Summertime can be a great season to sell your house. Why? During these hot months, your landscaping and outdoor spaces come alive. Today's buyers are looking for extended living areas and love usable outdoor space.

According to HGTV, outdoor spaces can bring in big bucks. Jon Seppala, president of Action Builders, notes, "Backyards and outdoor patios have to be much more substantial than in the past. Built-in grills, outdoor fireplaces, gazebos — people are looking for these features. We've had people who have fallen in love with the house and have decided to buy before they walked in the front door."

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has also identified a trend, noting during a recent panel that young homebuyers (Gen Xers) are looking for homes with a connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, even in colder climates, to create the perception of greater home size, even if the space is only usable for part of the year."

Here are some tips to take advantage of Summer selling.

First, keep your home cool. Have your AC turned up to a comfortable level during showings and open houses. If you live in a region where you don't have or need AC, be sure that you use fans or open windows for breezes to create a nice atmosphere. The last thing you need is a prospective buyer distracted by sweat or humidity. You want them focused on your wonderful home!

Heat also has a way of bringing out the worst of smells in our home. To hold these deal breakers at bay, have your carpets cleaned when you list your home for sale. Next, roll up your sleeves and be sure you clean your home before any showing. Bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchen are notoriously stinky. Focus your attention on these!

When your home is listed for sale, it's your responsibility as the seller to keep your yard, landscaping, and pool maintained. Overgrown trees, shrubs, and lawns not only seriously depreciate curb appeal, they can also turn a buyer off.

If you are unable to stay on top of this task each week, hire local workers to keep your yard looking in top shape. This expense will come back to you when you make the sale.

Landscaping is expensive and buyers know this. Why not showcase one of your most valuable assets? Trim existing trees to their best advantage. Have gardens, paths, benches, and pool ready for enjoying. Buyers know that a fully landscaped yard will save them time and money. Plus, it's already ready to enjoy.

As a courtesy to prospective buyers, you may also consider compiling a list of locally recommend handy men, gardeners, and pool maintenance companies.

Finally, staging patios and porches is important. From family gatherings to al fresco meals, these hot spots get lots of use.

Start your staging with a thorough cleaning. Powerwashing decks, patios, and furniture can make dirty items look new again. For furniture that needs a bit more TLC, apply a fresh coat of paint. Next, stage for an "event." Replace wornout cushions and invest in simple outdoor accessories. A selective arrangement of candles, glasses, and even a nice table setting can be the icing on the staging cake.

The bottom line is that caring for the outdoor living spaces of your home can make or break a sale during the Summer. Take full advantage of all your home has to offer.

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