STAGE YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING AREAS FOR MAXIMUM APPEAL (AND OTHER OUTDOOR AREAS)
In my little corner of the world, Northeastern Massachusetts spring and summer are starting to really pop. If your house is on the market or coming on the market don’t forget to stage your outdoor living spaces! These areas can be almost as important to the house to some buyers.
As it gets cold in the late fall and winter these spaces are quickly forgotten by home sellers and can be unseen by home buyers as they get covered in snow and leaves.
But as it heats up highlight those outdoor living areas whether it is a deck, patio, screened deck or patio.
THE BENEFITS OF STAGING YOUR DECKS AND PATIOS
There are two things that you potentially do when you make the most of your outdoor living areas.
POTENTIAL EXTRA LIVING SPACE
Depending on how your outdoor area integrates with the indoor areas it can help give a home buyer a sense of more living space. Giving them a perception of extra square footage above and beyond what is listed for square footage in the MLS.
A large deck with a place to eat and outdoor seating off the kitchen slider can have a huge appeal if you can make your home buyer want to spend time out there. It will extend the living space right out the kitchen slider onto the deck or patio.
If they can envision utilizing the outdoor space often during the warmer months it will be a huge selling benefit.
If you do a good job staging your outdoor living areas you can help project a lifestyle. Maybe you will leave the home buyers with the thought this is the house family and friends will gather at during the summer…… perfect for those outdoor get togethers. Home buyers always envision entertaining guests whether it is family or friends and want the space to do so.
A smaller home with limited space can be given great appeal with outdoor entertaining
Or maybe there are perfect areas to read or a fire pit perfect for relaxing after a long day.
Show your buyers they don’t have to leave home to “get away”.
No matter what reason you give the buyers to fall in love with your outdoor living spaces it can become a huge selling bonus during the warmer months. Don’t make your seasonal living areas an after thought.
STAGING TIPS FOR OUTDOOR AREAS
Clean– Make sure the outdoor areas are spotlessly clean. You want them to be an asset to the home buyer not just another area that they need to clean and maintain. A power wash can go a long way for outdoor furniture patios and decks to remove moss and mildew. This means declutter and open up the spaces as well.
Make sure your cushion are clean and free from mildew. Potentially you may have to buy new cushions if they can’t be cleaned.
Maintained– Makes sure decks are freshly painted and stained. Repair any decking or loose patio pavers. Make sure the furniture itself is looking good. Painted metal or wood furniture can be quick to paint with a spray can from Rustoleum.
Make sure stairs and railing are not loose and a hazard and any lighting you have is fully functioning.
Functioning– Whenever possible, during showings make sure cushions are out and umbrellas are up. Show outdoor areas fully functioning and to there full potential. Uncover any furniture you may cover when not in use. Of course weather permitting!
Clearly Define Spaces– Define the space. If it is an eating area make it an eating area, if it is a sitting area make it a sitting area. Don’t leave it to the home buyers imagination. Show them how you use and enjoy the space.
Stage for Maximum Appeal– Just like interiors, try to keep your outdoor decor neutral and cohesive and avoid highly personalized decor.
INCLUDE OTHER OUTDOOR AREAS
We talked specifically about decks and patios. But there is other usable space outside that may catch a buyers attention and is to your benefit to show them off in their best light.
Fire Pits– Show them off as a nice relaxing area after a long day where friends and family can gather. Don’t let your fire pit look like a burned out area of grass. Stage with chairs and unburned logs ready to light!
Pools– Nothing worse than having a pool listed on the MLS only to find it to be a maintenance nightmare. Dirty water, cracked decking, liners that are obviously in bad repair, fencing falling over. Keep it in great shape and fully operational, otherwise buyers see it as a huge money pit.
In many cases home buyers find above ground pools unsightly and you may want to consider removing it completely if it is older and not looking its best.
Play Areas- Do you have play equipment in the backyard? This can be a real asset for buyers with children. Make sure it is in good repair and painted or stained to look its best. If it is falling over and has seen better days remove it and plant grass!! Don’t leave the buyers with the impression your eyesore will become their eyesore.
Sheds– Again home sellers tend to neglect sheds. Make sure they are freshly painted, in good repair and get rid of all the junk inside! Show the home buyers the shed is a great place to store outdoor play equipment, tools and outdoor powered equipment by keeping it neat clean and organized.
A cute shed with landscaping around it can be an attractive vignette in the back yard.
Fencing– So fencing might not be an area per se but it can be a sizeable expense that can enhance your outdoor living area. Keep your fence in good shape. Fenced in yards are big plus for home buyers with younger kids and pets. Power wash and paint or stain your fence so it looks fresh and new. If sections need to be repaired or replace do so. If it is beyond repair get rid of it!
FINAL THOUGHT ON STAGING YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING AREAS
Most of these areas around the exterior of your homes can actually cost from a few thousand dollars for some play equipment (yes you can easily drop $5-10,000 on a redwood play set!) or a small shed, $10-20,000 for a mid scale sizeable deck or patio to upwards of $50k to 100k for a pool.
Some of your homes outdoor areas do add some value to your homes price. Often home sellers will approach these outdoor areas as an after thought. But with all things being equal one of these exterior features could tip the scales for a buyer to your property.
When marketing a home think about features and benefits. What is the feature? What is the benefit? For example a large deck could host large family picnics where the interior of you home is just too cramped. Set that deck up to show what a great area it is for warm weather entertaining.
If these areas are left unattended and unused it could just end up be a liability to potential buyers…. On the other hand a little elbow grease and vision can turn these areas into an asset when selling your home!