Thursday, February 11, 2010

Curb appeal in Winter

The days are growing longer, but we are still in the depths of winter here in Green County. Helping a home to have some curb appeal this time of year is a bit harder than in the summer months with gardens blooming, but it is still possible to do things to help.

~ Clear your driveway, sidewalks and porches of all snow and ice. Get out there right away after a snow storm to clean them off. If you do get a buildup in ice in spots from driving into the garage or people walking on the sidewalk, pick up a scraper at Farm & Fleet or Ace Hardware to clean that off. If buyers worry about slipping as they approach a home, it alters how they see the inside.

~ If you still have any holiday decorations or lights up, remove them immediately. By now, these are stale decor and they give the impression of a home that is not maintained as quickly as it ought to be.

~ Look up. Do you have huge icicles hanging down from your eaves or other issues on the roof or gutters? This isn't the best time of year to get up there to take care of an ice dam, but you can at least get out there with a roof rake if needed.

~ Store away that garden equipment and patio furniture. Having the chaise lounge sitting under a mound of snow on the deck doesn't remind people of summer entertaining. It can, however, make some people think you don't maintain your possessions.

~ Make sure all your exterior lights have working bulbs. This helps make your property more inviting for evening showings and helps people see the back yard.

~ Take advantage of whatever winter greenery you do have in your garden. If your evergreens are bowing low under the weight of snow and ice, get out there and shake them free. People are drawn to natural beauty, and while a dusting of snow on everything is lovely, it isn't so attractive to see bushes looking like they will collapse.

~ Throw some greens, ribbons or holly into your porch planters. These decorations look fresh all winter and help add some interest outdoors. Consider a decorative basket of pinecones next to your front door or create a small still-life decoration using those old snowshoes. Don't go overboard. Toss out the worn out welcome mats and get some neutral mats in modern styles.

~ Don't keep the snow shovels and bucket of salt right by the door. Put these into the garage or basement after use. It might not be as handy, but these things are not appealing.

~ Make sure your windows are sparklingly clean. It will show if they aren't. Also check your blinds and curtains. These are visible from outside, so make sure they are lined up in a nicely symmetrical manner. Symmetry makes things more attractive to the human eye, so don't have the blinds in one bedroom half open and fully open in the room next door. From the outside, it is a dissonant chord.

~ Encourage the kids to play in the back yard. The unbroken blanket of snow on the front grass is more appealing than one that has been crisscrossed with tracks, snow angels and half-created snowmen. As a mom, I know this is a party-pooper thing to say, but these things are visually distracting.

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