So, you’re putting your house on the market, and you’ve perfectly staged the interior: the foyer is fabulous, the dining room is decadent, bedrooms are beautiful. You’re sure to snag a buyer now! Right?
Well, not so fast. Before some buyers even consider checking out the inside of a home, you need to hook them with an inviting exterior. In the real estate world, this is called “curb appeal,” and it’s a major part of selling a home that some first-timers forget about or simply put the bare minimum effort into. But not only can “curb appeal” help get buyers in the door (literally), it can actually even improve the value of your home and elicit higher bids.
How do you enhance your curb appeal to make the overall impression of your home even more favorable? Here are 4 fast tips that will give your property some extra charm:
While your front yard is your main source of curb appeal, your backyard may also weigh heavily on prospective buyers’ decisions. People like to visualize what it would be like to relax in their brand new backyard, and you don’t want any unseemly messes getting in the way of their daydream! Furthermore, you want these areas to seem as airy and spacious as possible - loose “stuff” lying around will make your backyard seem smaller than it is. So Clean up your clutter! Be sure to pick up all:
● Toys and games
● Garden tools
● Statues and ornaments (with some exceptions - see below)
● Artwork and decor
● Decorative flags
● Old or worn-out gadgets, gizmos, and things
● Furniture covers, loose pillows, or beat-up cushions
Sometimes, it may be ok to leave some statues and ornaments out, like birdbaths or water features - used sparingly and tastefully, these can actually make your backyard seem more pleasant, especially when placed in a “Rejuvenating Area” (see the “zones” tip below). But you will definitely want to consider getting rid of any statues, ornaments, and especially artwork and flags that may have personal significance to you but could be a turn-off for your buyers. Pink flamingo garden ornaments are an example: some people may think they’re just tacky, even if you think they are fun, and seeing them in your yard could potentially dissuade a buyer.
Once you’ve cleaned up your clutter, you’ll want to make sure your lawn and gardens are as manicured and gorgeous as possible. First, make sure your grass is mowed and watered so it looks clean and vibrant - no one ever looked at patchy, ankle-high crabgrass and thought, “this is a place I’d like to live”. Then, trim bushes and trees near walkways. Not only does this look clean and cared for, but it will also make it so potential buyers don’t have to sidestep around wayward bush branches and duck under tree limbs. Obviously, around your entire property you will want to get rid of any dead plants and make sure to thoroughly weed your yard.
Finally, for optimal curb appeal, you should definitely consider giving your driveways and stone or gravel pathways a good power-washing to get rid of the Three D’s: dust, dirt, and debris. And while you’re at it, maybe turn that power washer on any aluminum siding you might have. You will be amazed at how much cleaner your stone and metal surfaces will look after being pressure-cleaned.
Staging a clean, lively, and cozy porch or patio is one of the easiest and most effective ways to add some verve to your home and boost its curb appeal substantially.
Try setting up some potted plants on a coffee table or side table, or try hanging planters filled with bright, cheery flowers to greet curious home shoppers. Plantlife, so long as it's well-maintained, makes a home feel much more homely and alive. But again, remember the tip above, and don’t neglect your landscaping! Trim dead leaves and petals off of your decorative potted plants so they look their best.
The lighting on your porch and in your backyard is also incredibly important. Obviously, you will want to make use of all the natural lighting you can (it’s no good placing a potted plant in a dark, shadowy area of the porch, where few people will see it). But some people forget that home shoppers like to drive by properties at night, as well, so you will definitely want to invest in some quality outdoor lighting to illuminate not only the front of your house, but the walkways, driveway, and any other features you think can really sell the house. Solar-powered walkway lights are very popular right now, as are industrial string lights. Spotlights, used sparingly, will be very effective at highlighting specific features. Play around with it and find the perfect lighting for your front and back yards!
Finally, make your patio appear especially cozy and fun with some nice, cushioned outdoor chairs and furniture. Get rid of the cheap plastic seats and invest in quality all-weather materials like HDPE wicker, teak, rust-proof aluminum, and others - after all, whatever furniture you buy for staging, you’ll be taking with you to your new home! Always make sure any furniture you put on display is outdoor-grade, especially if you live in more weather-prone areas. Artfully staging furniture on your porch goes a long way to accentuating curb appeal. We recommend Patio Productions for your furnishing and staging needs.
Having purpose-made “zones” designated in your backyard will make the whole space feel more tidy and refined. It’ll also make your backyard feel more fun and welcoming! There are three “typical” or common zones in most well-tailored backyards.
● The Dining Area: The backyard is a great place to gather with friends and family for a nice sunlit lunch or dinner! That’s why you need a “dining zone.” This area should have a table and chairs, and look as if it’s ready to entertain friends and family with a nice al fresco meal. Consider bistro-style lighting to complete the look, and consider putting the dining zone between your home/kitchen area and your “Entertaining” area.
● The Entertaining Area: The second area you should focus on is a cozy seating area. This includes sofa sectionals, daybeds, swings, or a group of chairs around some kind of social focal point, such as a fire pit. The Entertaining area should look ready for any mid-size party or gathering. It’s a great place to hang out and have a laugh with friends after dinner.
● The Rejuvenating Area: The third zone you will want to delineate is a small retreat, somewhere separate and isolated from the others, likely near a garden or water feature at the other end of a stone or gravel walkway. This should be a quiet, serene space in the backyard where the buyer can see themselves visiting for some much-needed peace and quiet. A nice, cozy rejuvenating area should have a loveseat or a pair of conversation chairs, but not be large and furnished enough to seat more than a few people. “Intimacy” and “seclusion” are the keywords here.
If you are selling your home, we hope that you will consider putting as much effort into staging your outdoor living spaces as you do for your indoor spaces - it really can make a world of difference, and hook some serious buyers. These tips are a great starting point, but always seek out more advice from blogs and of course, your real estate agent or other professional - the better you stage your home, the more you’ll sell it for.