5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal for the Fall Selling Season

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in making the sale, even in the fall when the leaves begin to fade. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and boost your curb appeal.

Sellers looking to get the best price know that curb appeal plays a huge role in getting buyers through the door. Once the flowers fade and the temperature drops, however, it can be easy to overlook your outdoor space altogether. Here are five simple ways to make the most of what fall has to offer and give your home the edge it needs for a quick sale.

1. Improve Your Entry

With every potential buyer passing through your front door, your entryway is critical to a good first impression. Cleaning the door, sweeping the stoop, and ridding the area of dirt and cobwebs can be enough to improve the overall look of your home, but for maximum impact, lay a new doormat and replace or paint any rusted or corroded hardware, mailboxes, or light fixtures. If you’re feeling adventurous, painting your front door a different shade can be a great selling feature that can be done in an afternoon.

Traditional brick colonial dressed up for fall with colorful mums and harvest gourds

2. Let the Light Shine

While the outdoors is the natural habitat for all manner of insects, they don’t need to reside in your outdoor light fixtures. Dirty lights and windows will not only reduce your nighttime curb appeal but can also affect how much natural light makes it through to the inside of your home. A thorough cleaning of light fixtures and windows will boost the overall impression buyers have of your home and can affect their impression of the rest of the home. For added impact, place inexpensive solar lights along the border of any gardens or walkways to illuminate your yard at night.

3. Love Your Landscape

Given that landscaping can amount for up to 15 percent of a home’s value, keeping your yard in tip-top shape is more important in the fall than ever. Fall colors and cascading leaves may provide a romantic vision, but may leave a potential buyer focusing on how much raking they will have to do. When seasonal plants fade away, be sure to cut back the dead growth and ensure your yard is regularly raked. Even if your yard doesn’t require frequent mowing, be sure to edge walkways with a straight-edge for a clean-cut look, and add some quick color by placing pots of seasonal plants in gardens and on porches.

Raking fall leaves with rake

4. Whisk the Water Away

The fall tends to bring increased precipitation, which can be a deal-breaker for buyers if they feel water penetration will be a problem. To prevent pooling water, be sure the grading around the foundation slopes away from the house and use downspout extenders, if necessary, to move water out into the yard. Clean the gutters regularly, and take a good walk around your home after a heavy rain to identify any problem areas that may allow water into the house, like door and window caulking.

5. Don’t Overdo the Decor

Finally, while the bounty of fall can be used to enhance the beauty of your home, be wary of overdoing the decor. Too many Halloween decorations, for example, can easily detract from the beauty of your home. Try instead for colorful mums, gourds, and pumpkins in a variety of colors and sizes that can provide earthy variety without overdoing it.

Regardless of the weather, the fall is still a hot time to sell a home, and can be an incredible opportunity to make a lucrative sale. Keep in mind that most buyers will either view your home online or drive by before making a decision to visit, so a sharp curb appeal can help keep your home above the competition.

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5 Walk-Through Surprises and How to Avoid Them

5 Walk-Through Surprises and How to Avoid Them

A house may look one way when it is decorated and furnished, but once vacated, bumps and bruises may show that could cause a wrench in the closing. Here are five common issues that arise during a walk-through and how to handle them.

The following is a guest post from Cara Ameer, an agent with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

You’ve survived the inspection and loan approval process. You are almost to the closing table and ready to sign on the dotted line, but before you arrive, there is one last hurdle to climb known as “the walkthrough.” Whether you are a buyer or seller, this process can be nerve-wracking – as a buyer, you may be thinking: Will the house will still look how I thought it did? Will everything be empty and in good condition? And as a seller, you could be worried whether the buyer will be satisfied with what they see, and what if they raise concerns?

First, it is important to understand what a walkthrough is as well as its purpose.

A walkthrough is when a buyer walks through the property either the day prior or on the way to closing to ensure all is in substantially the same condition as it was before.

You may think this is a quick process that should take no more than 10-15 minutes at the most, but it is the buyer’s last look at the house before making what is likely the single largest purchase in their life. They will be closely scrutinizing everything. Additionally, because in all likelihood this is their first time seeing the house completely empty, this could raise some issues not previously seen.

