Selling From the Outside In

Your yard is the first and last thing potential buyers see, and it can make or break a sell. Follow these tips for creating landscaping that’s ideal for resell.

Define Your Space

Divide and define your outdoor space, especially in the backyard. You can do this with a walkway, your pool or hot tub, a planter, or an edged lawn space. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are three suggestions.

Create a Garden

Whether it’s flowerbeds along the back of the house or a centerpiece by the back door, interesting greenery can be a big asset. But don’t go overboard. Plant perennials and hardy plants that can survive the local climate without a lot of maintenance. Steer clear of plants that aren’t native or are susceptible to disease.

Plant an assortment of foliage for a pop of color and variation in the landscape, but don’t forget to leave open lawn space. This space will be great for play with the kids and dog, or having company over. Be sure to keep the lawn weed-free and well-maintained.

Build a Deck

Decks and patios provide outdoor spaces for relaxation and entertaining. Deck additions are a great outdoor investment. In fact, homeowners can anticipate an estimated 65-90% return on the investment of adding a deck.

You don’t have to break the bank designing and installing an elaborate patio, but you should plan an addition that fits the space and complements the style of your home. If you can afford a wood or cobblestone patio space, it will be well worth the investment. But if not, a poured concrete deck is better than not having one at all.

Pay Attention to Fencing

Your fencing choice for your yard may seem inconsequential, but the beauty and privacy provided by your fencing is an important selling factor. Don’t waste money on chain link just to get a fence out there, though. In most neighborhoods, chain link looks cheap and unattractive. Many buyers are hesitant to buy a house where they will have to tear things out and replace them.

If you can, invest in wood fencing. Alternate board fencing, with wood like cedar, is particularly popular.

Maintain the Buyer Friendly Features

Consult with a real estate agent to decide what the most promising assets of your home are. If you have a pool or hot tub, carefully maintain them. These are big backyard selling points.

Make any need repairs to your siding and paint job. These exterior details make a big difference in your home’s overall impression.

Keep it Simple

It may seem like installing a play-set or a gorgeous statue-fountain out back could be the just the push your yard needs, but don’t sabotage your reselling odds. What are the chances that potential buyers have kids the same age as yours with exactly the same taste in play equipment? Probably only slightly better than the chances that the average buyer will purchase house based on a water feature (no matter how attractive it is).

If you decide to personalize your yard, buy features you’d like to (and can) take with you when you move. As with decorating and staging the inside of your home, your yard should encourage potential buyers to imagine themselves living there. Spend your outdoor budget creating a simple, inviting space for potential buyers to picture themselves in.

If you aren’t sure whether or not to spend the money to refinish your deck or install a sprinkler system, take a cue from your neighbor’s yards. If the yards in the area are professionally landscaped, go ahead and allocate more of your staging budget to your outdoor areas. If local yards aren’t particularly impressive, take time to make sure your landscaping is neat, simple, and well-maintained. Talk to your HOA or real estate agent if you have other concerns about staging your yard.

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