Curb Appeal vs. Backyard Appeal: Which Is More Important to Home Buyers in 2022?
The pandemic has caused an undeniable shift in what buyers are looking for.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has brought major changes to the way we all live our lives and experience our homes. This has translated to major shifts in the real estate industry in terms of what buyers list as a home’s must-have features. While curb appeal has generally been considered the top exterior feature, backyard appeal is rising in popularity. We spoke to a number of real estate experts to see whether curb appeal or backyard appeal is more important to home buyers in 2022.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed home buyers’ priorities.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced people to spend more time at home than ever before and has affected countless industries around the world. It has had a major impact on real estate in several ways, including by causing buyers to shift their priorities when looking for a home. While proximity to work might have been a top priority previously, with so many people continuing to work from home, a larger living space is becoming more enticing.
The pandemic also affected how people use their outdoor spaces. Baron Christopher Hanson of Echo Fine Properties in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, says, “Buyers, families, and their guests have been spending far more time outdoors––grilling, socializing, exercising, playing with their pets, and perhaps swimming or gardening in the fresh air.” Candace Williams, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in San Antonio, Texas, explains that while travel has been limited during this time, “Staycations skyrocketed, and people want their home to be the place they can relax and feel like they are on vacation.”
Backyard appeal is becoming increasingly desirable.
These cultural shifts have caused many real estate experts to agree that backyard appeal is a top priority for buyers in today’s market. Williams says that today, “Backyard appeal is more important than curb appeal because homeowners spend more time in their backyard than their front yard.” She adds, “We see our front yards for a brief moment when coming or leaving home, but we spend hours at a time in the backyard with our families or entertaining guests.”
Brett Riggins, founder of Connect Home Buyers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, agrees, saying, “Backyard appeal is what gets buyers excited today. In the wake of the pandemic, people shifted from worrying so much about the way a home looks to the outside world and are now much more focused on how it feels to live inside it. That includes the bonus living space that the backyard offers.”
According to Harout Keuroghlian, CEO and Principal Broker at JohnHart Real Estate in Los Angeles, “Currently, a backyard that’s ideal for entertaining guests is far more valuable than curb appeal.” He adds, “People have become much more interested in feeling comfortable in their homes than showing them off.”
What are buyers looking for in backyards?
Williams explains that buyers want their backyard to be an extension of their homes. She says that top buyer requests include outdoor kitchens, ample patio spaces, and a place to mount an outdoor TV. She says that “buyers rush to make an offer” if the backyard includes a covered outdoor seating area.
Williams has also noticed an increase in interest in gardening, saying, “A space for gardening or fruit trees is a request I hear more often than before the pandemic.” She adds that “In warmer climates, a pool is a big selling point—especially if it has extra features such as a waterfall, slide, or grotto.”
In terms of what sellers should do before listing, Williams says, “Sellers don’t need to spend too much to increase the appeal of their outdoor living spaces, but they do need to make it inviting.” She adds, “If you don’t have a built-in kitchen, an existing outdoor BBQ pit or grill works well.” Her other recommendations include accentuating the space with outdoor string lights or tiki torches, making sure the backyard is beautifully landscaped, and adding pops of color with flowers.
Experts agree that curb appeal remains important.
While backyard appeal is certainly climbing buyers’ priority lists, the experts we spoke to agreed that great curb appeal is still vital. Realtor and founder of Maximum Real Estate Exposure in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, Bill Gassett explains the importance of making a great first impression, saying, “It starts online first with real estate photography and doesn’t stop there. When the buyer first pulls up the driveway, presentation matters.”
Real estate broker Lambros B. Demos of Royal LePage Realty Plus in Toronto says that it’s about more than just aesthetics, explaining, “If the front of the home is unattractive, then the buyer enters the home with a negative frame of mind looking for other problems.”