Trying to sell your home or merely updating your exisiting home? Do you want to add to the beauty and enjoyment of your home for many years to come? The let's look at the steps to a successful "Exterior Home Staging."
With the recent decline of the real estate market, there is much talk about what actually sells a home. If you look at any real estate magazine, you may come across a listing titled "Not a Drive By." Why would the agent add that? Because they know that the exterior, or curb appeal, of any home can make or break the sale! For that matter, the "drive by" may be the real estate agent's most valuable tool: If they love the way the house looks form the street, they may want to see more. If they see more- THEY MAY BUY! Just like the retailer that can only make a sale if the customer walks in the store's front door; the home seller can only make a sale if the buyer comes in that home!
I have been in the "Exterior Home Staging" business (i.e. Landscaping) for over 24 years and have personally sold 3 homes myself within one week (each) by applying these techniques both inside and outside my homes when they were in the market.
Let's look at the steps: But before, I have one preliminary step. Get a pen and paper and walk out your front door. Walk across the street, turn around and face your house. Now look, I mean really look, at your home. This needs to be an honest assessment, because this is what a potential buyer sees. Now under each category, write the following down:
1. Accentuate the Positive: What jumps out at you when you first look at your house? Do you have a GREAT front door? Beautiful blooming Azaleas along the front foundation? Add these to your "positive" list. Be honest, if what you see does NOT fall in this category, skip to #2.
2. Eliminate the Negative: Just as before, you need to list EVERYTHING that you see that could have a negative affect on a potential buyer. Do you have an army of kids' toys in the front yard? Did the dog just dig up your remaining small patch of grass? Do large overgrown shrubs hide your beautiful house? Did your once pretty front bench collapse and is still there in a heap? Is the front porch colorless and unappealing? Add all of these things to your "negative" list.
3. Take Inventory; Remove, Re-Use and Recycle: Now, assess what you have on hand that could potentially aid you in your home staging. Go through the attic, the basement and call family members to go through theirs. Do you have a series of colorful, but dusty, pots in the garage waiting to be planted? Dust them off. Does your sister have a great bench you could borrow for a while? Give her a call. Does your neighbor's son owe you some yard work? Add all of these to your list. Anything you can add to this category will make your home staging more cost effective.
4. De-Clutter, then De-clutter some more! This step is probably the most difficult for most homeowners. You need to remove anything that gets in the way of a favorable first impression for your potential buyer. First, you may LOVE the bright orange metal yard art that Aunt Betty gave you, but will that appeal to everyone? Do bigwheels and jump ropes continually litter the front porch? Do you need to remove the overgrown hedge planted by your mother?
You will need to remove clutter and either put those items in storage, or in a rented storage facility until after the sale. Some items may need to be hauled away. De-cluttering makes the area appear neater and more spacious- just what you want a potential buyer to see! You also dont want anything to distract your buyer from seeing the items from category #1- the positive attributes of your home!
5. Add Structure: We are finally to the fun part! Now we can add those items that will really make your home POP and stand out from the sea of other homes for sale. Purchase new shrubs and add them to the front foundation. Add a blooming Camellia at the corner for some height. A quick design by a local Landscape Architect (I admit I am biased!) would be a great help! They would be happy to assist you! Have a local landscape contractor install the shrubs or install them yourself for additional savings!
6. Accessorize: This is the "jewelry" for your home, the final touches! Purchase an outdoor table and chairs for the fornt porch. Add a colorful wreath on the front door to welcome your potential buyers. Plant some perennials near the mailbox and front sidewalk.
Use these steps adn your home will look the way you, or any potential buyer, has always dreamed!
About the Author:
Lori Hawkins, RLA, ASLA has been a registered landscape architect and active in the landscape design/build industry for over 25 years. For additional inspiring project pictures, design ideas, or great garden gifts, take a look at these websites:
GARDEN ART AND GIFTS: WWW.TriadGarden.com
DESIGN WORK PORTFOLIO: WWW.HawkinsLA.com