Getting ready to put your house on the market? We surveyed local design and landscape experts for quick and easy ways to make your home look its best, both inside and outside.


Teddy Karl, The Great Cover-Up

--Keep it fresh and clean. Add new, pretty pillows to the couch or bedroom if your current ones are old. New towels and shower curtains in the bathroom also will go a long way.

--Maximize size and space. You may have your favorite chair in a favorite spot to watch TV, but you want to make the room look attractive to potential buyers. Forgo everyday living to make the house look as nice as possible.

--Initial impression. The first notion someone should have walking into the house is of cleanliness and spaciousness. Don’t over-furnish the foyer, and if your stair runner is dirty, do something about it, even if it means removing it. I’d rather see no runner on a pretty staircase than a pretty staircase with an old, faded runner.

--Photogenic. Without sprucing it up first, take two or three photos in every room. Once you print the images, there are so many things you’ll notice, like the ugly cord hanging from a lamp. It’s a lot easier to critique a photograph, and you always can ask a friend to be brutally honest for you.

Jane Ganz, Directions in Design

--Illuminate. Light and bright is the key. Make sure all of the light fixtures throughout the house, including the bulbs, are very clean. If necessary, add additional lights where needed to brighten areas.

--Open up. If your draperies cover a lot of the window, pull them back, or consider removing them altogether. It’s sometimes better to have no window treatments than ones that are heavy, dark or outdated.

--Sensory appeal. The smell of the home is very important. You can use scented candles throughout the house, but make sure they are all the same scent as to not overpower.

--At your feet. Repair or touch up any floors or baseboards that have been scratched up.


Drew Goding, The Hard Work Yard Work Company

--Curb appeal. A 2010 University of Florida study found that similar homes varied in sale price by as much as 20 percent due to curb appeal, primarily the landscaping. It also can be the difference between potential buyers slowing down to glance at a property and actually stopping to look.

--Cleaning house. Pay attention to the outside of your home. Power-wash all siding, touch up paint, wash all windows, repair or replace any broken concrete or worn and rotted wood, seal the driveway and clean out gutters and downspouts.

--Keep it modern. Replace shrubs or bushes that date the house. For example, yew hedges across the front of a home were popular in the ’60s and ’70s.

--Take out the trash. Remove any brush or debris piles on your property, even along the edges or in wooded areas. Eliminate ‘junk’ that clutters the yard—empty planters, toys, broken trash cans, abandoned sports equipment, etc.—things that you may not pay attention to, but potential buyers will notice.

Brad Meyer, M&P Landscaping

--Set the stage. Before showing your home, always get the grass cut and yard blown. Get rid of sticks, pull weeds and prune your plants. These small steps will make the place look like a million bucks.

--Low-maintenance. If you have empty beds or bare spots in the yard, go with low-maintenance plants like boxwoods and shrub roses.

--Eye-catching. The front yard is the most important. Potential buyers don’t want to see a lot of work in front of them, so make it look well-maintained and clean.

--Outdoor living. If you have a patio, spruce it up with flowers, or a table and chairs, so people can picture themselves living there.

David Sherwood, Sherwood’s Forest Nursery

--A welcome mat. Put a couple of nice pots outside the front door with a seasonal flowering plant, such as pansies, tulips or even a blooming azalea. It’s a simple addition that adds immediate impact.

--Clean and color. Clean up all of your beds, rake leaves and add a new layer of mulch with a spade cut, which will make everything in your landscaping look better. Early March also is a good time to plant attractive perennials in the beds to add color.

--Less is more. If you have any trees or plants that are marginal—half-dead or dead—remove them. You don’t have to replace the plants, just lay mulch over the area.

--Embrace the seasons. If your yard has bigger needs, plant trees or plants that will add interest. Choose nice ornamental trees like magnolias or Japanese maples for appropriate spots in the landscaping to add seasonal interest and color.