If your home is on the market then you might be feeling some despair right now. After all, you're right on the cusp of the busiest real estate buying season. Your home, and your "curb appeal," need to look amazing right now—especially since many buyers are likely doing initial drive-bys before they schedule a showing.
The problem? In many parts of the country, the grass is still dead. The tulips are just barely poking out of the ground, and spring hasn't quite sprung yet. Unless you're utilizing xeriscape landscaping ideas, your home probably isn't looking its best this time of year. So is there anything you can do to improve your home's curb appeal for potential buyers? You bet there is.
[In Pictures: 10 Smart Ways to Improve Your Budget.]
1. Get Out the Power Washer
Your home has taken a beating over the winter. There is likely a layer of dirt and salt scum on the front porch, and the windows could likely use a good washing. Rent or borrow a power washer, and give the exterior of your home a good cleaning. Go over the windows with cleaner and follow this house spring cleaning checklist to make sure everything is spotless.
2. Clean Out Flower Beds
You might not have flowers coming up in your beds yet, but make sure they're presentable. Trim dead ornamental grasses and dead hostas to the ground, and clean out all the leaves and sticks that likely piled up over the winter.
3. Trim Branches
If you haven't already done so, go out to the street and make sure there are no shrubs or low hanging tree branches blocking the view of your home. You want potential buyers to get a clear look at the house when they drive by. If there are any obstructions, trim them back now.
4. Prune Flowering Shrubs
Flowering shrubs should be pruned after they've flowered. Plants like forsythia and rhododendron might be blooming now, or they will be soon. It's important to shape these shrubs for the best visual effect, but hold off until their flowers have died off. This will keep the plant healthy and give you (or the next homeowner) more buds next year.
5. Plant in Containers
It might still be too cold in your part of the country to put annuals in the bed, but you can still add life and color to your yard with container gardening. Buy some colorful pots and plant them full of vibrant flowers. You can place pots on your front porch, going down your front steps, or even stick them in your flowerbeds.
6. Look at Your Gutters
If you have leaves and sticks hanging out of your gutters from past winter storms, drag out the ladder and clean them out. Your home needs to look trim and tidy, and dirty gutters are definitely an eyesore to potential buyers.
[In Pictures: 12 Money Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes]
7. Add Mulch
Mulch always looks a bit sad after winter—it gets spread around and blown about. Adding a thick new layer of mulch can work wonders for your home's curb appeal.
It's tempting to let the outside of your home slide until the weather warms up. But many buyers are out right now, doing research and driving around the neighborhood in anticipation of the spring house buying season. Sellers need every edge they can get in this real estate market, so take the time to add curb appeal to your home right now. Remember, you only have one chance to make a great first impression!