In today’s digital world, you’re probably aware that virtual tours in real estate are quickly becoming the norm. But did you know that prepping your garden before the photographer arrives can help you sell faster, and it can also add anything from $3,000 to $45,000 to the value of your home?
Well-maintained gardens are more appealing to buyers, but they are often the most overlooked part of a property when sellers are getting their homes ready to go on the market.
No matter how big or small your garden is, here are a few things you can do to spruce it up before shooting your 360° Virtual Tour.
Look With “Buyer’s Eyes”
Begin by surveying your property from across the street. Take note of what your curb looks like because this is what potential buyers will be seeing at the beginning of the virtual tour or when they drive by. Then, walk around both sides of your home, working your way to the backyard.
While you survey your property, make notes and try to see everything with “buyer’s eyes”. You’re probably used to all these things, but they may be off-putting for potential buyers.
Look for standing water on your driveway, overgrown hedges, weeds, dirty or cracked pavers, and anything that doesn’t look well-maintained or well-cared for. All the little things add up.
Gather Up Toys
If your children play with toys outside regularly and leave them strewn around the yard, you should pick them all up before the photographer arrives and hide them somewhere out of view. The best place to stow them is in the shed or inside. You should hide them away during the initial photo shoot and before any subsequent in-person viewings.
Remove Weather-Beaten Structures
Although you may be used to the rundown shed and the old wooden kids’ swing set rotting away in the corner, old structures that are falling apart will add an air of neglect to any garden. If you are loath to take old structures down because they have sentimental value, consider this: you can’t take old structures to your new home, so you might as well tear them down now – rather that than leaving the new occupant of your home to deal with them.
If there are useful structures that are still standing – such as sheds that will be staying with the house – give them some TLC by sanding, cleaning, and giving them a fresh coat of paint. Make sure all roofs are free from dead leaves and other debris, and that tiles are in good condition.
Treat Outside Like Inside
Just like you’ve taken great care to make sure that the interior of your home looks neat, well cared for, and staged appropriately to attract buyers, you should ensure you’ve taken as much care in the yard, too. Inspect your outdoor furniture, planters, etc – anything you’re not taking with you to your new home should be thrown away now. Aim for a clean, empty deck rather than one cluttered with dirty or broken pieces of furniture.
If any chairs, tables, or other pieces are staying, repair any damages and scrub them until they are clean. If you’ve accumulated mismatched pieces over the years, consider giving them a makeover by staining or painting them all the same color.
Colorful cushions, furniture, and sunshades can add a pop of color to an otherwise dreary spot in your garden, but be careful not to overdo it – too many colors can make a space feel crowded and look unattractive to potential buyers.
Take Out the Trash
Even though everyone has trash cans, you don’t want them to be in any shots of your virtual tour. If you can discretely stow them away in a hidden corner, do so. If not, consider building a designated spot in your garden where you can enclose and hide them away. No matter how you decide to hide your garbage cans, you might as well make sure that you give them a good scrub and make sure they are not leaking any unpleasant odors now so that you are prepared for viewings.
Clean Water Features, Flooring, and Paving
If you have ponds, fountains, or other water features, give them a hose and remove any algae, dirt, and watermarks. Clean all the features and fittings and fill them with fresh water.
For hardscaping such as outdoor flooring and paving, clean everything off with a pressure washer. If you don’t have a pressure washer, try to hire or borrow one. Otherwise, hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush will work too. Be sure to remove all dirt, grime, debris, and stains.
Pull Out Weeds and Clip Overgrown Branches
Inspect every flower bed, planter, paver, and around the base of every tree for weeds and pull them out. If you want to stop weeds from growing between pavers, make sure to grab by the base and pull out the roots.
Once you’re done, get a pair of shears and walk around the entire garden. Remove any dead or overgrown branches, dead flower heads, and any other plants that look like they’re dead or dying. Cutting back excess tree branches will open up your garden and make it feel bigger and less crowded.
Check the View
Now, go inside your home and look at the garden from each window. Take note of anything that looks unappealing or uncared for and fix it. This is especially important when buyers come for viewings.
Mow the Lawn
It goes without saying that you should mow your lawn and dispose of the grass clippings before the photographer arrives to shoot your virtual viewing. Be sure to double-check the edges of flowerbeds and other hard-to-reach places for any long grass you might have missed.
Add Some Color
If your flowerbeds are looking empty or drab, you can visit your local home depot and pick up a few trays of flowering perennials – just be sure to read the light and water requirements and make sure they are suitable before you buy them.
Try to stick to complementary or matching colors and make sure that the planting instructions for each plant are the same. For any other empty areas in your garden, gravel is a quick fix to neaten everything up.