A house may look one way when it is decorated and furnished, but once vacated, bumps and bruises may show that could cause a wrench in the closing. Here are five common issues that arise during a walkthrough and how to handle them:

1. Flooring – discolorations on wood or carpet. This happens as a result of furniture and rug placement over long periods of time, coupled with sunlight that could cause fading or discoloration of the exposed flooring around it. The buyer doesn’t initially see this, as a seller’s belongings are never moved for showings or inspections. Consequently, on a walkthrough of a vacant house, this could result in visibly noticeable variations in the floor finish as well stains, particularly on carpet. As a seller, you may have forgotten about some stains that are on the carpet where furniture and/or area rugs have sat on top of it for years.

flooring

Before putting your house on the market, check any areas of your home that have had furniture and/or rugs sitting on top of floor surfaces. If there is discoloration, consult with a wood flooring specialist on how to address, call in carpet cleaners or consider possibly replacing/repairing the flooring in question before going on the market. Note any issues upfront to establish condition at the time the home goes on the market to a buyer and on a seller’s disclosure so as to avoid any surprises later on.

leftovers

2. Walls — Once the artwork and flat screen TVs comes down, the walls are often left with nail holes, brackets and possibly discoloration where objects were previously hung. While it may seem premature when an offer is received to even think about dismantling the house, discuss with your agent a plan for “spackle management” when finalizing contract terms. Better to deal with this upfront vs. trying to figure out what to do right before closing because nothing was mentioned in the contract. Setting realistic expectations at the outset as to what you as a seller will do, such as spackling, will hopefully avoid a buyer’s request for you to repaint walls entirely. It may be that the buyer likes the existing placement for artwork and your television and will want these areas left as you had them.

3. Leftovers – While these are always appreciated after a good Sunday dinner, your left over house stuff is not always wanted or needed by the buyer of your home. Moving always brings a “don’t know what to do with pile.” It may be a stray chair, file cabinet, old lawn hose or other various odds and ends. Don’t assume the new owner will be glad to have these items. Check with the buyer first, if they don’t want them, play it safe and have them removed BEFORE the final walkthrough.

4. Garbage – Speaking of removal, don’t leave garbage cans full of trash for the new owner to take out. The buyer has enough to deal with as far as coordinating movers, getting utilities turned on, waiting for the cable guy and all that goes along with setting up a new home. This is usually a surprise not discovered until the walkthrough or their first trip to the house as the new owner. A pile of trash either in the garage or on the driveway is not a closing gift that should be left behind.

moving boxes

5. Mover Damage – With a moving crew transporting furniture and boxes out of your house, the opportunity exists for unintended damage to occur. Drywall dings, nicks, scratches or gauges can be left, often not discovered until a buyer does their walkthrough, or of course right after they go to the house after closing. Once the movers are finished, do your own “move-out” walkthrough with them to check for any damage. Discuss with your movers ahead of time the plan for handling any damage and have a trusted repair person on standby to take care of any issues should they occur.

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

5 Fantastic Kitchen Staging Ideas for Fall

Wow fall homebuyers with these easy staging ideas from HomeAdvisor

Selling your home in the fall means adding small seasonal elements to make your home feel warm and welcoming. And, what better place to do that than in the kitchen? Here are some ideas to help you make your kitchen — and your home — appeal to fall homebuyers:

Fall counter decor

You should always keep the countertops nearly clear when potential homebuyers are walking through. In fact, you should keep it down to about two to three essentials if you’re living there from day to day. For the fall season, you can add small elements like placemats, fruit and leaf decor (window drapings, vase, etc.).

“Fall odors”

The smell of leaves, apple pie, pumpkin and cinnamon evoke the cozy feelings of fall. Candles are nice and actually baking something “fall-like” before a showing is a sure way to make potential buyers feel more at home during a showing.

Colors of fall

Depending on the current condition of your home, you might consider a fresh coat of paint. What color you decide to use may or may not be influenced by the season. While you should always lean towards neutral colors, you might consider accent walls or cabinets in browns or dark tones of red or green if you think they would work. The cost to paint an interior room is about $380, though prices will vary depending on the size of the room.

Bringing nature in

If there are windows in the kitchen, make sure to keep them clean. Depending on the weather outside during a showing, you might open them and let the fresh air in. It helps to create a flow between nature outside and the atmosphere you’re trying to create in the kitchen. If your budget allows, you might also accent the windows with fall-like window treatments to create an even easier flow. If you don’t have these treatments, a professional home stager can sometimes find them for a reasonable price.

Natural lighting elements

Lighting is an essential element of home staging, no matter the season. In fall, in particular, it’s all about enhancing the twilight or sunset and complementing of all the fall colors. For lighting in your kitchen, consider accent and track lighting. Or, you could install recessed lighting on a dimmer switch, which will allow you to control the brightness of the kitchen to complement the mood outside.

