Cooped up at home? 4 outdoor projects to get your home ready for the post-pandemic real estate market

Lisa Creed
Lisa Creed
Published on April 15, 2020

There’s talk in real estate circles that homebuyers who get into the market after we’re released from “self-isolation” will have an entirely different wish list than those who bought homes before the pandemic.  This makes sense when you consider that we’ve never spent so much time in our homes as we have over the past few months. Here are 4 home projects to get you outside and get your house ready for the market.

While home offices have been on the wish list for a while now, you can be sure they have moved up to the MUST HAVE list for more homebuyers. Outdoor spaces also will be hot sellers as well.  Not that we are looking to return any time soon to the “stay home” life – but we will definitely emerge with a new outlook.

How’s your backyard looking? Maybe you are one of the people using your extended at home time for outdoor projects already. But, if you’re planning on selling, it’s a GREAT time to take a good long look and get to work on some projects to make your home stand out on the market.

1. Start with a clean slate

Winter is firmly in the rearview mirror. If your front and backyards still show winter’s scars, it’s time to get that remedied.

A good power wash to the exterior including your windows is always a great place to start.   I also recommend power washing or at least broom cleaning all the corners of the front door/porch areas.  This is the first area that potential buyers will look while waiting on an agent to open the door.  Look for loose caulking around windows or gaps in the fascia boards.  And a fresh coat of paint on the front door gives a great first impression.

Get rid of all the debris that winter deposited in your yard. Remove broken branches, trash, leaves and any other debris.

Although we love spring, we don’t care for the weeds it brings. Weeding should be next on the list.

MULCH is an expensive home project and great way to spruce up your flowerbeds. You can use cypress mulch which will also keep mosquitoes at bay and does not tend to float off like others.  Cedar mulch is a great option as well but tends to fade quickly.

Pruning dead or dying branches from trees and shrubs will not only make them look better but make them healthier as well.  Pay special attention to tree limbs that are touching or covering your roof or rubbing and damaging windows, screens or siding.
Tip:  Snap a picture of the front of your house from the street.  Can you see the front door?  Trim bushes, and reshape your trees to give you a better curb appeal as well as be PHOTO READY.

Tip: Disinfect your pruning equipment before using. Give it a 5-minute soak in a disinfectant, such as Lysol. Rinse with water and allow to air-dry.

2. Turn your attention to the hardscaping

Hardscaping refers to the non-living elements in your landscape. This includes pottery, benches, water features, pavers, arbors and fencing.

Consider painting or staining the fence if it needs it. Darker colors are better, according to Darin Bradbury, a landscape designer.  Be sure to replace any missing or damaged pickets and make sure the gate works easily.

Fun and Outdoor Friendly Home Projects

3. Add new plants

Color is important when selling your home.  I always suggest to my sellers that they at least have a colorful planter near or on the front porch.  While the gardening centers at the big box home improvement stores remain open during the pandemic, it’s a good idea to shop online right now.

There are many online plant retailers and we’ve rounded up several for you: DirectGardening.com, NatureHills.com, BrighterBlooms.com and FastGrowingTrees.com.  And the master from Texas is always Neil Sperry for all your FAQ’s on pretty much any topic!  

Landscaping professionals suggest that we should choose a theme before planting. The theme can be based on color, scent, pollinators (such as butterflies) or choose from some of the popular gardening themes:

Sticking to a theme helps prevent the space from looking too “chaotic and disconnected,” landscape designer Wayne De Klijn tells Madden.

“The right plant for the right space” is an old gardening adage that describes one of the most important secrets to gardening success.

Before purchasing plants, observe the landscape for a few days. Where is it sunny all day, shady all day, partially sunny? Choose your plants based on the existing conditions in your garden and you should have far fewer problems.

4. Spruce up outdoor furniture 

Since we are all supposed to be staying home, running out to buy a new patio furniture set is not a wise idea. Hopefully, with a little DIY action, you will have a couple of fun outdoor home projects and as a result spruce up the pieces you already have now.

Best of all, you can buy most of the products you’ll need online at Amazon.com or Gardener’s Supply Company and have them delivered to your door.

If your outdoor furniture is made of wood, follow the instructions you’ll find online at YouTube.com. Ideas for updating other types of patio furniture can be found at BobVila.com.

Stay well!

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