Outdoor Rooms

What is Real Estate Landscape Staging?

home for sale with nice landscaping and tidy yard

Is It Necessary to Stage My Landscaping When Selling?

When it comes to selling a property, we hear a lot about home staging the inside, but should we forget about the outside? Certainly not! Landscape staging –  most people refer to this as curb appeal – is exactly what you should be doing. You want to stage the landscaping to appeal to a wide range of potential buyers. If buyers notice too much upkeep, they may be put off by the remainder of the house. If there isn’t enough greenery, and the house appears to be bare especially in the first photos a buyer sees, you will lose out on many buyers who make their first cut after looking at home photos online.

Why is curb appeal important?

Most MLS listings require the agent to display the featured or first image of the house’s exteriors. It’s clear to understand how important curb appeal and landscape staging can be. Buyers may not want to see the rest of the house if they don’t like the first impression, so the curb appeal and landscaping must be perfect.

Curb appeal is more than just how a house looks; it’s also a clever marketing tactic. What is curb appeal if not a type of marketing that aims to sell a home from the outside in? Expectations are set by curb appeal. If a prospective buyer likes what they see on the outside, they are more likely to look inside. When it comes to selling a home, first impressions matter. While improving a property’s outside may not be as thrilling as deciding what to do with the kitchen, it is more crucial in many respects. You want your property to have a “wow” factor at first glimpse. It shouldn’t, at the very least, turn off the vast majority of purchasers. The home’s curb appeal, on the other hand, should inspire consumers to investigate further.

The Internet Is Where Curb Appeal Begins

Almost 90% of homebuyers start their search for a new house on the internet. Having said that, if you want to pique potential buyers’ interest, you’ll need eye-catching photos that highlight your home’s curb appeal. Take many photos of your home at different times of the day for the greatest lighting and without any extra clutter like cars, bikes, toys, and so on. You want to present your home in the best possible light.

Is Curb Appeal Beneficial To Your Home’s Value?

Improving a home’s exterior appeal will increase its value and speed up its sale. Homes are often valued based on the quality and amenities of the interior, making it difficult for financial institutions to determine how much curb appeal adds to the worth of a home. Properties with well-kept lawns and excellent landscaping, on the other hand, sell for 7% more than similar homes with exterior flaws or ugly front yards.

Here are some things you should definitely consider if you’re planning on staging your landscape for sale, which you should definitely do if you’re selling.

1. The importance of landscaping for selling a home

It’s pointless to devote your entire budget to the interior of your property if the exterior is a disaster. The quality of the lawn, landscaping, and any other greenery near the front of the property should be your first priority. Improvements to your landscaping can be as simple or as complicated as you choose.

Types of landscaping to stage a property

Don’t go crazy with a water feature, thousands of plants and trees, and high-maintenance landscaping if your property already has simple landscaping. Buyers will avoid this form of upkeep because it appears to be excessively time-consuming. If you already have these items, attempt to make them more simple so it doesn’t appear as if you have to maintain the yard 24/7.

Stick to native plants, shrubs, and grasses, keep it basic, clean, and low-maintenance, symmetrical, and in good form, and you’ll be sure to entice purchasers to take a closer look. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it count.

2. Examples of Landscaping Stages

In most markets, homebuyers will expect a green, healthy lawn.  Make sure the lawn is mowed regularly to look tidy and well-kept.

Begin with the grass and work your way up. Burned or dirt spots give the impression that the property is old, antiquated, and neglected. Most of the time, the solution is as simple as planting seed and watering the lawn for a few weeks. If the condition is more serious, sod or artificial grass may be an option.

After that, concentrate on the area that is closest to the house. Bushes that are overgrown or withering are unsightly. As a result, they need to be trimmed or removed.

Mulch is another area that needs to be updated. A new layer of mulch may radically change the look of a home’s façade.