10 Home Decor Accessories Worth Buying for Fall and Beyond

10 Home Decor Accessories Worth Buying for Fall and Beyond

These 10 versatile pieces make great building blocks for a cozy and festive seasonal look.

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Houzz contributer, Laura Gaskill

Tweaking your decor each season can be a great way to keep your home feeling current and satisfy your urge to nest, without blowing your budget on big-ticket items. The problem? Each year retailers roll out tons of new seasonally inspired decor that begs to be brought home — and loading up on too much season-specific stuff is a sure way to blow your budget and overstuff your storage.

To strike the right balance, aim to build up an arsenal of go-to pieces that feel special yet can work in several different ways throughout the year, then use free and found natural objects, and inexpensive seasonal produce, to round out the different looks. The following 10 versatile pieces make great building blocks for a cozy and festive seasonal look.

1. Shiny gold stools. They can be used as seats or side tables; they are small, portable and easily stashed; and they fancy up any room. Gold looks especially festive, feels rich in fall and winter and has a sunshiny quality that makes it work in summer to boot — what more could you ask for?

South Charlotte House Family Room

2. Amber glass vessels. Vintage or new glass bottles with an amber hue look beautiful in a sunny window, lined up on a mantel or perched on a console. Clear apothecary jars are useful to have on hand too, but the great thing about colored glass containers is that they look beautiful even when empty. Of course, they look splendid filled with fall leaves or flowers, too.

Laura Zindel

3. A faux-fur throw. It’s warm and cozy, and makes any seat or bed you toss it on look incredibly luxurious. Spend enough to get a faux fur that feels really plush and has a natural-looking color; cheaper versions will fall apart over time, but a good one will hold up for many years.

Mill Valley, CA

4. Colorful accent dishes. Build a stable of solid-hued workhorse dishes in white, plus some in one or two accent colors so you can change things up. A good rule of thumb is to stick with white dinner plates but bring in fun colors and patterns with the serving pieces, bowls and salad and dessert plates.

Orange is a good hue for all of fall, from Halloween to Thanksgiving, while mint green and yellow work from spring through summer. Metallics work year-round but look especially festive around the holidays.

Fall Decor

5. Gleaming accessories. Gold and silver objects are a natural choice (see the shiny gold stools above), but the shades in between are even more versatile — think shimmering platinum, bronze and rose gold.

These subtly shimmery hues fit right in with fall leaves and acorns, look glamorous around the holidays and echo the sheen of seashells in summer. Try them with a cluster of vases, candlesticks, bowls or trays.

Willow Glen Residence

6. Fresh artwork. Your home has a finite number of walls, but does that mean you must limit yourself to the same artwork year-round? No way!

Pick up fresh artwork as you find it, without worrying if you currently have a place to hang it. At the beginning of each new season, you can simply swap out art on a few walls for a completely different look.

Parkway Kitchen

7. A tall container for branches. Having a really tall cylinder vase on hand is essential for filling with colorful foliage in the fall and budding branches in the spring, You may want to pick up a few of these — a shorter version, like the one shown here, is perfect for a tabletop; a taller vessel can be placed on the floor.

Laight Street Loft

8. Fluffy towels. A set of fresh bath towels in a seasonal palette you love is a relatively inexpensive treat, and will make a huge difference in the way your bathroom looks and feels. Try mixing and matching a solid hue with a fun pattern, as shown here. Bonus: Rotating at least some of your bath and hand towels seasonally can help reduce wear, so they’ll stay fluffy longer.

Farm Fresh Interior

9. Pillow covers. Once you have built up a nice stash of pillow covers that fit the inserts for your sofa and bed, it’s easy to give your rooms a quick makeover. Keep an eye out for sales throughout the year to find the best deal. Here are a few ideas for not-strictly-seasonal pillow covers to consider adding to your stash:

  • Burlap feed sack: great for a rustic fall and winter look, but can be used year-round
  • Sparkly, metallic hues: perfect for a festive feel
  • Velvet in rich jewel tones: for cold fall and winter nights
  • Golden yellow: can be mixed with seasonal oranges and reds in the fall, but also feels fresh in spring and summer.
Basement Development

10. Small rugs. If you have basic natural-fiber rugs or neutral carpeting, one great way to create a new look in the fall is by layering your rugs. A small Oriental rug or Moroccan-style wool rug instantly makes any space feel warmer and cozier, and goes with practically anything. Keep a few rolled up in the closet and bring them out when your feet feel like they could use a little extra TLC.

Children

Tell us: What is your favorite way to update your home for the season?

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