Home Improvements to Do Before the Holidays if Selling christmas tree

Home Improvements to Do Before the Holidays if Selling

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Are you selling your house around the holidays? Does it need a facelift? Some home improvements can help you sell faster or even get a better deal. The alternative is to lower your asking price to cover renovations the buyer pays out of their own pocket.

But which improvements have the most impact and the best ROI? Here are 11 home improvements we recommend to do before the holidays, if you’re selling a property.

1. Remodel the Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where family comes together, especially around the holidays. So when buyers visit this time of year, you want the kitchen to make a good, lasting impression.

Kitchen improvements include a new backsplash, upgraded countertops and flooring, refinished cabinets, and better lighting.

2. Fix Up the Bathroom

The bathroom is a private space, and it should be nice. Fortunately, most bathrooms are small, so improvements do not take long. You can replace light fixtures, upgrade faucets and fixtures, retile the floor and shower, and repaint the walls.

3. Put Down New Floors

Your floors take a beating and see a lot of foot traffic. Wood floors especially get scratched and chipped and lose luster. Consider laying new planks or making the switch to tile for a fresh look.

4. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

Inside and out! Interior walls and the exterior house siding will benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Think about it: when buyers drive up, do you want them to see drab or life?

You might also consider a coat of sealer on any surface of the house that gets covered by snow.

5. Repair the Roof

Winter is coming, and you’ll never go wrong if you patch or replace the roof to prevent leaks. Leaks can cause damage inside the house, so why not prevent additional repairs?

6. Seal Gaps and Add Insulation

Chilly drafts ruin energy bills and the warm, cozy feeling of the house interior. Check caulking and weather stripping, and seal where necessary. Get an R-Value for your insulation levels. The recommended level of insulation for most attics is about 10 to 14 inches.

7. Tune Up the Furnace

Speaking of cold weather and energy, get your HVAC system inspected to ensure its functionality. If it needs work, make repairs so your house is kept at a comfortable temperature, so that it’s cozy for buyers during walkthroughs.

8. Winterize Your Property

One of the most common mistakes by sellers, especially those with vacant properties, is failing to winterize. The worst is not draining and protecting your pipes from freezing: you risk them bursting and flooding the property.

Winterizing your house includes looking after the pipes, insulation, fireplace, gutters, roof, furnace, and windows and doors.

9. Improve Curb Appeal

Winter is when your plants go dormant. Hopefully, your online listing shows photos of your house in the spring or summer, when it looks its best.

The outside of the house is the first impression buyers have of the property as a whole. To jazz it up, you can do the following:

  • Add cold weather plants
  • Trim back trees and bushes
  • Manicure the lawn
  • Clean windows
  • Paint front door
  • Furnish the front porch
  • Update lightning

Sell Your House Without Making Improvements

If you have neither the time nor the money to make improvements, you can always sell “as-is” to a real estate investor for cash.

But will I lose money? Most investors pay 70% of the market value AFTER repair value. The investor does not require repairs or renovations, even if the property is degraded or damaged. There’s no mortgage approval, no appraisal, nor an inspection. Moreover, the investor often pays all closing costs and additional sale fees, saving you money compared to a traditional sale.

If, however, the property is in good shape and in a good location, some investors will consider paying the market price or perhaps 2% to 3% less.

Either way, you can enjoy a quick closing, in 30 days or less, and focus on spending the holidays with family, perhaps in your new home.

room with water damage How to Sell a House with Flood or Water Damage

How to Sell a House with Flood or Water Damage

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Hurricanes, flash floods, or burst pipes after a freeze – you never know when water damage will occur. It frustrates the majority of homeowners and leaves them wondering, “What now?”

Selling a house with water damage is intimidating but not impossible. You have options, depending on your budget and timeline to sell.

Here are the essential steps to sell a house with flood or water damage.

Step 1: Call Your Insurance

Water damage claims put home insurance policies to use more than any other claim. Most policies cover overflow, accidental discharge, or sewer and water backup, but not flooding.

The damage has to be accidental; you could not have predicted it. Any water damage as the result of negligence or a lack in maintenance is NOT covered.

The insurance company will send an adjuster to assess damages and estimate costs to repair. You should document the loss of personal belongings and damage to your property, before or while the adjuster is there. Take plenty of photos and guestimate the value of your loss.

