A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

Winter Home Staging for Your Exterior

I raked the leaves from my front yard on Friday, and by Sunday you would not have known that fact, except for the pile of leaf bags by the side of the house. In Houston, we never have a true winter, but we do get a steady stream of leaves falling from late autumn till well into winter. I looked over at my neighbors yards to see how they are faring, and the only house that does not have to deal with these leaves belongs to a couple they will not have trees in their yard because of this fact. I picked my house because of the trees. It was one of the first features that attracted me to it.

As I was raking yet again, I thought about two homes which I pass by on a consistent basis. The homes have been up for sale for some time now, and they are not looking to well cared for. It is mainly the gardens which make this impression. The ornamental grasses are brown, and the slight frost has left its mark on some of the annuals. The trees have dropped much of their leaf canopy. The interiors have been taken care of, but buyers walking through the yard are just reminded of the yard work that will be in store for them, once they move in. Houston’s fickle climate places the vibrant plants against their dull counter parts in most gardens, but for the home that is for sale, the contrast dispels the fantasy of the new home for the buyer.

In climates like Houston where plants cannot seem to make up their mind, and the leaves drop to the ground at their own pace and whim, keeping the garden clean is a priority for the seller. Buyers know that they will have to work in the garden, but reminding them of that work before they move in does not sit well in their minds when deciding which home to purchase.

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