Stage Your Outdoor Living Areas and Increase Your Homes Appeal

don't forget to stage your outdoor living spaces 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!  The outdoor living areas can be almost as important as 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, gazebo, pool or any other area outside your home.

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.  It can give a perception of extra square footage above and beyond what is listed for the living area of your home 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.

Rusted furniture and mildewed cushions don’t inspire the outdoor living space I am talking about.

If your home buyers can envision utilizing the outdoor space often during the warmer months it will be a huge selling benefit.  And depending on the space, here in New England, use of your outdoor areas can extend from late March until November.

One of our favorite areas is the firepit which is a cozy firepit surrounded by Adirondack chairs and it is a great place to entertain family and friends even in the colder months.

A Lifestyle

If you do a good job staging your outdoor living areas you can help project a lifestyle.  Sell the buyers on a lifestyle and you have sold your home!!

Keave the home buyers with the thought your house 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 indoor space can be given greater appeal if you can extend entertaining space to your outdoor living areas.

Or maybe there are perfect areas to read and relax or a fire pit for the family to gather 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 afterthought, make them an integral part of your home.

don;t make your outdoor living areas an afterthought

Staging Tips for Outdoor Living 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 decluttering and opening up the spaces as well.

Make sure your cushions are clean and free from mildew.  Potentially you may have to buy new cushions if they can’t be cleaned.  But it will be money well spent.

Maintained–  Makes sure decks are freshly painted and stained.  Repair any decking or loose patio pavers.  Make sure the furniture itself looks good.  Painted metal or wood furniture can be quickly painted with a spray can from Rustoleum.

Lighting- Make sure your outdoor areas are well-lit.  In today’s age of battery-powered LED lights you can bring light anywhere.  Remember often times after a long day of work the sun is starting to set, but can be great areas to relax.

Functioning–  Whenever possible, during showings make sure cushions are out and umbrellas are up. Show outdoor areas fully functioning and to their 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 a big plus for home buyers with younger kids and pets.  A fence can also provide much-needed privacy. 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 home’s outdoor areas do add some value to your homes price.  Decks and patios are one improvement with a higher return on investment than other home improvement projects.

Often home sellers will approach outdoor living areas as an afterthought. And spring, summer and early fall are a great time to highlight your awesome outdoor living areas.

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 your 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 they could just end up being 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!

Your outdoor spaces also can add some real pop to your listing photos online.  Don’t let your outdoor areas be an afterthought.

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