Shawn Robertson's client didn't realize how important it was to create curb appeal for the home he was about to sell. Only when he started hunting for a home to buy did he understand what she’d been talking about.

Robertson of Chanhassen is a real estate agent with Lakes Sotheby's International Realty, Wayzata.

“Once we started looking, he started noticing homes with loose siding and gutters, chipped paint and overgrown shrubs," Robertson said. “He said, ‘I need to do this on my house.'"

It’s those small details that can make a difference between potential buyers driving by, or stopping in and taking a closer look. 

“You do see a lot of deferred maintenance,” Robertson said, “especially if you’ve been in your home for a long time, or have spent part of your year living elsewhere. You might not see how overgrown your shrubbery is, or really see the broken concrete in the driveway, or trees blocking the windows.”

Missing shingles from the roof might raise questions in buyers' minds like, "Is water is leaking inside the house?" Or, "Does this detached drain spout indicate a damp basement?"

"You want to avoid buyers asking themselves, 'If I move in, will I have to repaint the door or the trim, or spend $2,000 to fix the windows or replace those outdated carriage lanterns on the garage?'" Robertson said. Often sprucing up your home's curb appeal is as simple as sweeping down the spider webs, raking up the yard and power washing your home’s exterior.

"It’s miraculous what a little elbow grease can do to increase the appeal of your home," Robertson said. “Avoid having buyers use those small details against you when negotiating a price. Instead, spend $100 and a weekend touching up paint, or going swapping outdated exterior lights for new ones, or trimming overgrown shrubs."

While these things might not add significantly to the value of your home, they do play a big part in how prospective buyers perceive your home.


Seven ways to enhance curb appeal, according to Robertson.

  1. Tidy up. Hide garbage and recycle bins. Neatly store garden hoses. Take down seasonal decor. Pick up toys and debris.
  2. Add color. Whether it is a fresh coat of paint in a current color on the front door or continuous blooming flowers in the window box or flower pots, color says “happy home.” Coral, green, black and navy are great choices for the front door.
  3. Remove/Replace dead and dying shrubs and trees. Hydrangea bushes and trees add softness, evergreens can be woodsy or elegant and add all year interest and color.
  4. Swap out dated light fixtures and door hardware. With all of today's options in style and price points in light fixtures and hardware, there is no excuse not to make this quick but impactful change. Just be sure to not to go too small on the light fixtures. This is the perfect place to make a statement.
  5. Be sure buyers can see your house and don’t see a lot of work. Trim or remove overgrown shrubs and trees. If old arborvitae is covering your windows or turning brown, remove it. Large deciduous trees can be limbed up and thinned out if they are full of dead branches or blocking a view.
  6. Create an inviting entryway. Sweep off the leaves and cobwebs and add a new doormat. If you have the space, add a flower pot or lantern or even a welcoming place to sit. Just be sure not to crowd the steps and door.
  7. Reseal or repair the driveway and fix cracked walkways and front steps. Major points for curb appeal and not too much out of pocket.


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