Prioritize Outdoor Spaces
While many home sellers prioritize preparing their interior spaces for open houses and home visits, neglecting the exterior can be a costly mistake. The first thing that prospective buyers see when visiting a home is its outdoor space, which is why it pays to make a knock-their-socks-off first impression. Follow these simple tips to ensure that your home’s exterior entices potential buyers, rather than scaring them away.
To prepare your outdoor space before putting your home on the market, start with a clean canvas. Clear out the rain gutters, sweep dirt and leaves from pathways, and clean shutters and windows. If you don’t own one, consider renting a pressure washer to deep clean the home’s exterior, as well as the deck, patio, and fencing.
Related: How To: Pressure Wash a House
Any home-staging expert will tell you that clearing clutter is an essential step to staging a home, and this rule applies just as much to the exterior as it does the interior. Make sure to tuck away any children’s toys, gardening equipment, trash cans, and barbeque grills before moving on to the next step in the staging process.
Remove Anything Personal
Creating a blank slate is one of the main principles of home staging. Prospective buyers should be able to imagine themselves living in the home—don’t distract them with your personal possessions. While you may love your quirky garden gnomes, seasonal decorative flag, and personalized mailbox with your family’s name on it, it’s best to put those items in storage until they can be used at your new home.
Spruce Up Landscaping
After cleaning and decluttering, the next step in staging your home’s exterior is to make sure the lawn and gardens look their best. Mow the lawn and rake leaves before showings. Weed the garden and spread a fresh layer of mulch in your flower beds to create a uniform look. Trim bushes and hedges, and cut away any dead branches.
Ensure Water Features Look Pristine
A water feature can be a significant selling point for a home, but it can also detract from your home’s value if it isn’t properly cleaned and maintained. Sellers with pools, hot tubs, fountains, or ornamental ponds should be vigilant about maintaining them by removing leaves and algae that accumulate. Keep the water clean, too, by replacing filters regularly.
Consider Outdoor Lighting
When used correctly, outdoor lighting is also an excellent tool for creating ambiance. A string of bistro lights brightens up a small yard or patio and helps buyers to imagine nighttime entertaining. Use spotlights to illuminate garden beds or other exterior features.
Even though most home showings occur during the day, it’s still important to make sure that exterior light fixtures are in working order. Update outdated sconces and ensure no bulbs are burnt out.
Help buyers picture themselves lounging and entertaining in your yard or on your deck by adding outdoor seating. There are seating options to suit spaces of any size. A bistro set works well on a tiny patio, a fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs is great for a larger yard, and a porch swing can be an incredible statement piece. Plan out plenty of soft surfaces so buyers can imagine curling up with a book or glass of wine.
Create Defined Living Areas
While some yards have clearly defined outdoor living spaces, you may need to get creative if all you have to work with is a patch of grass or, in an urban setting, a concrete slab. Laying an outdoor rug and artfully arranging a sofa and coffee table may inspire potential buyers to think about how they’d take advantage of your patio space.
Potted plants are an easy way to add extra color and greenery to your yard without shelling out for a landscape designer. Planting colorful annuals in pots (or flower beds, if you have them) can make outdoor space feel cheerier. Planting window boxes with bright blooms and hanging baskets of flowers from deck posts or railings can add visual appeal and plenty of charm.
Throw pillows and decor pieces are pleasing to the eye and can make a space feel cozy and pulled together. Think about the final touches you can add to help buyers imagine themselves in your space: Setting the outdoor table with placemats and a floral centerpiece, for example, or accessorize your wicker furniture with cozy cushions. While a few pops of color work well when accessorizing, use restraint and keep the overall decor style neutral.
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