How to Sell a House with a Bad Yard


|10 min read

When potential buyers pull up to a property, the yard is one of the very first things they see. A nice lawn, landscaping, and ornamental touches convey a welcoming vibe and give buyers a positive first impression.

Many studies show that a great yard can help a house sell fast and increase the price by 10% to 12%. On the flip side, an unkempt, worn-down yard full of weeds, debris, and eyesores does the exact opposite. It announces, “Don’t bother looking inside!” before buyers exit their cars.

Unfortunately, life often gets in the way of yard upkeep. Is it possible to sell a house with a bad yard?

With the right improvements and marketing, you can shift buyers’ focus from your home’s subpar yard to its interior strengths. This guide will walk you through simple upgrades to boost curb appeal on a budget, smart staging techniques, and working with a real estate agent who can properly showcase your property – imperfections and all.

What Makes a Yard Bad When Selling a House?

A home’s curb appeal makes that all-important first impression on new buyers. Unfortunately, many factors can turn a yard from good to bad in buyers’ eyes.

Whether it’s a front yard or a backyard, outdoor features can be just as important to buyers as what’s on the inside. Here are some indications that signal a problematic yard when you’re trying to sell a house as is:

  1. Standing water and drainage issues – Standing water is never a good sign as it’s a strong indication of drainage issues, whether it’s caused by a sprinkler system or poor drainage. Therefore, it’s a major red flag for buyers. Good drainage keeps a lawn green and dry. Standing water can lead to significant problems, including costly foundation issues.
  2. Damaged structures – Falling fences, peeling paint, or chipping siding on a shed conveys neglect.
  3. Pest infestations – The presence of pests like termites, rodents, or invasive insects can make a yard less enjoyable and can also cause damage that is difficult and costly to manage.
  4. Limited Privacy – Yards with little to no fencing or natural barriers may lack privacy, which can be problematic for homeowners who value their seclusion.
  5. Limited Size – A yard that is too small can limit a property’s appeal. Buyers looking for outdoor space might be turned off by a home being too close to the sidewalk or not having enough space in the back for activities. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to fix a small yard except to highlight the other positive features of the home.
  6. Steep Terrain – A yard with a steep slope can be challenging to landscape and has limited usability. Similar to a small yard, steep terrain is difficult to overcome as leveling efforts are extremely costly and come with limitations.
  7. Excessive Shade and Proximity to Large Trees – Trees can greatly enhance a yard’s beauty, but excessive shade may prevent the growth of a lush lawn and garden. Moreover, trees too close to the house can be dangerous, with limbs posing a risk to the structure during storms and roots potentially damaging foundations and utilities. While some trees can be removed, it is expensive and many trees are protected.
  8. Poor Maintenance – Neglected lawns and untrimmed shrubs can quickly lead a yard to appear untidy and abandoned, which can reflect poorly on the overall property. Overgrown grass can harbor pests, weeds can spread to other areas, and unkempt bushes can obscure views and paths, as well as potentially damage nearby structures if left uncontrolled. While this aspect of a bad yard can be rectified with some effort and regular care, it may initially dissuade potential buyers or reduce homeowners’ enjoyment of the space.

The problems of a bad yard can make it harder to sell a home, but it’s not impossible. Repairs take work, but strategic improvements can go a long way toward transforming an unappealing yard.

Start by Assessing and Minimizing Yard Negatives

Once you’ve identified the specific issues diminishing your yard’s curb appeal, it’s time to start addressing them to have the house sold quickly. While fully renovating your entire exterior may not be feasible, you can make great progress by first minimizing the most glaring negatives.

The first step is to assess the condition of your back and front yard objectively. Walk the entire perimeter and make notes of any glaring issues like overgrown areas, drainage problems, large bald spots, peeling paint, or excessive clutter. These obvious negatives will likely catch a new buyer’s eye immediately but can often be fixed easily.

