By Meagan Moore, Guest Contributor
During the hot days of summer in the Lowcountry, residents spend a LOT of time on their decks and patios relaxing and enjoying the marsh and ocean breezes. Whether you live in a historic downtown Charleston pied-à-terre, a beachfront cottage on Sullivan's Island, or a craftsman style bungalow in Avondale these outdoor spaces can be just as important as the interior spaces in a home. But, since they’re not traditionally thought of as main living spaces, they’re often forgotten by homeowners and realtors alike when preparing and staging homes for sale. It's just as important for you to stage and "freshen up" your outdoor living spaces as it is for every other area of your home.
Create Extra Living SpaceCreating a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living spaces can give prospective buyers the perception of extra square footage and increased value. For example, an eating area with a nice dining table and ample seating directly off of the kitchen may appeal to buyers who envision enjoying family dinners or a party with friends on the patio taking in the breeze or a lowcountry sunset.
Clearly Define Spaces
Stage an eating area as a inviting spot to enjoy a meal, complete with dining set. Stage a sitting area as a cozy place to enjoy a cup of coffee or curl up with a book, include chairs and a loveseat. Do not try to transform it into something that it’s not, but instead showcase the space in the way that you have used and enjoyed it. Buyers cannot always be relied upon to imagine a use for the space.
Showcase A Lifestyle
When staging your outdoor living space you are creating a lifestyle of outdoor living, one in which the buyer might envision themselves sharing that same lifestyle. Make it easy to imagine days of relaxation, laying by the pool on a hot summer afternoon, reading by the firepit on a chilly evening in the fall, or a life filled with lavish yard parties complete with the finer things in life … or perhaps a life filled with family friendly spaces. No matter the lifestyle, the key is to make it cohesive and to make sure that it carries across all of the living spaces inside and out.
Staging Tips For Outdoor Spaces
As with the interior, it’s important to clean outdoor living spaces prior to showings and photography. Sweep the floors, fluff the pillows, and wipe down furniture. Use a pressure washer to remove mold and mildew from surfaces. Items that won’t come clean should be removed or replaced. Keep decor neutral, remove personal items.
If you have a deck or patio that’s starting to looked well used (loose boards, rusty or loose railings, light’s not working, etc.) invest the time and money into a fresh coat of paint or stain, a few nails, and some light bulbs to make repairs so that the space looks as good as new. A deck seemingly needing a list of repairs will not appeal to buyers who are looking for a new home and inviting outdoor spaces to relax in.
Look Beyond the Porch or Patio
If your home has other outdoor areas such as fire pits, pools, play areas, sheds, fencing, or other features make sure that they are looking their best. Clean out the fire pit and stage chairs around it. Pools should be sparkling, kept cleaned & treated , decking in good condition, and chairs around the pool for lounging. Play areas can be a great asset for buyers with children, especially if they have been well maintained. If the play area is too far gone it’s best to remove it all together. Sheds can also be a great asset as they represent additional storage. Consider adding landscaping around the shed to increase visual appeal. Make sure that fencing, sheds, and play areas are looking their best, if needed, freshen up paint or stain and address any loose pieces.
Overall, make sure to highlight what makes your outdoor living space special and unique when preparing your home for sale. Outdoor living spaces and features add to a home’s value and should not be neglected or taken for granted when it’s time to sell. They have a significant amount of financial value and, if they are updated and well-kept, can add overall desirability and value to buyers. A spacious, inviting, high-amenity outdoor living area may just be the “deciding factor” for your prospective buyer.
Note: With almost year-round beautiful weather in Charleston SC, a lifestyle isn't complete without outdoor living. Taking advantage of staging outdoor space will help a buyer imagine their life in and around the home.
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