Collecting insurance can take several days or weeks. There is no guarantee the insurance will cover the full cost to restore your house.

If you decide to sell the property “as-is”, filing a claim may not be necessary. I recommend you discuss options with your insurance agent.

Step 2: Turn Off Utilities

No doubt you shut off the main water supply valve to stop water flow. But you also need to turn off the power because water and electricity do not mix. Same with your gas lines.

By turning off the utilities, you prevent additional damage and put yourself and professionals out of harm’s way.

Step 3: Start Water Damage Cleanup

Pump out standing water and dry the affected areas. Gather those belongings the water missed and throw out anything that is ruined. You want to do this fast because mold sets in after 24 hours.

Open windows to let in fresh air, and if a professional says it’s safe to restore power, use floor fans and dehumidifiers.

Depending on the extent of damage, and if mold is present, you might consider hiring professional water damage and restoration services. Make sure the company you hire is licensed and insured.

Step 4: Start Restoring the House

Repairs could take several months, depending on the amount of damage. Flooring and sometimes walls need to be replaced. Electrical wiring and corroded parts must be switched out. Bad plumbing needs to be changed and the spaces around them refinished.

Water and mold remediation should be done by licensed professionals. It is not the type of work you do alone, not without risks to your health or the house, or without significant loss of time.

Step 5: Disclose the Truth to Buyers

Even if damages are remediated, you must disclose water damage and mold to buyers. If you never corrected the problem, legal remedies can be pursued against you if, after closing, the buyer discovers the truth.

Disclosure requirements vary between states. Research these and maybe ask a real estate agent to explain them.

Step 6: Alternatively, Sell “As-Is” at a Lower Price or Offer Credit

If you cannot afford repairs, and want to roll the dice on the market, you have two options. You can either lower your asking price or credit the buyer to cover repairs.

The issue here is lenders have strict loan requirements, and buyers cannot secure funding to purchase a property with water damage.

Step 7: Alternatively, Sell “As-Is” to a Cash Buyer

Your best option, if you want to sell fast and without repairs, is to sell to a real estate investor. Investors pay cash for properties in any condition. It can have water damage, mold, and be full of soaked furniture and belongings.

Investors do not need an appraisal or inspection, and they skip traditional sale warranties. All closing costs and additional sale fees are covered by the investor, saving you money. All you have to do is choose the closing date.

You can close in a few months, 15 days or less, giving you plenty of time to pack up anything left untouched by the water. You enjoy a quick closing on a washed up problem property for a sure deal without getting all wet.

burned interior Selling a House with Fire Damage

Selling a Property with Fire Damage

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If you experience a house fire, the loss is stifling. Not only are your personal belongings gone up in smoke, but you lose thousands of dollars in damages to your property. Most times the insurance money is not even enough to cover repairs.

So what do you do? Here is what you need to know if you decide to sell a property with fire damage.

1. Contact Your Insurance

The first thing you need to do is call your insurance and report the fire. You’ll start a claim and provide a copy of the fire report to your insurance agent. They’ll send out an adjuster to take pictures and assess the damage and needed repairs.

Insurance can take a few days or a few weeks. You ONLY need to deal with insurance if you plan to make repairs. If you decide to sell the property “as-is”, filing an insurance claim is not necessary. I recommend you talk it over with your insurance agent though to understand your options.

2. Contact Utilities

While the property is damaged, it is dangerous to continue running electricity, water, or gas. Contact your utility providers to have these shut off till the property is restored. Otherwise, you risk additional damages.

3. Recover Your Possessions

Once a fire department official gives you permission to reenter the premises, retrieve anything of value the fire did not destroy. Also, take pictures and document the damages. When it comes time to sell, you’ll have to disclose to buyers this incident, even if it’s remediated. Keep a copy of the fire report for your records too.

4. Get an Assessment from a Fire Restoration Contractor

This step may be optional, depending on how you feel about the insurance adjuster’s report. It never hurts to get a second opinion. A fire restoration contractor will assess the damage and estimate repair costs.

5. Start the Cleanup Process

If you hire a contractor for repairs, their team will likely do the cleanup for you. This is preferred because exposure to soot can cause health issues. Moreover, you need the proper clothing and equipment to remove contaminated materials and debris.

There may also be water damage and mold from the water used to fight the fire.

