deal with getting up on the roof every October, draining the cooler (properly so that it doesn’t leave that nasty sediment stain on the shingles), struggle with putting that UofU or BYU heavy, smelly, canvas evaporative cooler cover on it and then reversing the process again in the spring?   Not today’s homebuyer.

Have your windows professionally cleaned, inside and outside. It will make your house sparkle, literally, in the sunshine.

Scrape and re-paint or re-stain anything that’s peeling. Especially door jambs and wood decks.

Mow, weed and freshen up flower beds with a new bag or two of mulch. Keep your driveway, walkways and steps cleared of snow and ice. Make sure that you have a path shoveled through the snow plow pile so that a buyer can get from their car in the street to your front door, without climbing Mt Timpanogas.

Finally, make sure that your house number is clearly visible from the street, well lit for evening showings, and that your front lights are on at dusk. Yes, I know that there is a sign in the yard, but, unless it’s equipped with solar lights, it may be hidden in the shadows. You also want those “drive buy-ers” to be able to find your house from their internet search printout.

So that’s a start. Not too costly or time consuming. Next time, we’ll talk pets.

If you live in Northern Utah, and are thinking about selling your home, I’d love to see how I can help!

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