Realtors stage rooms in homes to help sell a house. But many forget to also stage the home’s deck! Staging means to arrange furniture, paint, or otherwise decorate a room or rooms to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. When you appeal to a larger number of buyers your property not only sells faster, but it usually sells for more money.
Since decks are one of the top six outdoor additions when recouping your investment, it just makes sense to stage your deck if you’re staging your home. If you can add additional features, such as an outdoor kitchen area, or an extended roof overhang, or firepit, you’ll do even better! What you’re after is the big FICA (Functional, Inviting, Comfortable, and Attractive).
Functional – Buyers want space they can use. The more function a space has, the more value it has in the mind of buyers. Don’t just add a grill to your deck. Add a nice table and chairs, maybe a sink, or at least some counter space. Now your deck is a second dining area. Add a spa or hot tub. The more livable a deck is, the more functional and thus valuable it becomes to a buyer.
Inviting – Add a welcome mat, or outdoor rug, some comfortable chairs, a table for dining or playing cards or board games on, some shade (table umbrella) and maybe a fire pit for chilly evenings. Suddenly what could be just a deck becomes a den, or a family area where guests and family gather to have fun.
Comfortable – No one just wants to stand around on a deck. Okay, they might if there’s a party and they’re mingling, but you still need seating, comfortable cushions, a place to set your drink or food, and some shade, heat or a fan – depending on the season. You want people to relax and feel comfortable on your deck.
Use lighting to your advantage. Not all home showings happen during the day. Hanging lights, called “fairy lights,” can increase both curb and viewing appeal immensely. Replace any burned out bulbs in your outdoor lighting as well.
Attractive – You may not be a design professional, but chances are you’ve seen what they can do with an outdoor space. Amazing isn’t it? A well designed space makes a huge impact on visitors and potential buyers. One of the secrets the pros use is bringing the same colors, design, and style you use inside, to the outside. It helps lend a cohesive feel to the deck if you incorporate the same theme, colors, cushions, pillows, and artwork outside on the deck as you have inside the house.
Accessorize and remember to stage your deck in a seasonally appropriate way. For instance, if it’s summer, then the furniture and other items should be related to summer. If it’s fall, then pumpkins, and fall related items should be on display. The idea is to create an atmosphere buyers can see themselves enjoying. This can include anything from fairy lights, Christmas trees, or foliage and plants that reflect the season.
Soften the hard feel of the deck with large potted, or hanging plants, or a colorful outdoor rug. You want your potential buyers to feel the warmth and coziness of the deck. This is particularly important if you don’t have a great view off of the deck. If you have neighbors, consider installing a privacy screen. It can be as simple as a large shade, some large potted or hanging plants or slatted wood.
Before you get too excited about staging your deck you need to do one super important thing – a deep clean.
Clean Your Deck
Staging begins with a clean, freshly sealed and/or stained deck. You wouldn’t stage your living room if you had paper and trash on the floor. The same is true for your deck. The surfaces should look clean, fresh, and inviting, not spotty with mold, faded, or dirty. Take the time (usually just a day or two) to clean, powerwash, and seal or stain your deck. You should also do, or have an expert examine your deck for safety items like loose bolts, flashing issues, or loose railings or balusters as well.
Clean Your Umbrellas and Furniture
It doesn’t do any good to put dirty furniture on a clean deck. We talked about making your space “inviting.” That means investing in some new cushions for your furniture and clean and/or paint and stain the furniture as well. If you have some ratty old rattan, bamboo, or metal furniture you don’t have to get rid of it. You’ll be amazed at how much a new paint job can transform their look. If you don’t have a deck umbrella, consider investing in one as they are very inviting and encourage buyers to sit down and enjoy their shade while they look at your deck!
Clean Your Grill
If you have a gas grill, clean and polish it until it shines. Buyers will be imagining themselves using the deck and they won’t want their daydreams interrupted by a rusty, broken, or cobweb covered grill. If you can’t clean it, move it off of the deck. If that’s not possible buy a new grill cover to hide it.
The secret to getting buyers to be wowed by your deck is to make it as inviting, or more inviting, than your home. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to transform your deck into an oasis any new homebuyer would be excited to own. Take the time to transform your deck and enjoy the seeing the delight in the eyes of buyers as they see themselves relaxing there after purchasing your home.