Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Operation Staging a House: Exterior Makeover in 1 Day

I'd always wondered how things would go if we ever had to move and stage our house. Now I know. Things get seriously crazy!

I don't know if I can even begin to explain the rushing and stress and running around we did for almost 2 weeks prior to putting our house up for sale. All of a sudden we had to get all sorts of home improvement, cleaning, and staging done - and it was really overwhelming! We knew we would need some serious time commitment from both of us, and with the little Con-man around, that just wasn't happening - we needed a backup. Thankfully we were able to fly my mom out for a week to help - and boy, did she save our butts! I don't think we ever would have gotten everything done if it weren't for her. And Tom's mom also dropped by on several occasions to help out when we called her freaking out about how much we still had to get done, haha!

All in all? We got it all done, but it was probably the most stressful 2 weeks of my entire life (well, aside from this incident - but that's a whole different ballgame right there!).

Anyways, when you go to put a house up for sale one of the most important things to attracting buyers is....? C'mon, I know you guys know this - curb appeal! If it ain't got curb appeal, you're gonna have a much tougher time getting buyers inside the house. The exterior of the house needs to appeal to buyers to get them inside the house, which is where you really make the sale.

Unfortunately for us, the exterior of the house had been, for the most part, pretty much neglected while we've owned it. Now I don't mean neglected as in the-grass-is-4-feet-tall-and-is-being-taken-over-by-a-weed-forest type of neglected; I mean neglected as in we had only done a few things to the outside of the house in the 3 years we've lived here.

And it showed. Yikes.

Now, don't get me wrong - it wasn't horrible. But it wasn't very appealing, either. It was dark and very dated. There was practically no landscaping. In short: not welcoming at all.

Thankfully, we had a plan for taking the exterior from drab to - yep, I'm gonna say it - fab.

And the best part?

We did it in less than 24 hours. Booya!

Are you ready for this?

Here's what the house looked like in the morning (well, mostly - this photo was taken the previous summer, as evidenced by the green leaves on the tree and shrub..)...

And here's what it looked like at the end of the day (although it was dark by the time we finished, so I took this photo the next morning!)

Big difference, huh?

Here's the breakdown of what we did:

1) We painted the window/garage/front door trim white. 2 coats of Rustoleum paint is all it took to cover up the dated brown trim and really brighten up the whole house! It was the best 10 bucks we've ever spent.

2) We spray painted the shutters navy. The house is mostly yellow, with some browns and whites thrown in. With the window trim getting brightened with a coat of white paint, the house really needed some contrast to really make things pop. Spray painting the existing shutters accomplished exactly that. And? Funny enough, the yellow-navy color scheme continues as you step into our living room as well... what can I say, I guess I'm just drawn to yellow and navy for some reason.

3) Planted some flowers. We ran up to our local Lowe's to see if they had any flowers in yet (it was fairly early in the Spring, so we weren't sure if they would have any yet) - but luck was with us and they had just gotten a few shipments in! We picked up some fairly cheap and colorful pansies, along with a funky spiral grass plant thing and some other types of plants/flowers. We already had pots and potting soil on hand, so it was easy to just plop the flowers in the pots. Instant color and hominess.

4) New mulch. Nothing says "fresh" and "maintained" like throwing down some new mulch. Bonus: We learned a nifty money-saving tip. If you happen to find a bag of mulch (or soil or fertilizer) at your local Lowe's that has a tear or rip in it, find a salesperson and let them know. They should re-bag it for you (so it doesn't spill) and mark it down to half off! We saved a pretty penny this way!

5) Easy and simple landscaping. We bought some plants and placed them in the ground. Spread a little mulch and called it a day. We had two perfect existing areas to plant them in that had been empty and boring and ugly for years. Not anymore! (we decided to plant them in their pots since it was so early in the Spring season, so if a freeze came we could just take them out of the ground and store them inside to keep them nice and cozy!)

6) No time for landscaping? Here's another solution:

We put some plants into 3 pots of varying sizes and marked in the grass where we wanted a little mulched area to be. We pulled up the grass and put in the mulch. Super easy and it looks pretty cool, if I say so myself!

And - just for reference, here's what that area looked like before:

Much better, right?

So that's everything we did to take our house from this:

To this. Not bad, huh? And it only took us 1 day. Sa-weet.

And because I love big before-and-afters, let's go back in time and take a peek at what the house looked like when we bought it:

Wow - sometimes we can't even believe it's the same house!

It was hard work, but everyone chipped in - including Connor. He was double-checking that the plants were all planted properly before giving them his seal of approval.

Overall it was super satisfying to make such a big difference in just a day. Usually our makeovers take several months, so this was very exciting to see the results so fast!

What do you think? Do you have any tips up your sleeve for staging the exterior of a house for sale? Have you ever planted plants while they're still in their pots, like us?
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  1. The updates look great! We've been talking about painting our shutters and I feel even more inspired now!

  2. That really is awesome how one day's work can make such an impact! Time well spent, for sure.

  3. Good job on the fast facelift, it really did have an impact and freshened the overall look. Connor is still my favorite improvement.

  4. Looks great! All that hard work obviously paid off!

  5. Within no time, the boring outlook of house has turned into attractive exterior.

  6. Congratulations guys, quality information you have given!!!Welcome back!


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