Landscaping Checklist

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During the staging process, it's easy to focus on the inside and put the outside of the house on the back burner. But now that the weather is warm, landscaping becomes very important to staged homes. Here is a checklist of items to pay close attention to:

    * Make certain bushes aren't covering up any of the windows. If so, trim them back before the new growth becomes unmanageable. Not only do you want potential buyers to see the windows from the outside, you want the view from the inside to be sunny and open.

    * If you need to add new plants to the flower beds, consider ones that are more mature to make more of a statement.

    * Make certain borders of flower beds are clearly defined. You don't necessarily need to add a border, but use a spade to mark the boundaries. Remove weeds and add fresh mulch.

    * If you mow the lawn yourself, set up a regular schedule so the grass stays neatly clipped. Better yet, hire a service to come once a week to make it less of a burden for you.

    * Colorful flowers that coordinate with the exterior of your house are a nice touch, whether in a pot by the door, on the walkway or in the flowerbeds.

    * Make certain the path to the front door is visible and inviting. If grass is encroaching on the walkway, remove it. If pavers have become embedded in the grass over the winter, take them up and reset them. If potential buyers can't see the front walkway, they won't feel welcomed into the house.

    * Keep houses rolled up, toys out of the yard, and trash cans and recycling bins out of sight. Remove any yard art as that distracts from the house.

    * Make certain your house numbers are visible from the street and in good condition.

    * Keep your car in the garage rather than parked in the driveway. That makes the view of your house unobstructed when potential buyers drive by. And it keeps them from being distracted by the car so that they are not looking at the house.

    * Don't forget the sides of the house, even if no one goes there. Your potential buyers will!

Remember, buyers will often drive by houses that are for sale before they consider making an appointment to see the inside. Make certain you've done everything you can to ensure they want a second look.

Ann Anderson is the owner of Rooms Reborn ( ), a decorating, staging, and redesign business serving Connecticut. She is also the founder and Director of the School of Interior Redesign ( ). a private occupational school teaching staging, decorating, redesign, feng shui, and working with relocating seniors. She is also the co-creator of the Ready2Sellin30Days system which is designed to help do-it-yourself home sellers prepare their homes for sale with less stress.