Staging a Home on the Outside Sells the Inside

Tracy Sterling —  July 7, 2015

In terms of real estate, the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is out. Even before potential buyers have gone through your front door, they have an impression of your property based on the short walk from the car to your front door.

When selling your home, you essentially have to sell it to a potential buyer three times.  Once online, once when they drive by, and if that brings them in, once they come inside. Most likely, if they don’t like what they see on the outside, they’ll keep on driving.

Doing the appropriate garden and lawn improvements can bring a return of 100% to 200% of your investment dollars.  Recent research by RE/MAX shows that the overall Return on Investment (ROI) for landscaping your property is 7%.  Staging your home, inside and out, is a surefire way to sell your home faster … and for more money.

Here are five key outdoor staging tips that won’t break the bank, and are guaranteed to give you the best landscaping 2ROI:

  1. Front lawn: The most cost effective way to spruce up your front lawn is to cut and trim regularly, using a fertilizer and weed control program and topping off any bare patches with dirt and grass seed. Average cost: $10 to $100 with a ROI of 100% to 200%.
    • If your lawn is in poor condition, you can completely re-sod it. Average cost: $300 to $1,000 with a ROI of 100% to 200%.
  1. Front door, lighting and porch: Your front entrance needs to be warm and inviting.  Try putting a fresh coat of paint on your door, using a strong accent color. Make sure the color you select blends well with the fixed elements of your home. Add a potted flowers for color or in the winter, use an urn with greenery. Average cost: $20 to $200 with a ROI of 100% to 200%. If your door and lighting are outdated or in need of a repair, replace them.
    • Add a bistro table or a couple of chairs if you have space on your porch. Average cost: $800 to $1200 with a ROI of 40% to 60%.
  1. Gardens: Make sure a potential buyer views a well cared for, low maintenance property. Clean out all the weeds, do any necessary trimming and add some colored mulch. Average cost: $30 to $60 with a ROI of 100% to 200%.
    • If your garden is either non-existent or is very sparse, make sure that the flowers, shrubs or trees that you add are more mature to give a finished look. Average cost: $200 and up with a ROI of 100% to 200%.
  1. Driveway: Your driveway covers a large percentage of your front yard so make sure it’s in good condition. If it’s paved, consider adding a top coat of sealer. Average cost: $50 to $200 with an ROI of 100% to 200%.
    • If the driveway is gravel, consider paving, installing interlocking stone or stamped concrete. Average cost: $1,500 to $5,000 with a ROI of 50 % to 75%.

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  1. Deck: Your backyard should be appealing and inviting for entertaining outside. If you currently have a deck or patio, pressure wash and stain the deck in a clear coat or neutral semi-transparent stain. Adding potted flowers around the deck or patio will give it more appeal. Average cost: $100 to $300 with a ROI of 100% to 200%.
    • If your deck or patio is not in good condition, repair or replace it. If you currently have nothing in your backyard, create the outdoor entertaining space buyers are looking for. Average cost: $2,000 to $5,000 with a ROI of 80% to 100%.


This article was written by Carla Woolnough. She is the founder of the home decorating and staging company Nex-Step Design and the national spokesperson for RE/MAX’s “Are you Fit to Sell” program. Read more from Carla Woolnough here.


Tracy Sterling

Tracy Sterling