When preparing to sell a home, homeowners often hire a staging expert for the interior to showcase their home’s strengths and help it sell more quickly. However, it’s easy to focus so fully on the house itself that the landscape gets overlooked. As a seller, it’s equally important to consider the appeal and livability of the yard, especially because it’s the first thing a prospective buyer encounters. To that end, a few simple, low-cost enhancements can ‘stage’ your home landscape, as well, and result in a more successful sale.
According to Amy O’Brien, a realtor for Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group in Boise,
"First impressions are priceless when selling a home. A beautifully landscaped yard that is ready to go makes a property more inviting for a buyer and sets the tone for what to expect inside. As a Realtor I make curb appeal a top priority, as it leads to more showings and a swifter sale at top dollar.”
It’s easy to find a wealth of information on curb appeal and easy upgrades to the exterior of your home. In this article, we'll look beyond the possibilities of fresh paint and front door hardware and turn our focus to the landscape. Follow these tips to ensure that your landscape is as worthy of showing as your home:
1. Plan Ahead
It’s not always an option, but if you have advance notice of a move, planning ahead can make a huge difference. If selling in the fall, begin working on your landscape in early spring. Planning ahead by a season – even a year or two, if possible –allows time to fix problem areas, especially those that require plant establishment and growth.
For example, if there are undesirable views from your property that require screening, taking the time to build a fence or plant a fast-growing hedge can draw buyers’ attention away from potentially negative aspects of your yard or neighborhood. On a shorter time frame, it’s inexpensive and relatively quick to overseed worn or struggling turf areas, or replace them with new sod. Even so, both options require a bit of grow time.
2. Weed and Mulch
This is a fairly standard annual task for most homeowners, so do weed and mulch just prior to listing. Immaculate planting beds with a fresh layer of mulch make the yard look tidy and well-maintained, implying the same of the home’s interior. If you use shredded bark, it provides the added benefit of rich color and a wonderful wood scent for buyers approaching your front door.
3. Clean Up and De-clutter
Just as you would with your home’s interior, take some time to examine your yard with a critical eye and clear out clutter. To some extent, we cease to really see environments where we spend a lot of time. To work around this common tendency, invite a friend less familiar with your landscape to tour the property and point out areas that may need work. Let them know you expect a firm critique and give them license to be blunt.
Offenders might include everything from the remainder of last autumn’s leaves moldering in the beds to gardening tools, toys, or sports equipment that may be lying around. Take a trip to the thrift store to donate unneeded outdoor items. Stash remaining essential gear out of sight in a garage or shed, or arrange neatly in an inconspicuous corner or edge of the yard.
4. Form and Color
If you’re selling during the growing season and your yard is light on color and landscape interest, consider brightening up planting beds with annuals and/or plants with unusual foliage or textural appeal. This is an inexpensive, nearly instantaneous way to make dull areas pop. Focus your efforts on the approach to the front door and the entry itself. Glazed ceramic pots planted with combinations of colorful annuals help draw attention to the entry and create a vivid welcome for potential buyers.
A beautiful yard is an asset to any home. While potential buyers are often more focused on the home itself than the yard, the landscape presents an opportunity to create a strong first impression, set the tone for the buyer’s visit, and underscore the value of your house. Spending some extra time to ensure that your landscape is attractive and well-maintained – with a rich variety of sun, shade, and color in welcoming outdoor spaces – can have a significant impact, not only on how fast your home sells, but the ultimate selling price.
Posted by Kim Warren