Be sure to open the windows to vent smoke and charred odors from the house, but also to ventilate it so it dries out.

6. Make Repairs

Repairs can take several months, depending on the extent of damage. The cost of remediation after a small fire can fall between $3,000 to $5,000. Significant damage though can run up to tens of thousands of dollars.

7. Alternatively, You Can Sell “As-Is” to a Cash Buyer

Chances are you will not find a traditional buyer who can or will purchase a property with fire damage. Even if a buyer were interested, a mortgage lender will not give them a loan unless the house is in good condition.

The good news is a real estate investor will pay cash for a house “as-is”, be it damaged and full of charred belongings. You can skip the formalities of a traditional sale, like warranties, an appraisal, and an inspection. Also, the inspector pays all closing costs and associated sale fees.

You can sell in 15 days or less, or in several months: the investor lets you choose the closing date! You enjoy a quick closing, taking the heat off owning a problem property, and get cash in hand without getting burned.

mold water damage 8 Steps to Sell a House with Mold

8 Steps to Sell a House with Mold

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Mold is nothing to sneeze at. It’s a common problem, and most owners are unaware of it. It can hide inside walls, under floors, or even in the HVAC system. But if you know it’s there, if it’s in plain sight for every walkthrough, what do you do?

Is selling a house with mold even legal? Yes, but lying about the presence of it is not. You must disclose all issues with a property.

Most buyers walk away from a house with mold because it compromises the appearance and structural integrity of the property. Some species are also harmful to your health.

To avoid a price hit or failed listing, here are eight steps to sell a house with mold.

1. Get a Professional Inspection

Hire yourself a professional, before listing, to discover hidden mold, what type it is, and the conditions promoting its growth. This way, there are no surprises when the buyer’s inspector comes through, because you’ll have been forthcoming about these issues.

2. DIY Mold Cleanup

It is tempting to clean up the mold yourself to save on budget. DIY mold cleanup typically involves a bleach solution and a set of small hand tools. You want to be careful not to damage surfaces where the mold colonizes. Less harmful solutions include vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil.

If the affected area is greater than 10 square feet and goes below the surface, you’ll want to hire a professional remediation service.

3. Remediation

Remediation involves the removal of mold, but also remedying the conditions that promote growth. EPA guidelines again suggest that you hire professional services if the mold:

  • Covers more than 10 square feet;
  • Is in your HVAC system; and/or
  • Goes beyond your ability to remove it safely.

Removal requires proper clothing and equipment. Also, the wrong cleaners will promote the spread of mold rather than kill it.

The cost for professional remediation depends on three things:

  • The type of mold;
  • The degree of spreading; and
  • Your geographic location.

Make sure whichever company you look at has the proper certifications.

4. Always Disclose Mold Issues

Whether the issue is remedied or not, it must be disclosed to buyers, using the proper disclosure forms. If remediated, buyers can then take the steps to prevent the mold from coming back.

5. Document Cases and Steps to Remediate

Just like you would if there was fire or flood damage, it is a good idea to document mold cases. Proper documentation includes inspector reports, photos, receipts from remediation services, or DIY steps written out to show how you treated the area.

Each state has its own disclosure rules, and you can check these with a real estate agent.

6. Prevent Further Growth

After removal, keeping the house dry and well-ventilated is an absolute must. Open windows and run fans and even dehumidifiers, if necessary.

7. Alternatively, You Can Lower the Price or Offer Credit

If you would rather NOT go through the hassle of remediation, and the type of mold is non-threatening, there are other options. You can either lower your asking price or credit the buyer for the cost to remedy the issue.

8. Sell “AS-IS” for Cash

If you want to forgo repairs, traditional sale warranties and inspections, you can sell the house “as-is” to a cash buyer. Real estate investors are eager to buy problem properties, so they can fix and flip them. Investors pay the market value, minus repairs, and also cover 100% of closing costs and additional sale fees. You enjoy a quick closing, on a date of your choice, and walk away from a potential hazard, with cash in hand.

electric panel ways to sell a house with code violations

3 Ways to Sell a House with Code Violations

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Code violations often occur when a property is neglected or suffers damage from a disaster. Building codes protect the general welfare and safety of occupants. Failure to maintain a property leads to citations and costly fines.

A house that is not up to code is NOT impossible to sell. The big concern is if a buyer can obtain financing and insurance. Mortgage lenders often require issues to be resolved by the seller prior to closing. But even if a buyer closes on the house “as-is,” house insurance will be pricier.

