Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 24, 2015

REALTOR ASSOCIATION president’s message

Get outside!

Staging interior rooms and enhancing your curb appeal are just as important as making the most of your outdoor living space. Not just in Greater Chattanooga but across the country, we’re seeing more and more buyers include on their wish list features to extend their entertaining opportunities outside.

While outdoor spaces do not add to a home’s square footage, they certainly add value for which buyers are willing to pay. For example, screened porches and covered decks extend a home’s usable space without adding in measurable space considered by appraisers and the tax assessor.

Realtor Magazine recently shared these perspectives from Realtors across the county that further demonstrate the demand for and desirability of outdoor living spaces:

Size up a listing’s outdoor space: An outdoor space doesn’t have to be huge to make a big impact. “A lot of times, buyers walk into a backyard and say, ‘I don’t know what to do with this,’” says Maggie Claprood, a real estate pro with RE/MAX Carriage House in Mount Juliet, Tenn. “Let them see possibilities, like ‘this is the seating area’ and ‘this is where you could garden.’ It’ll make the space feel usable, and they’ll then perceive it as part of the home.”

Here are some ways to do it:

Cozy conversation areas: To stage an outdoor porch area, stager Lena A. Pereira with Westside Staging Solutions drew from the home’s “shabby chic” interior style and filled the area with vintage accessories and grouped furniture around a tabletop fire pit to show it as a great spot for get-togethers.

Relaxing respites: Kat Bryant, with the Phillips Realty Group and Associates in the Dallas area, staged a porch seating area using two outdoor sofas with colorful throw pillows, an outdoor rug, and plants and wooden birdhouse accessories “to invoke the feeling of comfort and serenity.”

Memorable entertainment spots: When buyers look at a deck or patio, get them to think: “Wow, imagine the fabulous entertaining I can do here!” says Jackie Wall, a home stager with Renew This House in Oriental, N.C. “You want them to think of intimate dinners with friends and loving family gatherings. Would broken lawn chairs, a rusty grill, and pots of struggling plants give your buyer that mental picture? Probably not.” Pereira recently staged a home’s yard, placing a table and chairs in the middle of a garden area and stringing lights around the trees surrounding it, capturing a warm glow for listing photos and evening showings.

Beautiful built-ins: A recent report by the National Association of Home Builders found that outdoor kitchens can bring the seller up to 130 percent of the initial investment. If your listing has one, showcase it. Dawn Marie, a broker-owner of Kahala Associates in Honolulu, wanted to show off the built-in grill and dining space of a home, so she minimized the furnishings, dressed up the stone barbecue using Tuscan Sienna marble slabs, and added half-round wood molding glued to the exposed edges for a “bullnose effect.” She also covered the neighbor’s “unsightly” cinderblock fence with matchstick bamboo and planted a garden and herb bed at its base.

Paint an idyllic scene: Send buyers a subtle message of relaxation and entertaining by creating vignettes. For example, whether it’s just draping an afghan over the outdoor sofa, leaving a gardening magazine flopped open on the coffee table, or a pitcher of lemonade with glasses on a bistro table, you can give buyers an image of a peaceful retreat. Pereira created an inviting hot tub vignette at a home she staged with two glasses of wine, rolled-up towels, and a candle, with the hot tub bubbling.

Sellers enhancing their current outdoor space to enjoy now will want to consider features that will increase the home’s value to future buyers. In their home search, buyers should review their wish list and rank the importance of both inside and outside spaces. Real estate transactions are complicated, and there is much variety. Rely on a Realtor – a professional, local market expert – to guide you through making the most of all your space.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,500 members, and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For information, visit www.gcar.net.