A comprehensive home inspection can tell potential home buyers about the structural integrity and overall condition of your home's interior, but the exterior is the first part of the home that they see.
Often, tips for selling a home focus on curb appeal, as buyers get an eyeful of your home when they pull up to view it. While taking some time to make the front yard attractive is important, buyers are going to spend some time viewing your backyard as well. This means that you can make some updates to the landscaping that can appeal to buyers.
Here are some do's and don'ts for upgrading your backyard:
Rake, mow and trim
If you're not interested in spending money on updates, give your lawn a once-over with the mower. Rake away refuse such as dead grass, trash and weeds, and make sure that trees and shrubs aren't too obtrusive. Patchy lawns can benefit from grass seed products and regular watering.
Poorly maintained trees are also a red flag for buyers. Not only can they attract insects and other critters, they can cause trouble for nearby power lines or even the house itself if they are too close to the property. Consider trimming any branches that are creating an issue.
Pick a subtle water feature
Although having a backyard swimming pool may be a fantasy many buyers had as children, most are not going to be as fond of a water feature. Rather than conveying value, pools and large fountains signal time-consuming maintenance.
Certainly, this is not an upgrade that needs to be at the top of your list. However, if you think that adding a water feature will appeal to buyers in your area, go with something subtle like a bubbling brook or small trickling fountain.
Forget the garden
You may be talented at raising tulips, daisies and fresh vegetables. While a sprawling garden could be a testament to your green thumb, it also conveys a high-maintenance backyard to buyers. This is not to say that flowers aren't appealing and don't provide a nice bit of color, but they should be placed minimally. Instead of a garden, place a few potted plants around the back door and any window sills.
Consider modest outdoor entertainment space
Outdoor space for entertaining guests and relaxing during the warmer weather is appealing to many buyers. A stone or brick patio can be a key selling point for buyers compared to a wooden deck, as stone requires less routine maintenance. Additionally, these patios can be accented by a stone walkway or other features. Pergolas and gazebos are also in demand, as they provide comfortable shade on hotter days.
It is important to remember that while outdoor entertainment space conveys value, upgrades should be kept to a minimum. Some homeowners have elaborate patios complete with a gas stove or grill, fire pit, spa and other features. However, these amenities can also signal maintenance issues, and a simpler setup can allow buyers to envision the patio they would want.
Get a fence
For the time you've lived in your home, you may have had a good relationship with your neighbors and your area may be pretty secure. However, putting up a fence is in your best interest if you want to list your home. Many home buyers have children and pets, and they want a backyard that is closed off. If their kids and pets can't play freely in a contained backyard, buyers may lose interest or use the lack of a fence to submit a lower offer.