Another unforgiving Iowa winter is upon us! Without the green lawns, full trees, and blooming flowers of spring and summer or the beautiful foliage of fall, it can be hard to make the outside of your home look appealing in the winter. It’s still the first thing potential buyers see, however, so it needs to make a good impression—regardless of the season.
Planning on selling your home this winter? Aiming to keep your home’s exterior looking great year-round? Here are a few maintenance and decorating tips for keeping your curb appeal high, even during the snowy Iowa winter.
Clear Sidewalks and Driveways Before Showings
If there’s one thing you can count on during an Iowa winter, it’s snow! You’ll need to break out the shovel or the snowblower before showings. Unshoveled snow is equivalent to an unmowed lawn in the summer—it makes your home look unkempt. Plus, you want buyers to be able to reach your door without plowing through several inches of snow! If it’s icy, be sure to also put down salt for safety reasons.
Of course, snow doesn’t stop at your front door. Potential buyers will eventually be coming inside your house during the showing, tracking snow and slush along with them. Consider placing a boot tray or an extra mat just inside the door to catch wet, dripping shoes. If you have a spacious enough entry, a stool or chair where they can sit to take off their shoes is a nice touch, since most winter shoes are not slip-ons!
While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to clear the snow off of outdoor spaces that could be potential selling points—walkout basements, outdoor living areas, a deck, a patio, and so on. You want potential buyers to be able to see the features and not a pile of snow!
Landscaping Still Matters
It’s important to keep your yard looking tidy, even when it’s covered in snow. Pick up branches and sticks, take care of any leaves you didn’t rake up during the fall, and make sure no toys or other debris are scattered across the yard. This just as—if not more—important when your yard isn’t blanketed in white.
In addition, don’t forget about year-round foliage. Be sure to trim your evergreen trees and shape your winter shrubs if needed. They’re likely your main sources of color and life in your property’s white winter landscape, so they will stand out if they are neglected and overgrown.
Clean Your Gutters
This step is important for more than just curb appeal! The last thing you want is to have your gutters clogged with leaves when the snow on your roof starts melting. Ideally, you’ll want to clean your gutters every year after the last of the leaves have fallen off your property’s trees.
“Spruce” Up Your Outdoor Entryway
With most of your landscaping hibernating for the winter, your porch and front entryway is doing a lot of the heavy lifting for curb appeal. But just because most flowers can’t survive the cold doesn’t mean you can’t still add a pop of color with plants! Whether you opt for real or artificial decor, small potted evergreens, topiaries, and sprigs of holly, Christmas berries, and juniper are all winter-friendly flora that can help dress up your front porch. A wreath or other adornment for the front door is a nice touch as well.
Light It Up
A string of holiday lights framing your exterior trim, strung up above your porch, or wrapped around columns, pillars, handrails, and balustrades can give your home a warm, welcoming glow. While colorful holiday lights are fun, yellow and white lights are best for creating that cozy, inviting look. Decorative lanterns on porch steps or on either side of your front door are another great way to draw attention and illuminate the space in a stylish way.
Agents often advise that when it comes to showing the inside of your home, less is more. The same applies to your home’s exterior. In other words, while a few lights can make a space inviting, it’s best not to go overboard on the lights and other holiday decor (we’re looking at you, Clark Griswold!). It’s harder for buyers to envision the home as “theirs” if they are distracted by overwhelming decor displays such as light projectors, massive holiday-themed inflatables, and so on.
In addition to a few tasteful strands of lights, don’t forget to turn on your front porch or outdoor lights for evening showings. This is especially important during the winter, when it will be dark outside for any showing taking place after 5 p.m. You want buyers to be able to see the outside of your home, especially if you put time and effort into making it look nice!
Small Details Matter
Winter may not be the time to undertake major exterior renovations like re-siding your home or re-shingling your roof, but updating small details can take your home to the next level.
New address numbers are a great place to start. Select a number style that matches your home’s design aesthetic. Be sure to choose a material that can stand up to the elements. This is an especially good thing to upgrade if you’re selling—a clearly marked house number helps potential buyers find your home easily for showings!
This is also the perfect time to give your mailbox a makeover. Whether it’s wall-mounted or free-standing near the road, your mailbox is a very visible feature of your home’s exterior—and one that you probably don’t think about that often. This can be a simple replacement or a more extensive DIY. The good news? Most mailboxes are fairly inexpensive and easy to find at hardware stores, and there are dozens of styles to choose from!
While these projects may seem small, they can make your home’s appearance that much more appealing. Plus, they can be done easily and quickly so you can get back inside the warmth of your house sooner rather than later.
Keep the “For Sale” Sign Clear of Snow
Snow has a tendency to stick to For Sale signs. Or, in the case of a heavy snow or a passing snow plow, it can bury the sign altogether! Be sure to brush snow away from the sign (or unbury it, if necessary), making sure that it is clearly visible from the road. After all, it’s harder to sell your home if potential buyers can’t see the sign to know that it’s for sale!
To Wrap Up
As tempting as it can be to cozy up inside to keep warm, it’s still important to give the outside of your home a little TLC during this time of year, especially if you plan to sell during the winter months.
Want to tackle some projects inside your home this winter? Check out our list of 10 easy, inexpensive winter home improvement projects for inspiration on sprucing up your interior.
Preparing to buy or sell in the next few months? Or agents are ready to brave the cold and help you navigate the winter market. Reach out today!