By Annette K. Sullivan
The picture of your backyard may not be the first photo that potential buyers see when they’re home-shopping. But it can be the picture in the lineup that breaks the deal. If your yard looks like it needs work, or it’s messy and weed-ridden, you might be turning off potential buyers. You can get your backyard or patio camera-ready with a few changes. It's one of the details that make a difference when staging your Metro Denver home.
Get the lawn in shape. The lawn is the biggest element that can make your yard look better. It needs regular mowing, edging, and watering — and if it happens to be early spring (late April or May in Colorado), weeding and feeding. A manicured, thick, green lawn will always make an outdoor space look more organized. It also makes it more likely a buyer will linger on the real estate photo of your backyard, imagining themselves enjoying the outdoors.
Likewise, clean up any flower beds by weeding, watering, and fertilizing. Replace any diseased or dead plants and prune your bushes. Cut tree limbs away from your house. If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that a fire-resistant landscape is crucial! A clean landscape increases your home’s value and makes it easier to sell.
Kitchen and Bathrooms
Even if you can’t afford to replace old linoleum with new tile, replace old, worn-out fixtures. Even if you’re planning on staying in your home, new faucets and drawer handles can make the place look new again. Remove peeling caulk and apply a fresh layer.
You want your patio furniture to multitask. An outdoor bench can double as a storage trunk for toys, tools, or anything else that accumulates in this space. Even better, buy individual crates to organize your tools, spare pots, bags of soil, and fertilizers individually. Place the crates on the shelves of a gardening bench for a polished, magazine-ready look. The tools will also show a buyer that you keep up with home maintenance.
There’s no consensus on whether a shed will give you a return on investment, but many real estate professionals agree: A shed will increase the marketability of your home. That’s because a shed can hold a plethora of yard tools, bicycles, or foldable patio furniture. You can spend anywhere from a few hundred bucks on a prefab shed, to tens of thousands of dollars on a custom-built shed on a poured foundation. If you have a very small backyard or just a patio, a storage cabinet will do the trick.
First, power-wash the patio and any concrete or stone walkways. Even the best hardscaped design won’t impress people if it’s covered in dirt or grime. Then, show off that clean patio or walkway by tossing any outdoor furniture that’s broken, rusted, chipped, dated, or mismatched. In its place, you can buy (or rent from a house staging company) a matching set of up-to-date outdoor furniture. Accessorize it with some containers of herbs or flowers grouped together and a clean grill or smoker. The idea is to help potential buyers imagine themselves using and enjoying your backyard or patio.
You may have painted all your interior walls the recommended neutral color and gussied up the front porch, but don’t forget the details that will make a difference. Spend a few dollars on new, bigger house numbers, new porch lights, and even a bright, new mailbox. It will pay off at your closing.
Annette K. Sullivan is a real estate writer and home stager who spends her free time in her garden that she has filled with native blooming plants. She is trying to break her Labrador retriever of a bad bee-eating habit.
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