Here are three options for selling a house with code violations.

Option 1: Make Repairs Before Listing

If you want the best possible price for your property, your best option might be to make repairs. It all depends on the scope of the problem. Simple violations are often inexpensive and do not take long to fix. Larger problems though, like plumbing or foundation, take more time and money. If neither your savings nor your timeline allow for repairs, you may want to look into other options.

You must also take into consideration the market condition. If buyers have property options, they can demand repairs or walk away from a sale.

Option 2: Lower the Price or Offer Credit

If you cannot afford to make repairs, but still want to list, you must disclose all code violations to buyers. You can offer them credit at closing or reduce your asking price. The difference will help the buyer cover repair costs.

Whether you can actually make a sale depends on the sort of violations. If they threaten safety and health, chances are a traditional buyer will not make an offer.

An inspection is required by most loan types. If you are not forthcoming with all issues, and a home inspector uncovers the truth, the buyer will walk away. However, if the inspector misses something, the house closes, and then later it’s discovered, legal action can be taken against you.

Option 3: Sell “As-Is” to a Cash Buyer

If your priority is to sell fast, without repairs, selling “as-is” to a cash buyer is your best option. It is difficult to find a traditional buyer who will pay cash for a problem property. Only real estate investors and house flippers find difficult houses attractive and will throw out offers to purchase.

At SolidOffers, we work with investor buyers who pay cash for properties in any condition. Most pay 70% of the market value AFTER repair value. They also pay 100% of closing costs and do not require traditional sale warranties or inspections. Even better: they let you pick the closing date, in several months, 15 days or less.

If you have questions about selling to an investor, we have the answers.

key to house how to sell rental property

How to Sell a Rental Property

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Selling a rental property has more challenges than selling a primary residence. Often, it is easier and more profitable not to sell it the traditional way. Here are the steps to selling your rental property, even if it is occupied with tenants.

Step 1: What to Do with Your Tenants

Review the lease. Is it a month-to-month lease? If so, give your tenants notice to vacate and when they need to move out. If they and their belongings are not gone by the scheduled date, you can start the eviction process, or opt to sell with tenants.

If the lease is for a fixed term, check for an early termination clause. Early termination means you, the landlord, can break the lease if you need to sell the property. If no such clause is in the lease, your options are limited. You can either:

  • Wait for the lease to expire;
  • Pay your tenants to vacate; or
  • Sell with an active lease

Only investors will purchase occupied rental properties.

Step 2: Evaluate Repairs

Whether your tenants stay or go, a rental property has to be up to par with health codes and regulations. It is your job, as the landlord, to perform regular maintenance and make repairs.

Evaluate the property and assess its damages, if any. Schedule time to make repairs when your tenants are not home. If your reason to sell is because there is property damage, you can sell to an investor who intentionally seeks out properties that need TLC.

Step 3: Clean!

You are going to have walkthroughs with potential buyers. Remember to give notice to your tenants prior to every showing. Ask them to clear clutter and not be present at the scheduled time.

Bad tenants are less inclined to follow your requests, so you may have to pay for professional cleaning and landscaping services.

Step 4: Hire a Realtor

Being a landlord is hard work. If you do not want to sell FSBO, you can hire a real estate agent to manage the sale for you. They will list the property, schedule walkthroughs, and help with sale negotiations.

A few things to keep in mind though:

  • Agents/realtors receive a commission of 3% to 6% of the sale price upon closing.
  • If your rental has damage, and you plan to sell AS-IS, your property is less likely to sell to a regular homebuyer and more likely to be of interest to investors.
  • Tenant-occupied properties will only be purchased by investors.

When your most potential buyer is an investor, you will profit by selling directly to the investor instead of bothering to list the property.

Step 5: To List or Not to List

Identifying your ideal buyer is perhaps one of, if not the, most important step in this entire process. It will save you time and stress, and even prevent you from losing money to identify the target buyer. How do you choose?

You should list your rental if:

  • It is vacant;
  • In great condition; or
  • Needs only minor repairs or quick fixes, which you plan on having done.

