Homeowners often think about sprucing up the inside of their home when preparing to sell but sometimes ignore the outside. That’s a big mistake!

Since the exterior of the home is the first thing potential buyers see it can set the tone for how they perceive the entire home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 63 percent of home-buyers will drop by after viewing a home they like online.

Here are some tips to help your home stand out.

Park Your Car in the Garage, not in the driveway. Parking in the drive detracts from the view of the house, detracts from your MLS photos, and it can appear you’ve filled your garage with stuff and don’t have room for the car itself.

Keep your yard as immaculate as possible. Let your neighbors know you are selling. If they don’t keep their yard neat, ask politely or, as a last resort, offer to trim and mow yourself. If you are selling during the growing seasons, make sure you keep your lawn green by watering.

Say No! to gnomes. Lawn ornaments, kid’s toys, or religious décor is a no-no when selling your home. Minimal pieces for garden art are usually OK as long as they are not extremely taste specific (e.g., pink flamingos, home made “folk art”, gnomes, etc.).

Keep your garden(s) neat and clean. Dead head flowers, pull weeds and get rid of dead plants. If it’s winter, cut back dead or dormant flowers and plants. Never, ever, ever use artificial flowers – can you say tacky. Putting a few inches of dark mulch will brighten up the beds while giving a clean and neat appearance to the house. Neatly trim your evergreens; get rid of dead limbs and leaves. During Spring, Summer and Autumn months, keep colorful flowers and plants in your pots and planters to brighten up the home and welcome your potential buyers.

Take care of that deferred maintenance! Although you may have gotten used to it and don’t see it anymore your potential buyers most certainly will. A rusted-out carport, rotted wood shutters or tattered awnings should be fixed. If you home’s exterior has outdated, mismatched or dilapidated features get them replaced! You have the opportunity to drastically improve curb appeal for a minimal amount of effort and money.

Say no to neon blue and Kelley green! Fresh paint is a great way to update your home’s exterior. But, just like the interior, stay away from the personality specific colors like bright blue, hot pink, rosy red. If you can’t paint the entire exterior of the house, look at painting at the door, trim and shutters. Your front door should pop from the curb. Just updating those can make a tremendous difference. Go with neutral colors. Remember, if you have a homeowners association, ensure you are staying within their approved color palate. 3 complimentary colors for house, trim, door & shutters, makes for an interesting and pleasing house. Check with your local paint or hardware store for the current color palettes.

Written by Kevin Fletcher