Portland Winter Home Curb Appeal

portland home selling winter

Winter is a notoriously difficult time to show a home in Portland. It gets dark early, the rain is daunting, and unoccupied can homes can be un-welcomingly cold. For a number of reasons, winter is not the best time of the year to sell a home in Portland. However, sometimes home owners have to move and cannot pick when, or would prefer to sell as soon as possible regardless of market conditions.

There are still buyers and Portland real estate agents out there looking at hundreds of homes in Portland every day! Winter is an easy time for your home to outshine the competition by offering buyers just what they want — a coziness, warmth and a bright spot in the grey. Read on to discover my top real estate agent tips for improving your home’s curb appeal in winter. Each one is affordable and can be accomplished in less than a day!

1. First things first – The Great Yard Cleanup

It’s not crafty, but it can be fun, and it’s definitely DIY! Clean up your front yard. But wait! If your gutters need cleaning, be sure to do that first to save yourself raking twice. Then it’s time to work on the ground level — picking up sticks and branches that may have blown down in our first winter storms, raking leaves, and removing dead annuals. It’s good home-showing practice to cut vegetation back from the house and ensure that walkways have a generous clearance from shrubs and low hanging branches. Finally, mulch any dormant garden beds and around the base of trees. Your front yard is the first thing that buyers see, so make sure its looking it’s best! As a real estate agent who has walked through hundreds if not thousands of homes, I promise you that it will be worth the effort.

2. Rent a pressure washer for the day.

Seriously! Pressure washers are the tool for curb appeal in any season. Start by blasting debris from your home’s gutters. Removing built up leaves and sticks from gutters regularly prevents damage to your roof and looks a whole lot better, too. Then move down to the driveway, walkway, and deck, and use the pressure washer to blast away dirt and moss, which can be slippery and hazardous when wet. If your garage is empty, you can use it to clean the floor inside, too. Fencing and vinyl siding can also be cleaned with a pressure washer. (Be careful about praying paint off wood siding or decks.) Then take a step back and admire how good it all looks!

3. Brighten up the night.

Most home buyers are busy and often only have time to look at homes after work — in the dark! Unfortunately, in the depth of winter it can get dark in Portland a bit after 4pm! Not ideal for seller or buyer, but as the seller you can make the most of it. When home viewers roll up to check out the house, lure them in with lighting that clearly and safely marks the way to the front door. In addition, good landscape lighting can illuminate front yard features and even the home exterior. Start with a few solar lanterns. They’re inexpensive and you don’t have to lay any wiring. However, they do need to receive direct sun during the day to work, so no foliage can be in the way. Another way to light paths, edge garden beds, and highlight trees is with white rope lights that are sold as Christmas lights. Hold them in place with landscape staples or small nails for trees. Just be sure that extension cords and other wiring does not cross any pathways, and remove the staples and nails before you move!

4. Utilize smart home devices to your advantage.

Real estate agents often will not bother to switch on all the lights in your home when they show it — but you can! More and more homeowners are using smart technology to control lights, thermostats, garage doors and more remotely. You don’t need to replace all of your bulbs with smart ones, but a few strategically located ones can make the difference between pulling up to a darkened home and one that is cheerily lit. In addition, smart thermostats are one of the top technological investments home buyers are likely to make, and they can solve one of the major obstacles to showing a vacant home in the winter — staying warm. Tell your heating system to turn on an hour before the buyers show up, and they’re much more likely to want to stick around!

5. Give your home a facelift.

Most Portland homes have garages that face the street. Repainting that garage door can do wonders for your home’s overall appearance — check out some before and after pictures online to see what I mean. Go with a complimentary color or stick to what you’ve always had. You can even add some hardware to make your garage door look like carriage doors! Just be sure to repair any dents or damage to the door before you repaint and decorate, because you can’t cover those things up!

Clean the windows. Super clean windows not only give home buyers the best possible view from inside your home, but they make it look much, much better from the curb as well. To wash the outside of the glass, be sure to have a buddy spot you on the ladder. Use a squeegee and a bucket of soapy water, or better yet, call the professionals!

6. Focus on the front door.

Finally, cleaning is done. For a homey touch, hang a wreath on the front door. They’re fun and easy to make; even easier to buy. Other nice front entry decorations for winter include topiaries, attractive house numbers, solar lanterns, and potted evergreen plants. Oh, and a special request from the showing agent – install a motion sensor light so that we can find the lockbox quickly and easily, getting buyers out of the cold and into your home!

Need more ideas? Not sure how to improve your home’s curb appeal? Contact your Portland real estate agent today!

November 28, 2016

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.25% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.