You can sell directly to an investor if:

  • The rental is tenant-occupied. You’ll need to disclose if they are non-paying tenants.
  • The property is outdated or needs major repairs.
  • You already tried listing it but it didn’t sell. Failed listings often get the “something must be wrong” label after 30 to 45 days on the market, and consequently sell for less than the asking price.

Step 6: Conduct Walkthroughs

If you are trying to sell, and the lease is expiring, but the tenants still live at the property, ask them about their schedule. Just like with regular listings, and the owners are asked to not be present, ideally your tenants will not be present during showings. However, if you decide to sell to an investor, meeting the tenants may be beneficial since an investor is the only type of buyer who will purchase a rental with tenants. Keep the parties separate though if you suspect there is a risk of bad impressions.

Step 7: Pay Capital Gains Tax

When you sell an investment property, you pay tax on depreciation recapture and capital gains taxes. The amount you are expected to pay depends on multiple factors:

  • The total depreciation expense claimed;
  • Your tax bracket;
  • If you plan to buy a replacement property within 180 days of selling your rental; and
  • If you sell to receive a lump sum or installments (via seller financing).

We work with investors who specialize in purchasing rental properties, and you can discuss options with them. Even so, we recommend you also speak with a tax advisor to find out possible deductions and do the math to break even or maybe get a refund.

Final Thoughts

There are numerous reasons to sell a rental property. High equity, high demand, an increase in value, and the house being in good condition all make it favorable to place it on the market.

Other times the best option is to sell to an investor directly, so you can avoid costly fees and repairs. If your rental is occupied with good or bad tenants, your best, if not your only, option is to sell to a real estate investor.

Our investors offer to pay cash, as a lump sum or installment payments, to purchase the property “as-is.” There’s no need for an appraisal or inspection. Plus, you choose the closing date, in several months, 15 days or less, giving you time to handle last-minute items.

attic bedroom 5 ideas to utilize your attic space

5 Ideas to Utilize Your Attic Space

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Most people use the attic as an extra storage space. In my house, it’s where we put the holiday decorations, gift wrapping, and boxes of family keepsakes. What do you use the attic for?

Would you like to repurpose your attic into a new living space? This is a trending renovation project that can also add value to your house when you decide to sell. Here are some ideas to utilize your attic space and make it your new favorite place in the house.

1. Another Guest Bedroom

If family and friends come to stay, adding another guest room will help fit everyone comfortably. Fit in one or twin beds, maybe a small bureau or chest for putting away clothes. Throw a plush rug down for a soft, warm footpath. Also, you can add soft bedside lighting instead of ceiling lighting, like a couple of table lamps or pendants.

2. Kid’s Playroom

Kids want a secret hideout, a place that is their own. Turn the attic into your child’s clubhouse, where you don’t care if it is a mess, with toys everywhere. Guests will never see it.

You can coat one or more walls with chalkboard paint for the kids to write and draw on. Add some comfy chairs and a large throw-rug. Put in cubicle shelves to organize art supplies and playthings.

3. Peaceful Reading Nook

If you are like me, finding a quiet place to read is hard in a full house. There is too much commotion, too much noise, and you cannot hear the characters on the page.

Turn the attic into your private reading room. All you need is an upholstered couch, maybe a blanket, and a side table for your coffee or wine. Scaled artwork will give the illusion of higher ceilings. Add a skylight for by-day reading and bright task lighting for at night.

4. Your Private Studio

If you are a painter, sculptor, musician, or another sort of artist, you want a creative space that inspires your best work. The attic can be that space. Being at the top of the house will contain noise and fumes from oil paints and turpentine. Just be sure to put in the proper ventilation for your own well-being.

5. A New At-Home Office

57% of employees work remotely now, and working from home continues to trend. Perhaps this is the case with you or your spouse. Maybe one or both of you need a space dedicated to professional work.

You can add one or two desks and comfortable chairs, maybe a small coffee bar and sink. Consider a skylight for natural lighting, promoting better productivity, and desk lighting if you work late hours.

Renovate or Sell

The average cost to renovate an attic can range anywhere from $8,000 to $80,000. When you sell, it may provide 50% to 75% ROI, depending on the attic conversion and if it was well done.

