Outdoor staging helps homeowners get top dollar

By Kim Shindle | Aug. 28, 2014 | 3 min. read

When it comes to Staging a home, it begins on the outside, according to Barb Schwarz, creator of Stagedhomes.com, where Realtors® can earn an Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP) designation.

Barb Schwarz
Barb Schwarz

“You can’t get them inside if you can’t get them past the outside,” Schwarz said. “You know you have houses where your clients won’t get out of the car because the outside hasn’t been properly maintained.”

Schwarz advises Realtors® to park across the street from their new listing and evaluate the property. “Make a list of the things that need to be addressed: Is there a tree that needs trimmed? Are the bushes over the windows? Is the front door scratched? These are all things that make a bad first impression on potential buyers.”

She suggests inviting the homeowners outside to tour the property with you. “I tend to ask questions to learn more about what’s going on. For example, ‘Please tell me about the cords that are dangling from the porch?’ or ‘Can you tell me about this partial fence?’ This helps them open up and talk about their property,” she explains. “They really need to see their home with a new set of eyes. Ask them, ‘when was the last time you stood here and looked at your home?’

“Realtors® can guide homeowners to think like a buyer. Ask them what they see and what they think needs to be done to make the house more appealing to a buyer,” Schwarz said.

Starting with the front porch, add seasonal color to make the home look inviting. If the shrubs are too large, think about replacing them with what Schwarz calls the “magic tree,” or Arbor vitae, an evergreen that fairs well in droughts, heat and cold.

“While you’re walking the backyard, remember to look at the fence and the landscaping – or the lack thereof,” she said. “This is an outdoor room, so we need to make sure there isn’t too much furniture on the deck or patio. You can’t sell it if you can’t see it.”

She suggests two clusters of potted plants in three different sizes to add color to the patio or deck. If the area is small, a bistro set is an inexpensive way to create an attractive outdoor living space.

If the landscaping is overgrown, Schwarz advises trimming trees from the bottom and plants from the top. “Branches of a pine tree shouldn’t be sitting on the ground – the tree will look so much better if trimmed. Shrubs like azaleas and rhododendrons should be rounded and kept away from the sides of the house. These can also block windows blocking the light into the house. Trimming the shrubs will open the inside to more light.”

Realtors® should take photos of the house when they first review the property, then show them to the homeowners. “This helps them focus on things that should be changed to help the property show to buyers in the most positive light,” Schwarz added. “Remind the sellers that outdoor staging is all about helping them to get the top dollar for their property.”

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