When the weather turns warmer, front porches across the country are put to use again. However, not all porches or front entryways are put to "good" use. Sometimes over the cold winter months they've taken a beating and are badly in need of repair. Other times they're used as storage for overflow from the garage, basement, or house and that is not a welcoming sight for buyers.
In real estate, we talk about the importance of a few key elements to help sell your home: location, pricing, and curb appeal. These are some of the highest influential factors that buyers consider. The reasons are obvious. Location is vital to most buyers, pricing is critical (especially in today's marketplace), and curb appeal gets buyers off the street and inside to view your home.
So, it simply makes sense that after a long winter or a period of non-use, front porches might need some maintenance. This doesn't have to be the kind of work that takes weeks to do nor does it have to be extremely costly.
Creating and maintaining porch perfection is about the little things that you do. In fact, some simple repairs, replacements, and re-arranging can brighten up and refresh a worn- out porch.
Start by looking at your porch with a critical eye. If you have been storing items on your porch that should have a home elsewhere, move them now. If you have old carpets, beat up or discolored mats, toss them out and replace them. Look at the lighting on your porch. Is it just one tiny bulb? Perhaps an inexpensive lighting system would brighten the porch, creating a more enticing and safer entryway.
Examine the hardware. Are the door handles corroded? Are they hard to turn to open the door? Think of it this way, if the door hardware looks worn and the doors are banged up, the impression is that this home is not well maintained on the outside and the inside. Some buyers won't go any further. If the home looks messy from the outside, all they will see is the front of your door. See your home the way you would if you were seeing it for the first time, just as the buyers are.
Add some appealing decor. There are a couple of rules that apply when it comes to staging an area. The rule of three is to group similar or items that go well together in groups of three. The eye is drawn to this type of formation. Symmetry also works well and is very easy to create. It gives a feeling of balance. Place potted flowers on both sides of the walkway to the porch. Add ready-made containers filled with colorful flowers. This creates an instantaneous warm welcome for buyers.
Even if you can't or don't want to renovate your front porch, you can add small amounts of molding (just like on the inside of your home). This can create beautiful lines and enhance the architecture.
One of my favorite additions is an outdoor water feature. Even just small fountains can make buyers feel relaxed as they enter your home. The sound of water soothes and can also help reduce the sound of other unwanted surrounding noise.
Remember, the front porch is one of the first areas buyers will see; so make it leave a positive memorable impression.