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Staging Your Outdoor Space

It’s a widely held view in real estate that the extra time, effort, or dollars spent on staging your space for listing photographs and virtual or in-person showings can yield a huge return on investment. You want to encourage potential buyers to envision themselves in your home! While it may seem obvious to stage the main living areas indoors, staging your outdoor space should also be a priority.

People are staying home and enjoying time together more than ever. With a few fairly simple touches, your porch, patio, and back yard just may help to seal the deal on the sale of your property. Potential buyers shouldn’t have to think about how to use your space in the short time you have to make a lasting impression. Go ahead and let the space tell the story of how this house just may be your buyer’s next home.

Below are three main areas to consider staging for maximum impact of your outdoor spaces.

First Impressions

The front of your house is often the first image prospective buyers will have of your home. If “location, location, location,” is of utmost importance, then “curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal” is a close second. When someone drives by or sees a photograph of the front of your house, what will they see?

No cost:

Spend a Saturday clearing any debris from your front yard and porch. Mow the lawn, pull weeds from the flower beds, trim the hedges, and if the porch is cluttered, clear it off. Wipe down or repaint the front door if it has scuffs or looks worn. Clean the porch light globe and make sure the bulb is working. Pressure-wash the porch or sidewalk. Make sure there are no loose handles, wobbly steps, or cobwebs. Consider bringing a plant, small table, or pair of chairs from inside to the porch to make it look welcoming.

Low cost:

Refresh the welcome mat, restain the porch steps, plant a few flowers, or new shrubs in the beds. Update your mulch or pine straw. Consider adding your house number or a new mailbox to the front.

With the front view of your house, be sure buyers are seeing potential and aren’t seeing a long list of projects they will need to tackle upon move in. You’ve spent a weekend doing it for them!

Porches and Patios

Believe it or not, routine feedback from buyers says that back porches, deck areas, and patios are often huge selling points in their considerations for buying a home. A properly staged back porch can invite your buyer to see these areas as additional living space beyond a den, kitchen, or living room.

No cost:

If you have any furniture in these areas already, consider rearranging or minimizing to maximize space. Think about creating vignettes! “Shop” from inside your house by adding colorful pillows to rocking chairs. Set a small table beside a chaise lounger with a stack of books or fresh flowers. Spray WD-40 on the doors leading to and from the porch to mask any squeaks. On the patio, use some plastic dishes, chargers, or placemats to stage a picnic table. It will give your buyer an image of entertaining, grilling out with the new neighbors, or enjoying time as a family outside.

Low cost:

Go to the hardware store and get pavers to create a neat walkway from the porch steps to the patio. Don’t have a patio area? Create one! Make sure porch screens are taut and if not, think about correcting the problem. Consider borrowing or buying second hand, a small patio set with a festive umbrella. Add twinkle lights. If your screen porch or deck area has a less than favorable view of a neighbor’s house, purchase an outdoor roller window shade. It may help block out sunlight, but it may also help potential buyers ignore your neighbor’s mess.

Backyard Boundaries

If you think about your potential buyers seeing your house in layers (front porch first and back porch and patio next), then the back yard is the grand finale. Buyers, especially those who may have young children or pets are likely very interested in the space behind your house.

No cost:

Be sure the entrances and exits to the back yard are visibly secure. Mow or manicure the grass. If there are any overgrown areas be sure to clear those out. Is there a distinct or obvious property line? If not, find a creative way to mark it. If you are using your yard to store anything unsightly, go ahead and send it to the trash or recycle bin.

Low cost:

Create a fire pit out of pavers, or set out some inexpensive Adirondack chairs around a corn hole set. If you have a fence, does it need any repairs? Are any trees on your property in need of removal? If so, go ahead and pay to have them removed. If you have a swimming pool, be sure it is looking its best!

Any time, work, or money you invest in making your outdoor spaces appealing to buyers is but a small investment when you consider the payoff of a quick sale or full price offer.