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When it comes to real estate, a streamlined presentation throughout is crucial — especially when the weather warms up and buyers are dreaming about enjoying their new home’s fresh-air offerings.
To plan ahead, here’s what the pros say should and shouldn’t be on your front porch once you’re ready to open your home to buyers. These four tips may be the difference between a bidding war and crickets.
“Just like inside a home, clutter is a vibe-killer,” says Joe Piasecki, a Los Angeles-based Realtor with The Cunningham Group/Keller Williams Advisors. “It really hinders potential buyers’ ability to picture themselves living in the home and being able to decorate the space according to their own aesthetic preferences.”
A good rule of thumb, Washington-D.C.-based Realtor Harrison Beacher says, is to be sure that no more than one-third of the porch surface area is covered with furniture or other items. “There’s nothing worse than buyers being given fuel to be distracted because the first thing they see is furniture that’s not necessary,” he added.
Tyler Draheim, a Denver-based Realtor at Coldwell Banker Realty and a member of the board of directors at the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR), stresses that first impressions are everything. “When potential buyers drive by or show up to your home, curb appeal is the first thing they judge a home on,” he says. “Your yard should be cut and weeded, and your front porch should be clutter-free.” Remove any snow equipment and Christmas or holiday decorations if it’s long past the season, and everything that’s old or worn out. That means weather-battered light fixtures, tattered door mats, and faded accessories should get the boot.
Piasecki notes if there are important personal items on the porch that you don’t want to part with, just tuck them in the garage during showings. Buyers are used to seeing a few items in the garage as homeowners are in the process of moving.
It’s amazing what a little elbow grease will do before a showing. “Give your front porch a deep clean or pressure wash to remove any salt and dirt from the winter and snow,” Draheim says. “Buyers will take notice of the pride of ownership, and will walk into the home with optimism and positive vibes, which could lead to more offers.”
In addition to a good power or pressure wash, homeowners should be mindful of any repairs needed, such as cracks in the concrete, torn screens, or peeling paint, says Keri Duffy, a Denver-based broker associate at Kentwood Real Estate and member of the DMAR board of directors. “Buyers will be checking out the porch with a discerning eye while they wait for their agent to unlock the front door,” she added. “Sweep away dirt, cobwebs, and old wasp nests. Eliminate anything that blocks the path to the front door or might be a trip hazard.”
Lastly, Draheim says a freshly painted and clean front door is one of the least expensive and best upgrades a seller can make.
Make Your Porch Feel Welcoming
Now that your porch has become cleaner and more spacious, a few simple decorations and fresh flowers can help make buyers feel welcome before they step foot inside your home, Draheim says.
Piasecki agrees, adding that a bench or small potted plant that complements the overall style of the home could add value, as long as it’s small and doesn’t take up too much space. “Keep the front of the home looking as clean as possible, and in a way that’s coherent with the rest of the open house experience,” he says. “The front porch should be a value-add extension to that front door.”
Besides plants and seating, you should also consider swapping out dated house numbers with new ones for a quick update that will go a long way, Duffy says.