The list of to-dos when it comes to selling your house might already seem daunting, but there’s one place where sellers should pay particular attention if they want to grab the attention of prospective buyers—and it starts with the yard. “When it comes to selling a home, first impressions matter,” says Realtor.com Executive News Editor Clare Trapasso. “The front yard is generally the first thing that prospective buyers see when visiting a home, so sellers should make sure that it oozes curb appeal.” That means a freshly cut lawn with trimmed hedges and weeded flower beds. Dead plants and spent blooms should be removed so all that’s left is a neat and welcoming home with a yard that doesn’t scream money pit.
Clare Trapasso is the Executive News Editor for Realtor.com.
While ensuring your yard is ready for its close up is one thing, going overboard is certainly another. This isn’t the time to make clear your allegiances, show off your 4H-worthy vegetable gardening skills, or dust off your ceramic garden figurines. Trapasso says these are the trendy pitfalls that can have potential buyers turning right back around. To help you navigate the dos and don’ts of yard trends, Trapasso shared her top no-nos for sellers—and football fans, we’ve even got one here for you.
Don’t: Quirky Collections
“It’s important for sellers to acknowledge that everyone has different taste,” says Trapasso. “They may see their garden gnome collection as charming, while potential buyers may be turned off by the statues.” The same can be said for looking ball collections, your bird sanctuary complete with not one but five bird baths, and your bottle trees. Just like the interior of your house might benefit from a paring down for selling, so too could the yard. Definitely consider how you can elevate your curb appeal, but perhaps in a less personalized way.
Don’t: Ambitious Gardens
You may love the fresh produce your little home garden can churn out, but to a potential buyer who lacks your green thumb it’s just one more thing that needs upkeep. The location of large plants is also worth considering. “Planting trees too close to the home, garden, driveway, or patio can turn buyers off too—they may worry about having to trim branches, a tree falling on the home, or the roots cracking the pavement of a driveway or patio,” warns Trapasso. Even a front yard full of annuals can leave potential buyers seeing dollar signs as they estimate the cost for yearly replanting. Trapasso recommends focusing instead on emphasizing your lush lawn, adding neat shrubs and bright perennials that will spell less work for the next homeowners,
Don’t: Team Swag
Now is not the time to get political or show off your superfan status. As difficult as it may be, stow away those flags and signs that show your allegiances (we’re looking at you, SEC fans) while the house is on the market. Driving up to a house that’s waving the wrong team colors can stand in the way of the potential buyers even coming through the front door, let alone making an offer. “Sellers may be die-hard fans of a particular team, but buyers who root for an opposing team may have a negative impression of the home based on seeing that flag hanging out front,” shares Trapasso.
Do: Decks, Irrigation, and Fences
Outdoor living is one trend that Trapasso and homebuyers can get behind. “Generally, adding a patio or deck results in a higher return on investment if done thoughtfully with good-quality materials,” she says. “Sprinkler systems also tend to recoup their value as they can make it easier to water lawns and flowers.” But with all this time spent outdoors as our decks and patios become our second living rooms, privacy is more important than ever, which is why privacy fences are inching their way to the top of the must-have lists for buyers.