The following article is a guest post by Aleksandra Oleksak, a native Toronto real estate agent.
With summer-like weather finally making an appearance, a backyard oasis in a potential home that a buyer is looking at is becoming almost as important as a shiny, new kitchen. Backyards have always been on a first-time homebuyers‘ priority list, but recently they are gaining more traction thanks to the “HGTV effect”. Based on my experience, potential buyers want that extension of their living space outside, where they can spend their days, evenings and weekends enjoying the weather before winter hits again. So if you’re thinking of redoing your backyard, whether it’s to sell your home now or in the future, here are some things to consider which will help your home appeal to more potential homebuyers.
I’m sure you’ve heard before that a staged home helps sell a home faster and for more money – your backyard is no exception. People are bringing the indoors outdoors, with sectional sofas, coffee tables, dishware, and decorations that resemble indoor furniture but are made for the outdoors. Having a patio set is just not enough anymore – people truly want to enjoy their space with their friends and family at all hours of the day and night. Backyards are not just for outdoor dining anymore!
With so many ideas out there, and an HGTV show dedicated just for deck-building, you can really get creative here. A regular, square deck is so last season. Why not step it up with a two-tier deck with some built-in seating and planter boxes? Or how about using glass instead of wood pickets? Give your backyard a lounge feel; somewhere you can hangout all the time and really enjoy the outdoors. And don’t forget about privacy. You don’t want your neighbours watching your every move! (At least most people don’t.)
Colour and Texture
You want your backyard or deck to be warm and inviting, and grass and wood can only go so far. Why not try planting some colourful perennials? The best thing about them is they grow back season after season, so it’s low maintenance for you. Also, why not try a bold colour or patterned outdoor rug, pillows, cushions and even outdoor curtains? They immediately liven up your outdoor space and help you achieve that look of bringing the indoors outdoors; not to mention they are easy to replace once you get sick of them. Lastly, big umbrellas, awnings or gazebos are key players too. While enjoying your backyard during the day, you don’t want to roast in the sun, so shade is definitely important!
Lighting is important, whether your inside or outside, and it should not be overlooked. When you’re in the backyard or on your deck in the evening, you don’t want a shining bright light – you want to create some ambience. This can easily be achieved with solar lights scattered throughout your backyard and even lighting up trees and shrubs. Decorative lanterns with candles are also a great option and can literally be placed and moved anywhere you like. Lastly, one of my favourites are torches. They definitely create a cozy feel, and most of them have Citronella which will keep the mosquitoes away so you can further enjoy the outdoors undisrupted.
Having a couple of electrical outlets installed by a professional is always a bonus in a backyard space. As mentioned above, homeowners are not only using their backyards for outdoor dining; people who work from home want to take their office outside on a beautiful summer day and need a place to plug in their devices. It’s also useful for any stereo equipment that needs to be plugged in while enjoying your space. And if you really want to kick it up a notch, you can go as far as to install outdoor speakers. Any homeowner would love this feature! (But be considerate of your neighbours…)
Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of sprucing up your backyard this summer? Pick one of these ideas and go from there. The key is deciding on a budget and making decisions based on that. The good thing is a lot of the stuff I mention can be a DIY project for you, so it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are so many blogs and online videos that can help you achieve the backyard oasis look. Just remember to always keep in mind your homes’ future potential resale value and appeal. You may plan on staying at your current home forever, but life is full of surprises! Your home has to wow a potential buyer from the outside curb appeal to a nicely staged home right through to the outdoor space. Backyards are not just somewhere to offload the kids or dogs anymore; they need to reflect a grown up space for everyone to enjoy, day or night!
The following article was written, Aleksandra Oleksak, a Toronto realtor from Sage Real Estate. You can find more of Aleksandra’s blogging material at www.realtyqueento.com