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How to Prepare the Exterior of Your Home Before Exterior Photos

Before listing your home, and even before a listing appointment for your home, if time is on your side, it's a good idea to take steps to prepare your home for it. If in doubt about something even the slightest, ask your agent or wait for your agent's guidance, and if they don't say something about it, ask.

This post is a continuation of my posts on Basic Elements of Preparing Your Home for Sale & is related to my post on How to Prepare the Interior of Your Home Prior to Listing.

Image courtesy Raider Photography at a former listing of mine

  1. Paint is one of the most cost effective ways to prepare the interior & exterior of your home for sale if you have peeling paint, a bad paint job, or need to make some adjustments to scuffs and marks, but I've seen plenty of situations where a DIY paint job has gone very badly. I've seen where even the contractors mess up a paint job, so be sure to check their work. Painters tape, drop cloths, the right paint colors, the right type of paint, different coats of paint, preparing surfaces prior to paint, testing paint in a small area, matching textured paint, and keeping in mind the changing color of paint based on age are all important to note.

  2. Caulk on the interior and exterior, where failing or missing, can be another highly effective way to get your exterior in good shape for purchase.

  3. If your driveway, sidewalk or other exterior walking surfaces are dirty, power washing them is an excellent DIY project that many can do with little knowledge. If you don't have a power washer already, see if you can borrow one or rent one. If you want to hire someone to do the job, there are plenty that can do it, and I can give an excellent recommendation on the Peninsula in Hampton Roads that is highly rated.

  4. Soft wash siding, windows, and anything that could be damaged by a pressure washer. There are certain chemicals that can be helpful with this task.

  5. If you have growth on your roof, keep in mind that a wash can remove granules, even though it's fast. It's ideal, if you have time before sale, to put zinc or copper strips along the top, for that zinc or copper to wear down and kill the growth, and for you to only wash until after the growth is already dead where it will come off more easily and do less damage to your roof.

  6. Landscaping (i.e. aerating the lawn, doing things to promote green grass, weeding, etc.) can do a lot to help your sale, though don't spend a lot of money on it without consulting your agent to see if what you're considering is cost effective.

  7. Hedges should ideally be trimmed a full year prior to sale, 6 months of growth prior to sale, and 3 months of growth prior to sale. That way they don't appear bare by trimming immediately prior to sale.

  8. Blowing is another highly effective means of getting your home ready for sale if you have any walkways or otherwise that could use it.

  9. If you have exterior repairs that you know of, & you're wondering if repairs will be cost effective, it's not a bad idea to send pictures of them to your listing agent prior to the listing appointment. For instance, I was recently at a listing appointment with my dad, who has sold more homes than likely anyone alive in SE VA, who suggested to a seller that he shouldn't repair his driveway, focusing on a long list of other items.

  10. If you have any signs that aren't inviting, it's a good idea to remove them, such as "no trespassing" signs & "no soliciting" signs. For instance, I had to once ask a seller to not have this sign showing:

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