Homebuyers can be highly selective, especially in a competitive buyer’s market rife with available properties. Staging your home with modern, attractive features can make your property irresistible and trigger offers to flow in. But neat and stylish staging is just as important outdoors as it is indoors. In fact, a beautiful yard can actually make or break a potential sale. Follow these six tips to stage a clean, appealing front and backyard that will convert more showings into offers.
1. Clean up clutter
Buyers touring your house should be able to picture themselves living there, but outdoor clutter can make valuable square footage seem limited, tight, and unusable. Enough of it can even make a yard downright unappealing. Cleaning up and putting away supplies, toys, and other items left in your yard will lend a more spacious look suggesting plenty of opportunities for enjoyment.
Put all yard maintenance and gardening supplies away in a closet or your garage. If you have tools that you don’t plan on using again before you move, like fertilizer or a tiller, move these supplies to offsite storage—remember, visitors may look inside closets and the garage to assess their storage potential as well, so don’t overstuff these areas.
2. Tidy up and maintain your yard
Clean walkways, patios, driveways, and other hard surfaces to create the illusion that your home is fairly new. If you have caked-on dirt or stains, pressure-wash them away. Sweep outdoor surfaces before every showing with a sturdy outdoor broom.
Pull weeds regularly, and prune overgrowths like shrub branches that extend into walkways. If you have dead or dying plants, extract and replace them immediately. Refill any gaps in your mulch, gravel, or other ground cover as well. Make sure all stones and pavers are in place, and swap out cracked pieces with matching replacements.
3. Repair damaged concrete
Broken concrete is practically synonymous with an old, abandoned home, right up there with peeled siding and shattered windows. If you want your home to look well-maintained and modern, invest in concrete repair: fix cracks, replace broken edges and seams, and fill soil washout (visible erosion under concrete surfaces) with fresh dirt.
For a good value, you can even stain or paint bare concrete surfaces, especially for outdoor entertaining spaces like a large front porch or backyard dining area. Extra color and visual texture in these areas can inspire homebuyers to imagine hosting events on the property.
4. Boost your curb appeal
Curb appeal defines how attractive your home looks from street level. In other words, it’s the first impression your home gives potential homebuyers when they initially walk or drive up. Make a great impact, and they may be interested in buying before they even step through the front door.
The secret to better curb appeal is having lively landscaping that ornaments your front walkway and the facade of your house. Layer shrubs and flowers along the perimeter of the foundation and sidewalk, and decorate a spacious front porch or patio with potted greenery. Ultimately, the goal is to direct visitors’ eyes up to your front door, as if to welcome them in. You may want to depend on a pro to improve your curb appeal, but consider this a worthy investment—according to the American Society of Landscape Architects, professional landscaping can add up to 20 percent more value to a home.
5. Prune your trees effectively
Tall, mature trees are also hugely impactful on home sales. The grand character and pleasant shade they cast on homes can make them practically irresistible. To make adult trees look even larger, remove leafy growths on the trunk and extract branches that hang low. This will lead the eye upward into the canopy.
What if you’re selling a fairly new home or builder-grade property with young trees? Your best bet may be to leave them be, removing only dead or discolored growths. Any mass you can maintain, even growths on low branches or the trunk, will make these smaller trees appear at least slightly fuller.
6. Create eye-catching locales
Possibly the most important rule of thumb when staging your home is to make it entertaining ready. For example, stage a seating nook on your front porch with a small cocktail or end table so buyers can image themselves hosting loved ones there. If you have the budget to do so, decorate this nook with decorative accents like pillows and potted plants.
Do the same in your backyard. As one of the last places people visit during a home tour, your backyard should be a final note that lingers in house hunters’ memories. Try to create at least two entertaining zones: one near the door, and another further into your yard. You don’t have to build an entire outdoor kitchen; even a simple set of chairs around a firepit will do nicely. Staging your backyard in this way will make your home more remarkable—and may motivate buyers to put in a competitive offer before they lose their opportunity.