The final stage is usually to add colorful flowers in planters near the front door.  This tactic serves to get buyers’ eyes looking where you want them to look and ignore any distracting landscape features.  Don’t be timid with your color selection or the size of your planters.  Remember, people are looking at your front door from quite some distance away.  You don’t want a postage-stamp sized planter.  The bigger the better and the more full of colorful flowers, the better.

How do you know if your landscaping needs staging?

Drive along your street and take note of the first thing that catches your eye when you pull up to get a thorough image of your home’s curb appeal. These are the things that people will notice.  The landscape should lead the eye to the front door and away from anything that you don’t want a potential buyer to look at.  If the first thing people notice is a brown, weed-strewn lawn and overgrown bushes and trees, then your landscaping needs staging.

When should I start staging my property?

Because Mother Nature takes time to do her magic, it is never too soon to begin sprucing up your front and back yards.  New grass grown from seed will take a few months to mature and thicken up.  If you want to line your front walkways with annual flowers, you don’t want them to be in the peak of bloom before or after your listing photos are taken.  Plan accordingly and you will have a riot of color to greet your potential buyers as they walk up to your front door.

Mature landscaping takes time and is not possible in a few month’s time.  If you need more mature plantings, then opt for larger trees and shrubs at the local nursery rather than those in the smallest containers which are usually the cheapest option.

How Much Does Landscaping Cost

When doing landscaping staging for a home, remember that simple is the guideline you want to adhere to.  Your goal is to direct buyers’ eyes to the house itself, the landscaping is just the frame around the house.  Therefore, you needn’t go wild with plantings or your budget.  Simple, clean, lush and low-maintenance is the look you are after.

A home that just needs the lawn fertilized and a few bushes replaced shouldn’t cost more than $250 – $500.  A large planter and flowers might cost upwards of $90, but you can take the planter with you when you move.  Good sized evergreen trees are quite expensive and can cost upwards of $750 or more each but they are the right choice to hide the electric meter (if it’s on the front elevation of your home) or mask a window well from view.

What are some tips for staging your property?

Pro tip 1:  If your home is older, you probably have mature foundation plantings outside your front door.  Foundation plants such as bushes and shrubs are a way for landscape architects to ‘anchor’ your home to the earth visually.  Most every house has some kind of foundation plantings.  However, mature bushes that haven’t been regularly trimmed give off a huge signal that the home is old and tired.  Take a drive down any street where the houses are 50+ years old and notice how many of them have shrubs that have overtaken the front façade of the home and even cover the front windows.  Because these plants are very old, their thick trunks and stems make it impossible to prune them down enough to be attractive.

In more than a few situations, we have completely removed these overgrown shrubs in favor of younger varieties that look new and fresh. This isn’t rocket science – just buy the same kind of plants that were there before. These smaller, tidier versions will give your home a youthful look.  For inspiration, drive by any new home development and look at the size of the foundation plantings that the builder has planted.  This is the size you should purchase for your home.

Pro tip 2: Remove all garden statuary and knick-knacks from the property. Gnomes and fairy gardens are great to have if your hobby is gardening and you enjoy decorating your landscape in this way.  These type of items do not belong in your landscape if you are selling your home.  Similarly, keep garden hoses neatly coiled up near their hose bibs to declutter your landscape.

Pro tip 3: Keep your hardscape clean and debris-free.  Your walkways, patios and decks should be clean. If they are caked with moss or grime they should be power washed to look new and fresh.  The last thing you need is someone slipping on wet moss on your property.

Pro tip 4: If you have low-voltage landscape lighting, make sure the fixtures are clean and standing straight up.  If you use solar pathway lighting, consider removing it before listing your house.  You don’t want to point out to potential buyers that the area is dark at night and you don’t have adequate permanent pathway lighting in your front yards.

Pro tip 5: If you don’t normally have a landscape maintenance or lawn care company tend to your property, consider hiring one temporarily before listing your home.  They will do the polishing work on your landscape that you may not have time for.