5 Outdoor Home-Staging Mistakes Sellers Make That Could Turn Off Buyers

5 Outdoor Home-Staging Mistakes Sellers Make That Could Turn Off Buyers

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Before potential buyers even set foot in your home, they’ve likely already scoped it out online. Well-staged listing photos are a must for generating interest and bringing buyers around. Then, once buyers see it in person, a pristine home can help increase the amount buyers are willing to offer.

But what some sellers don’t realize is that home staging isn’t just for interiors. It’s imperative to stage the outdoor areas, too.

“A well-staged outdoor area can increase the perceived value of the home and set it apart from the competition,” says Eric Tamminga of Iron Embers, a fire pit and outdoor furniture manufacturing company based in Ontario.

To help better stage your porch, patio, deck, or backyard—and increase your curb appeal—be sure to avoid these missteps.

1. Forgetting to landscape (even in the winter)

Remove dead plants, and add pops of foliage to your yard.


Outdoor spaces should have a pop of greenery, no matter the season.

“Empty plant pots—or pots with dead plants—look barren and bad in a real estate photo,” says Karen Parziale, interior designer and stager at The Real Estate Staging Studio in Hoboken, NJ.

If the weather permits, you can plant real flowers and low-maintenance shrubs around your yard. During colder months, faux plants can be strategically placed for the listing photo shoot.

“The seller can place faux greenery in the pots with soil,” says Parziale. “Amazon sells faux plants and flowers in large quantities, and they look very real.”

Make sure to mow the lawn and trim back any overgrown plants or bushes, too.

2. Forgoing furniture

This house could have benefitted from an outdoor table and a few chairs staged on the patio.


Outdoor areas should be staged with furniture so buyers can get a better idea of how they can use the space.

“When there is no furniture present, it’s difficult to picture enjoying supper on the patio or reading a book on the porch,” says Eli Pasternak, interior designer and founder of Liberty House Buying Group in Miami.

If you have a patio, add an attractive dining table with an umbrella to conjure up images of warm-weather dinners. A pair of padded lounge chairs with a side table for beverages is also a great idea.

3. Forgetting to curb clutter

Pool toys and other clutter should be put away.


Backyards, porches, and patios should be purged of clutter, just as you would with a room or closet inside your home.

“Leaving rusted or old equipment and playthings in visible view are a few common mistakes I have seen sellers make,” says Barbara Brock, a professional stager and organizer.

Brock, the past president of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, New York chapter, stresses that removing these eyesores is essential.

“Buyers purchase with their eyes,” she adds. “If they see a mess or old or broken-down items, they will think the seller doesn’t care.”

4. Not fixing peeling paint or cracked pavement

A cracked driveway could be a major turnoff to buyers.


Unless your strategy is to sell your home as is, you’re on the hook for outdoor home maintenance tasks like fixing peeling paint and cracked pavement.

“Make sure everything is always neat, tidy, and well-manicured,” says Tamminga.

Sellers should handle issues such as cracked pavement, stained decking, or peeling paint before listing photos are taken and potential buyers start walking through the home. This will prevent buyers from focusing on the wrong things.

If you do choose to forgo making cosmetic updates, be aware of how it could affect the value of your home in regard to how much buyers are willing to pay.

5. Not cleaning dust and dirt

You might give extra attention to your home’s interior before a showing. However, be sure to clear walkways, patios, and decks of dust and dirt, too.

“Patios and walkways that aren’t used accumulate filth that needs to be cleaned off before displaying the house,” says Pasternak.

Don’t forget often overlooked spots such as external window ledges, door thresholds, and basement stairwells. It’s also helpful to pressure-wash harder-to-clean surfaces.

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