You have got this whole house selling thing down. You've timed the market, your asking price is competitive, and your living room looks like something out of Real Simple magazine. There's no way a potential buyer would pass on your place. That is, until they pull into the driveway and see the dead rosebush along the walkway. Or the kids toys piled next to the garage. Or… is that… dog poop in the yard?
Curb appeal is the real deal. You can spend all the time in the world turning the interior of your house into a showroom, but your front yard is the first impression home buyers have of their potential investment. Being greeted by an unkempt, unattractive landscape sets the tone for the entire showing, and not in a positive way. According to Bankrate, curb appeal is important to 71% of buyers when choosing a home. With a bit of work, your reward will be a more appealing home — and a faster sale.
1. Keep it Clean
Well, yeah, you need to pick up that poop. But it's all too easy to learn to ignore blind spots of other messes in the yard. Take a look at your yard from the street in front of your house and make a note of what is most readily visible. Pull any dead plants or noxious weeds, prune hedges, and gather up loose twigs or branches that may be strewn across the lawn.
Dead leaves and litter love to gather in bushes, so be prepared to put on a pair of gardening gloves and tidy up. Sweep your driveway and walkways, and brush dirt and cobwebs from window sills. If they still appear dirty or stained, a few hours with a power washer will have them looking like new.
2. Cut the Clutter
The buyer should focus on your home, not your stuff. Gather any stray toys from the yard, make sure hoses are neatly coiled, and store rakes and other garden tools in the shed or garage. When it comes to staging your yard, less is more. Don't crowd all potted plants or decorations in one area, particularly in a small space where it could feel suffocating.
3. Fix it Up
Maintenance is key to both appearance and safety. Inspect hard-scapes like patios to ensure there are no loose or uneven spots. Make sure walkways are clear and well-lit. Look for any areas where water might pool or back up into the house. A fenced yard can be a magnet for dog owners — inspect yours for loose boards or gaps underneath, and make sure gates are in good working order.
4. Lead Me to Your Door
The yard looks great, so far so good. What next? Let your landscaping draw the buyer's eyes toward the front door. After all, they'll be spending some time there while the real estate agent opens the lockbox. Catching their eye is easily accomplished with some strategically placed solar stake lights and colorful potted flowers. In colder climates, tasteful seasonal planters are a surefire way to add a touch of charm and warmth to your front porch.
5. Go Native
There's a misconception that “native” equals “messy.” The truth is, diverse groupings of plants indigenous to your geographic area create a stunning and vibrant landscape that's sure to turn more heads than the typical grass lawn.
Native plants attract and sustain a wide array of birds and pollinating insects throughout the year. Plus, unlike grass lawns, which require constant mowing, watering, and fertilizing, native plants are relatively self-sustaining, requiring little in the way of water or maintenance. Even dedicating a few square feet to native flowers and grasses will yield a striking focal point in your yard.
6. Contrast and Edges
Contrasting colors and sharp, clean edges are pleasing to the eyes and will give your yard a groomed appearance. Edge around flower beds or vegetable gardens by digging six inches into the soil with a sharp shovel. Place light colored flagstones along a path of dark mulch, or plant dark purple flowers in a bright yellow flower pot.
7. Make it Livable
For many homeowners, the backyard is an extension of the living room or kitchen. They gather to eat, talk, or just relax after a tiring week. There are loads of options to turn your back patio into a cozy and inviting space where buyers can imagine spending time. If you have space, consider an outdoor living set complete with sofa, table, and chairs. Place a vase of fresh flowers on the table, or even lay out a few colorful place settings and a pitcher of ice water. Fire pits are popular, especially during the cooler months — even a small, free-standing fire pit can serve as a focal point on your patio. If you're short on room, just a chair and a small side table evokes images of relaxing with a book on a pleasant summer afternoon.
If you're ready to sell, now's the time to team up with a Clever Partner Agent! Clever partners exclusively with top-rated, full-service real estate agents from respected brokerages like Century 21 and RE/MAX. They may not be master gardeners, but they'll help you every step of the way, from pricing your home based on the local market conditions, listing, marketing, and showing, to navigating negotiations and closing costs.
Best of all, Clever Partner Agents will sell your home for a flat fee of $3,000— or 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000. Ready to get started? Simply fill out this no-obligation online form and a Clever rep will be in touch shortly.