Renovating the attic is a good idea if you choose to stay in your house for another couple of years. Otherwise, you can save your money, on this and other upgrades or repairs, by selling to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer on the house AS-IS. You can use the sale earnings as a down payment on your next house and maybe convert its attic into your ideal space.

white kitchen do-it-yourself kitchen renovation tips

Do-It-Yourself Kitchen Renovation Tips

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Do you want to give the kitchen a fresh, new look before selling your house? A full-blown kitchen remodel recoups only 54% of its cost when you sell. Consider instead making small upgrades that still boost your house value. Here are some easy, budget-friendly things you can do as part of a do-it-yourself kitchen renovation.

Pick Your Appliances First

If your appliances are outdated and you want to replace them, do so before doing anything else in the kitchen. You want to make sure your new appliances fit in the allotted spaces. Otherwise, you will need to widen those spaces.

Buyers appreciate a house with shiny, new appliances included. They may even pay a higher purchase price. New stainless steel appliances have an ROI of 141%.

Flooring Hacks

You will like a floor that lends your kitchen warmth and texture. Hardwood floors are popular, beautiful, long-lasting, and easy to clean. They also increase your house value, recovering 106% of the cost upon sale of your house. In fact, 50% of buyers are willing to pay extra for a house with hardwood floors.

Alternate flooring options for the kitchen include laminate, vinyl, and tile, ranging from $4 to $15 per square foot.

Save on Kitchen Countertops

Countertops are among the most expensive kitchen features. Granite and marble are very nice but very pricy. Lucky for you, there are faux options that imitate those materials and cost under $100.

Laminate and concrete are even cheaper. Per square foot, laminate costs $10 to $40, while concrete prices at $8 to $15. You can enhance your options with special design hacks, like laying epoxy over laminate to give it a shine or painting it with black chalkboard paint.

Friendly Backsplashes

There are easy-to-apply, DIY backsplashes that stay up with adhesive backing or construction glue. These include laminate, which is wipeable and waterproof, veneer stone, subway tiles, or tileboard. Prices for these materials range from as low as $6 to upwards of $13 per square foot.

Cabinet Makeovers

Instead of gutting your kitchen storage, you can give your cabinets a facelift with a fresh coat of paint. You can alternatively stain or lacquer wood cabinetry. Try also adding new hardware – sleek metals add a unique flair and look great if they match the finish of your kitchen sink.

If you paint your cabinets yourself, your base cost may be around $200, subject to the paint brand and supplies you need. Kitchen hardware ranges from $2 to $20, depending on the hardware material.

Let the Pros Do the Important Things

Plumbing and electrical work are best left to the professionals. This way, you save time and effort and do not risk getting hurt. Rewiring old outlets and hanging new lights can take weeks on your own if you do not know these things. Why risk incidents when you can pay to have it done right the first time?

Overhaul Expenses, Sell to an Investor

Is the kitchen DIY remodel to sell your house? Consider the drawbacks. Are there other areas of the house that need attention, maybe major repairs? Is it something you can really do by yourself, or is there a risk that if it goes poorly you will have to hire a professional? Plus, how much time and budget do you have to spend renovating? If you are on a deadline to sell, there may be no time to make improvements.

Don’t waste your time and money! Instead sell your house AS-IS to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer on the house without upgrades or repairs. They actually prefer properties that need TLC and will do the work themselves. You can close in a month or less and spend your earnings on your dream house that comes with its own high-end cooking space.

green lawn and garden easy-to-do landscaping tips to help sell your house

Easy-To-Do Landscaping Tips to Help Sell Your House

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What is the best way to go about beautifying your yard? There are so many variables with do-it-yourself landscaping, such as budget, climate, level of skill and knowledge, and personal tastes. Maybe you’re landscaping for your own use and enjoyment, or to help sell your house. Either way, here are some easy landscaping tips to help you get started.

Before You Plant, Sketch

It is incredible the difference a well-laid-out plan makes when landscaping. Research ideas and note what you like or do not like. Sketch a design to help you plan each phase in a series of steps. You do not need to be an artist; a basic sketch of what goes where is enough. This way, you can tackle one section of your yard at a time, keeping you from feeling overwhelmed.

Year-Round Appeal

Your goal is to plant a yard with year-round interest: this means flowering plants in the spring and summer, fall foliage in autumn, and good makeup in winter. Consider these options:

  • Bulbs and flowering trees in spring;
  • Colorful annuals and a lush lawn in summer;
  • Perennials and deciduous trees in the fall; and
  • Evergreens in winter.

Evergreens are popular because they retain their leaves and needles and green appeal all year round.

