Summery touches to help you sell your home

In most markets, home sales tend to peak in spring and then remain strong through the summer months. In addition to heightened consumer demand, summer also offers sellers a chance to showcase their homes, drawing attention to attractive landscaping features that are hidden beneath a blanket of snow in the winter months.

If you’re looking to sell your home in the summer months, here are a few landscaping touches and backyard improvements that can make your home look more inviting and exciting to potential buyers.

Think of the Children

There’s a reason your realtor bakes a fresh batch of cookies before an open house. The key to selling a house is to make it feel like a home -- a warm, comfortable place where people can imagine raising a family and growing old.

To market your home to buyers with young families, you want to transform your yard into a place where kids can roam free and have fun. Something as simple as a treehouse, swing set or sandbox can offer that hook that makes a potential buyer stop and think, “This is a place where I can raise a family.”

A Well Tended Garden

Poor landscaping is a common problem for sellers -- a once-promising flower garden has given way to weeds, and the lawn has lost its luster beneath the hot summer sun. But these are cheap and easy problems to fix. A little fertilizer and proper watering can get your lawn to look lush and green again. And an afternoon of weeding and a tray full of seedlings can bring that garden back from the brink.

If you plan on selling in a few years, adding a few trees can create an added sense of privacy and help a yard look more pleasant in the summer months. Cypress and poplar are particularly fast growing, allowing you to carve out a nice shady corner in just a few years’ time.

Big-Ticket Items

Offer that hook that makes a potential buyer stop and think.

— Adam Verwymeren

A new wooden porch is one of the five best improvements that you can add to your home, according to a study done by Realtor Magazine. Potential buyers love the thought of long summer nights spent entertaining family and friends on a nice porch, and this sort of addition can really give you an edge in a tight housing market.

Unfortunately you’re never going to recoup the full cost of a major renovation. For a porch, you’re probably going to get back about 70 percent of the original improvement price. So don’t bother building if you are looking to sell in the immediate future. However, if you’re thinking of selling in a few years and wouldn’t mind enjoying a nice, new porch in the meantime, go for it. It could really make a difference down the road.

Backyard Kitchens

While porches can claim the No. 5 spot on the top improvements list, remodeled kitchens come in at No. 3. If you want to cater to a growing foodie class lusting for a perfect culinary space, why not take the kitchen outside and add a few gourmet touches to your yard? By adding a few permanent fixtures like a backyard pizza oven, a bar built into the porch, or a brick barbecue, you offer potential buyers a place where they can dream of entertaining guests and wowing them with a fancy meal.

The Small Stuff

Most homeowners have a long list of neglected chores that they never seem to get around to completing. But if you are looking to sell, it’s time to sweat the small stuff. After you’ve cleaned up the yard, ask yourself, are there other, bigger problems with your yard that might be a turn-off to potential buyers? Rotted out tree stumps, dangling gutters, overgrown bushes or poor drainage that causes water to pool after a heavy rain are all things that can make a buyer think twice about your home. So before you try to sell your home, tackle your to-do list.