Curb Appeal Equals Increased Value
SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- One of the rules of real estate is that "First impressions matter." The outside of a home should draw prospective buyers in and make them want to see more.
"When prepping your property for sale, start with the front yard and your home’s facade to maximize its curb appeal," says George Hansen of ERA Suburb Realty in Scotch Plains.
Hansen has some tips to help your home look its best: 

Clean up oil spills
Your driveway is one of the first things people will see. For a quick and easy way to clean up your cement driveway, use a strong liquid drain cleaner (like Drano) and scrub it into oil stains. 

Paint the front door and entry way 
Take a step back and really look at the front of your home. Is the paint fading, the trim chipped? Do you see any rust spots near metal fixtures? A new coat of paint — even just a new trim color — can give your home a whole new look. If you don't have the time or money, a quickie update is to paint the front door and entry area. 

Evaluate your lighting
As the days grow shorter, more prospective buyers will be viewing your home in the early evening and possibly even after dark. If you don’t have at least a light over your front door, now is the time to remedy that. Even better, a few well-placed accent lights can showcase great landscaping, and also make the trip to the front door safer by illuminating the walkway. Concerned about the cost? Choose solar-powered light fixtures for an eco-friendly (and wallet-friendly!) alternative. 

Trim trees and tame unruly flora
When your lawn, trees, flowers, and shrubs are neatly manicured, your whole front yard looks larger. Make sure shrubs aren’t covering any windows or features. Deadhead your flower garden and put down some fresh, dark mulch for a rich-looking bed. Trees should be pruned and shaped to look their best. No flowers? Put a few potted plants out front to add a splash of color. And here’s a quick and inexpensive way to brighten the whole front of the home: Turn on your sprinklers whenever a potential buyer is coming to view your home. The sparkle on your greenery and the fresh scent of water on plants will add a new dimension to your home’s curb appeal. 

Park down the street
It’s something you might not think about, but ensuring convenient parking for real estate agents and their clients — and having open space in front of your home — will make your property seem accessible and can also make it appear slightly bigger. Can’t guarantee a front-row parking space in your neighborhood? At least be sure to remove toys, garbage cans and any other unnecessary items from your front yard. A buyer needs to see your home with nothing blocking the view. 

Now, maintain this great look 
Once you have your home looking great from the street, the challenge is to keep it looking wonderful through the days (or weeks!) of showings. Make a schedule to stay on top of mowing, weeding, watering, and other lawn and plant maintenance, plus keeping the driveway clean and the porch swept. And be sure to include pulling weeds from between stepping stones or bricks on your list. All of those little details mean a lot when it comes to curb appeal. 

Editor's NoteERA Suburb Realty is an advertiser of TAPintoSPF. For informatio about advertising, email or call (908) 633-2121.