Real Estate Guide

What Backyard Features Appeal Most to Potential Homeowners?

Most people focus on the interior of their home when it comes to making the cosmetic upgrades that will appeal to prospective buyers. Between clearing out the clutter, replacing flooring, slapping on a fresh coat of paint, and otherwise staging the home, there’s a lot of work to be done to prepare a house for sale. Despite this laundry list of tasks, some motivated sellers also take the time to address curb appeal by re-seeding the lawn, adding some planter boxes, and replacing outdated fixtures (lights, mailbox, house number, etc.). Unfortunately, most people fail to see the potential that lies in their backyard, as well. In truth, the living space inside the house tends to be more important, but you shouldn’t discount the ability of a stellar backyard to seal the deal when it comes to making a sale or even starting a bidding war. Here are just a few features that could tip the scales for the average prospective homebuyer.

The main thing most people want from their outdoor space is a natural retreat. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to provide a botanical garden, but a field of dead grass certainly won’t do the trick. The long and short of it is that the landscaping you choose could make a big difference during a sale, and there are a couple of things you might want to consider. First, you should probably include some greenery. There is a subset of society that prefers the stark beauty of a desert landscape, but most people want some grass and trees in their backyard. This brings us to our second point: shade.

You certainly don’t have to shell out the dough to plant full-grown trees, but if people want to lounge in the backyard or send their kids out to play, a small grove or even one or two large, shade-giving trees could be very appealing, and planting saplings is a good start. You might also want to consider creating a layout for your landscaping that includes islands, planter boxes, and a bounty of plant varieties. As a bonus, you could plant native and drought-resistant species to cut down on the need for water (a feature that both frugal and eco-friendly buyers will appreciate). You might also want to consider adding some sort of water feature to inject the soothing sounds of a trickling stream. With the rights plants and animals (fish, snails, etc.) you might even make a small but sustainable ecosystem.

Another aspect of your backyard that will likely appeal to buyers, especially if you have a lot of space, is an outbuilding of some sort. Whether you have a shed to store tools and gardening equipment or a granny flat on your property, it’s bound to raise the value of your home, as well as make your backyard more attractive (supposing it’s in good condition). Of course, you might also install common fixtures like a swimming pool or a play set for kids. But these will only really appeal to a certain segment of the population, so you can’t count on them to help sell your home. A nice deck, on the other hand, will appeal to nearly everyone, especially when you dress it up with seating and patio umbrellas for staging purposes. The idea is to carefully consider how you can work with what you’ve got to make your backyard appeal to the widest range of buyers. You may be able to enact a major change in appearance with little more than a few new plants and some cosmetic upgrades to the backyard features you already enjoy.

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