by Margaret Murray

Whether you are selling a home or just taking a look at the house from your neighbor’s view, there are many ways to make your home stand out in the neighborhood.

  1. Tidy up – Walk past your home and look at it the way your neighbor walking the dog would. What stands out? Usually, the most obvious issues are any visible trash, crooked signs or out-of-season decorations. This is the low-hanging fruit and can easily be cleaned, straightened and stored.
  2. Prune trees & shrubs – When looking at your home, is the house visible? Or is it concealed by overgrown trees? Day in and day out it is hard to notice tree branches obscuring the features of the house. Read how to prune and get to work. Talk to the local greenhouse professionals about the best times of year to prune trees.
  3. Flagpole – If there is a flagpole, inspect the flag. Is it clean and bright or tattered and dull? If there is a flagpole but no flag, add an American flag. For buyers looking at homes, the well-kept flag signals pride in homeownership and in
    the neighborhood.
  4. Driveway and sidewalk – The driveway and sidewalks should be neat and straight. Edging the grass alongside the paths reinforces straightness and, in turn, how well the home is kept. Make sure weeds are removed from the paths and repair any cracks or missing concrete.
  5. Flowerbeds – Without spending a lot of money, you can add a lot of color in small areas. The area near the front door is an ideal space for planting seasonal flowers that bloom throughout the season. Whether these annuals are in the flower bed or in a planter is not as important as making sure that complementary colors are selected and dead blossoms removed timely. A little water when getting the mail should be enough to keep these flowers blooming.
  6. Front door and shutters – If the home is a neutral shade, consider painting the door a vibrant color. Shutters also provide a wonderful accent to an otherwise unexciting home. For a house with tan siding, for example, adding a dark, rich brown paint to the front door and deep red shutters would make the house more eye-catching and appealing. For a pale blue home, a red door with navy shutters would make the house stand out. Take another look at the neighbors’ homes that catch your eye. Have they used color on the door or shutters in a way that make them stand out?
  7. Windows – Once a year, make sure the windows are cleaned on the inside and outside. Clean windows make a house sparkle. If there are pets, lots of wood-burning fires or you cook with oil, the inside of the windows may need to be cleaned more often.
  8. Cars, toys and sports equipment – Make sure that all toys and sports equipment are removed from the yard. Clean out the garage and park the cars inside. Cars in the driveway and toys and equipment in the yard signal to buyers that the garage and house are not large enough for everyday needs. They may also signal that the garage has not been kept clean and by extension, the house. With everything in its place, the buyers will be able to see the house, not the storage problems.
  9. Lighting – Look at the home at dusk or at night from the curb. How does it appear? Dark and spooky? Bright and fully visible? Strike the balance with outside and inside lighting. Consider using timers on the lights to ensure the house looks appealing even if no one is home. Use curtains appropriately to reassure potential buyers that the home offers privacy and security. Make sure light bulbs in the outside fixtures match and are replaced if broken.
  10. Outside living – Regardless of the interior size of the home, buyers enjoy the idea of spending time outside. Consider what opportunities are visible from the sidewalk for enjoying morning coffee outside. A bench under a pretty tree in the yard can be an opportunity to draw buyers. A small café table and chair can fit in even small porches and make the onlooker consider spare time to enjoy that spot. Do not use furniture larger than the space and make sure yard ornaments are kept to a minimum.