The Unexpected Photo That Can Really Sell a House Right Now

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After spending the better part of this year largely at home, one thing is resoundingly clear: Many of us want a change of scenery. ASAP. Existing home sales are the highest they’ve been in 14 years—with October marking a new high for 2020—and the median selling price is 16 percent higher than it was a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. So basically, if you’re thinking about selling your house, the time is now. However, there are a few things you can do to go from listed to sold in no time (including clearing out your clutter, going for a neutral palette, posting a virtual tour), but one recent trend really surprised us: turning your backyard into the new heart of the home. And including photos of it in your listing.

Google searches for “backyard amenities” are up 110 percent over the past year, and with CDC recommendations to host small holiday gatherings outdoors, that trend is unlikely to slow down anytime soon—even as winter approaches. (This holds true for urban areas too: According to StreetEasy, the share of searches for New York City apartments with outdoor space is up 249 percent since before the pandemic.)

Here, three ways to spruce up your outdoor space and attract buyers—whether you’re working with two acres or 50-square feet.

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backyard staging yard
Constant Gardener/Getty Images

1. winter Is Coming, So Create A Cozy Vibe Outside

That doesn’t mean you have to spring for a pool or relandscape the entire place, but it is a great opportunity to stage the yard in a way that people can easily imagine themselves hanging out there. Adding a set of outdoor furniture that creates a cozy, lounge-like vibe can go a long way, Zillow suggests. And, as we get into the colder months, little staging flourishes—a fire pit, outdoor heaters, and a throw tossed casually over the edge of an outdoor chair—can help people picture the yard as a getaway, even in mid-February.

2. channel Your Inner Plant Lady

If you have a small backyard or live in an apartment or condo, there are still ways to make your outdoor space seem larger. “Opt for pieces that draw the eye up,” suggests StreetEasy Home Trends expert Lauren Riefflin. “Place your plants on stands to bring them higher or hang some flowerpots from the balcony above yours.”

Before you bring in plants, it’s worth paying attention to how much light your yard or patio gets and choose greenery accordingly, Riefflin says. (On that note, these low-light plants tend to be pretty low-maintenance.)

If you tend to be a plant killer, all hope is not lost. “You could always go the route of getting some artificial plants, too—if you fill the planters with real soil, buyers will be hard-pressed to tell the difference,” Riefflin adds.

backyard staging greenery
Mint Images/Getty Images

3. go Light And Bright…but Not Too Trendy

Try to photograph your outdoor areas during the time of day when there’s the most natural light. “If your space doesn’t get much sun, you can still create a cozy look with string lights or candles,” Riefflin says. Right now, people want a sanctuary from the rest of the world, so creating an intimate setting can work in your favor.

The one thing Riefflin recommends avoiding? Leaning too hard on the latest trends. “Similar to staging the inside your apartment, you want potential buyers to be able to picture themselves there,” she explains. “While you may love bright colors and rattan everything, the next owner of your home might have a more subdued style.” In this case, reining it in may help you rake in higher offers.

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...