Layer Flowerbeds

To create vibrant pops of color and a sense of unity across your yard, layer your flowerbeds. Layering means you plant the tallest plants in the back, and each forward row is shorter. It also provides shape and texture to your flowerbeds, making them a pleasant visual focal point.

Connect Points of Interest with a Path

Lay walking paths between high-traffic areas, like the back door and garage, or the curb and front door. Also, protect your lawn from trampling feet by putting down attractive walkways of wood or stone. These, then, connect elements of your landscape for easy viewing and enjoyment.

Incorporate Hardscaping

Hardscaping refers to any decorative or practical structure, like a driveway, fence, or patio. These features help balance and tie together the softer features of your yard. For example, fences help frame your yard and contain all the elements to one visual space.

There is a heightened interest among house buyers to interact with the outdoors. A patio or deck helps tie the inside with the outside of the house and elevates your backyard. You can recoup 75% of a deck’s cost upon sale of the house, while for a patio, the return ranges anywhere from 30% to 60%.

Clean and Maintain

Both your front yard and backyard need attention, not just every season, but at least every other week. This includes regular weeding, mowing, pruning, and raking of leaves. Consider hiring professionals to do the maintenance if you lead a busy life.

The good news is regular lawn care recovers an estimated 267% of the upkeep costs when you sell your house.

Save Money, Sell to an Investor

If you are getting ready to sell, you can forgo landscaping and other house projects by selling to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer on the house AS-IS, without repairs, renovations, or landscaping. You can enjoy a quick closing and spend your money instead on beautifying the outside of your next home.

patio ways to elevate your backyard (and outdoor spaces)

Ways to Elevate Your Backyard (and Outdoor Spaces)

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Your backyard is just as important as the interior of your home. If you are thinking of selling in the future, 67% of buyers say a private outdoor space is essential in their home search. They want a safe space for pets and children to play and to entertain and promote healthy living. Here are 7 ideas to elevate your backyard and outdoor spaces.

1. Build a Patio or Deck

The average ROI for a professional deck is around 75%, and between 30% to 60% for a patio. What’s the difference? A patio is paved, while a deck is a platform made from lumber or composite. Both increase the square footage of your house and create a space in the fresh air to visit with guests. You can also add furniture or a creative cover, like an awning, pergola, or canopy, to your deck or patio to enhance the space.

2. Outdoor Kitchen

If you love entertaining and cooking, you will love an outdoor kitchen. Rather than go in and out of the house, you can serve and entertain guests seamlessly in one place. Alfresco kitchens are fully functional and can include cabinetry, a grill, bar, wine fridge, or wood-fired pizza oven.

3. Swimming Pool

A water escape is great if you live in a hot climate. Special features, like pool seats, waterfalls, and lighting, also enhance your pool’s appearance. Just know: a pool does not increase your home value any more than 7%, so only put one in if you plan to enjoy it for a couple years.

4. Fire Pit

Spark up warmth and memories around an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. These require little maintenance, are tasteful, and great for every occasion and season. You can spend hours of quality time around one, making conversation and delicious s’mores, and get a sense of the great outdoors in your own backyard.

5. Cultivate a Garden

Gardening cultivates good physical and mental health. Gardens elevate your outdoor spaces with greenery and colorful flowers. You can also plant a produce garden. It will give you fresh, organic food, and you’ll feel good about the fruits of your labor.

6. Build a Better Fence

Good fences make great neighbors. You care about your privacy, right? You want to feel safe and know your activities are your own, and not privy to snoopy neighbors. Build a tall, sturdy fence to contain your backyard oasis and keep children and pets safe.

7. Add Ambient Lighting

The right lights and lighting features can make your outside feel like an extension of your home. They help highlight other features, and promote a sense of awareness and safety at night.

Elevate Your Sale, Sell to an Investor

Elevating your outdoor spaces is great if you plan on living in the house for the next three to five years. Otherwise, don’t waste money on what you won’t enjoy. Instead, elevate your sale by selling to an investor.

Most investors make a cash offer on a house AS-IS. Your backyard can be a brown plot, dead and unkempt. An investor will still buy the house and fix the outdoor spaces themselves. The interior of your house can also be neglected or mid-renovation, and an investor will still make an offer. You can enjoy a quick closing and use the money to elevate the backyard of your next house.

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