Making the Most of Outdoor Spaces During Open Houses

by Alex ThatcherOctober 17, 2018

Staging is undoubtedly a successful part getting top dollar and a quick sale when listing a house, however, not everyone takes full advantage of their space when beginning this process. Often times emphasis is placed on the interior, rightly so since living rooms, master bedrooms, and kitchens are known to sell houses. Yet, by giving a little bit more attention to outdoor spaces, it can create a more cohesive design and also present an opportunity to impress your potential buyers.

Beyond the basics of preparing your outdoor areas with clean, clutter-free spaces with tastefully arranged furniture and updated landscaping, identifying any bonus areas can maximize your return on your open house. Here are some areas and easy ways to make the most of your space and styling.

Open House

First Impressions

The front of your house is not the most important place to make a statement, but it is the moment where buyers will immediately begin forming how they’ll view the entire house. So make this impression count if you have a front porch or landing that can fit any welcome materials or beneficial information. For homes with no landing or porch, a new decorative welcome mat, seasonal wreath or banks of flowers are a great way to greet buyers. For those with a full front porch with space to arrange a small table display, this is a good spot to have your home’s informational flyers, fresh flowers or a welcome sign.

While you want to find some space for buyers to have a place to discuss and reflect after their tour, try not to create a spot where they can linger out front for this, as other potential buyers might overhear or be influenced by seeing people just as they first see the house. It’s best if you want to designate a spot for this to be elsewhere around the house.

Backyards and Patios

Spacious backyards, fun decks or tranquil patios can all be amazing selling points and you can get the most return for your effort in staging these outdoor areas. This serves as a better location to end a tour and also an area for buyers to converse and reflect on the house with a bit more privacy. So make sure it’s inviting, comfortable and plays up the best aspects of the space.

Power wash any siding that’s visible and any wood, brick or tiling that is present along with basic lawn care and landscape maintenance. If you have outdoor furniture that’s still in good condition, make sure it’s freshly cleaned and neatly arranged. Anything broken or rusty you might want to get rid of early, store elsewhere, or cover with a tablecloth. Make sure any seating has a clean, dry cushion and everything is anchored down so it won’t fly away.

During milder days and seasonable weather, this is also an ideal setup for providing additional materials for potential buyers, from information about local amenities, schools, and libraries or extra copies of your home’s details. Having people end their tours outside is also a good chance to offer refreshment. This shows off the value of the area and you’re thinking of their comfort by welcoming them to the house, without them lingering in your home and potentially spilling drinks or leaving crumbs inside.

Tabletop tray displays or even a styled bar cart with water bottles or a pitcher of lemonade and some snacks can be put together with minimal time and effort for you, but go a long way with buyers who are trying to put together their thoughts about your house.

Back Porch Patio

Sunrooms and Offices

Functional spaces don’t always have to be outdoors, with sunrooms, screened-in porches or home offices, it can be tough to get across just how much value these can add to the home. Similar to fully outdoor areas, coffee top displays with trays, candles, fresh flowers, or even a book or two in sunrooms and screened-in porches can remind buyers how relaxing this space can be, as opposed to yet another room they’re viewing in the house.

Home offices can also be a challenge to stage since they’re not only functional areas but can also be in spare bedrooms, leading to confusion. If you’re using a space as an office, it’s best to just commit and give buyers a clear vision of the room to base their judgments on size, lighting, and location of the room instead of being confused as to how to use the space themselves. Working to get multi-functional rooms like these ready can sometimes be a bit more work than normal staging, so remember that there are always resources like your Realtor who can assist or even online interior design services who can help you along the way.

Offices should, of course, be free of clutter, but also all personal information and any technology you wouldn’t want left out in a public space. Realtors can’t always be in every room during open houses so it’s best to remove everything other than the furniture. Task lighting like tasteful desk lamps, along with notepads and pens, a clock or even a calendar on a desk is enough to give a clear vision and purpose for the space without giving away too much information or distracting buyers.

Giving some extra time and attention to your outdoor spaces and any features of the house that can really impress during your open house can be just as beneficial as staging the more popular areas. They highlight bonus areas and offer opportunities to connect with prospective buyers to put your property in its best light and demonstrate the house is worth the investment.

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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.