By Amalie Drury, guest contributor
A great outdoor space is at the top of many home buyers’ checklists. So even if your listing doesn’t include a large lawn or an over-the-top patio, it’s important to show buyers that the home still offers the perks of an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Be sure to avoid these common outdoor staging mistakes.
1. Overgrown Landscaping
Banish the weeds, and trim the bushes. Nothing makes a house look unloved faster than an overgrown lawn or a patio with dandelions poking through every crack. If the home’s current owners aren’t around to keep the landscaping in check, encourage them to hire a weekly service for the duration of the listing.
2. Lack of Furniture
It’s hard to imagine reading on the porch or serving dinner on the patio when there’s no furniture around. On the other hand, if buyers see a dining table with a festive umbrella or a pair of cushioned lounge chairs with a side table for drinks, they’ll perceive the space as valuable additional square footage where they can unwind with family or entertain.
3. Dust and Dirt
When patios and walkways go unused, they collect a layer of grime that should be removed when staging the home. Consider pressure washing surfaces and pay special attention when sweeping and dusting spots like exterior window ledges, thresholds, and basement stairwells.
To the buyer’s eye, certain items your sellers are used to seeing in their yard or on their patio can look like unwanted junk. Encourage your sellers to clear the clutter. Plastic storage boxes, toys (except for nice swing sets, which can be appealing in family neighborhoods), tools, faded furniture cushions, dated lawn sculptures, rusty grills ... all must go.
5. No Flowers
In the right season, colorful blooms in containers, window boxes, or beds can greatly improve the perception of a home’s exterior and outdoor space. Even in winter, you can fill planters with greenery and berries to welcome potential buyers and make the home appear cozy and well tended.