Think about what easy improvements you can make to improve your outdoor spaces. Even simple, low-cost fixes can tidy up an unruly yard. They show buyers you care about the property. If DIY isn’t your thing, hiring a professional for a one-time clean-up can be worthwhile.

Often, investments in yard repairs make a bid different on return on investment. The initial investment prepares your home for showings and photographs.

Find the Right Real Estate Agent

If your home’s bad yard has you stumped on how to boost appeal, finding the right real estate agent can help. They know how to prime a property for sale success despite its flaws. Experienced real estate agents advise on renovations, repairs, or strategic marketing techniques that will help sell a house with a bad yard for top dollar. The agent you work with can make a huge impact on the success of your home sale.

Finding the right local real estate agent starts with FastExpert. Fast Expert makes the agent search simple for sellers. Homeowners can explore and review top area agents based on sales statistics, feedback from past clients, and other performance benchmarks we compile. Get the insights you need to remove the uncertainty of picking the right agent.

With a top real estate agent as your listing partner, you gain the skills and experience to gloss over exterior weaknesses and highlight interior strengths. Their strategic marketing and staging experience attract buyers despite curb appeal challenges.

Make Low-Cost Improvements to Enhance Curb Appeal

If you know you already have a bad yard, either because it’s too small or not very usable, then it’s smart to minimize any other objections buyers may have. Take a few weeks to improve your property and make sure it stands out, despite a bad yard. Spending a little money to improve your home’s exterior can deliver a significant return on investment while helping your home sell faster.

Improving your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many inexpensive fixes that can quickly boost the aesthetic of your exterior.

  • Mow regularly
    Cut the grass to 2.5-3 inches tall for a tidy, uniform look. Mowing frequently prevents patchiness.
  • Fertilize on schedule
    Feed the lawn 1-2 times per year based on grass type. Proper fertilization keeps the grass green and flower beds blooming.
  • Power wash the exterior
    Rent a power washer and blast away dirt, mold, and grime on siding, decks, patios, driveways, and windows. Refreshing facades rejuvenate the look.
  • Touch-up paint
    Freshen up faded paint on the front door, exterior window trims, shutters, railings, fences, or other features. Neutral, modern tones give an updated feel.
  • Install new house numbers
    Replace worn-out or dated house numbers with bold, eye-catching options. This small change modernizes the exterior.
  • Deep cleaning the yard
    Clear out any clutter, pull weeds, edge along walkways, mow, and rake to freshen up the landscape. A tidy yard makes a big difference.

With sweat equity and strategic low-cost improvements, you can noticeably enhance your home’s curb appeal. A few simple fixes make a big impact.

Tips to Improve a Home with Bad Yard and Boost Curb Appeal

Budget-friendly home improvements or landscaping fixes can enhance the yard’s appearance. Applying visual fixes shows buyers the property’s potential while guiding the eye toward positives.

Emphasize the Home’s Interior Strengths

Shifting focus from the yard to the strengths inside the home directs buyers’ attention toward the property’s positive features. Just because the yard isn’t great doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great home.

During showings and open houses, major interior upgrades and recent improvements should be highlighted to justify your pricing to potential buyers. Call attention to the replacement of key systems like the roof, furnace, water heater, or air conditioning in the last 5-10 years. You invested substantially in these home improvements, so ensure buyers see the value they add.

Also, spotlight any custom built-ins, hardwood flooring, accent lighting or other high-end finishes that set your home apart. Your real estate agent can strategically showcase these details that make the interior shine. Pricing appropriately reflects the money and effort you put into upgrades over the years despite the exterior challenges. Savvy buyers will see past the yard when wowed by interior finishes.

Keeping the spotlight on interior finishes and features can override any exterior challenges.

Do Creative Staging to Distract from the Yard

Thoughtful staging helps divert eyes away from flaws in the yard.

Creative staging of outdoor spaces includes:

  • Style outdoor spaces with bright furniture, rugs, and décor.
  • Add lighting to highlight trees, architecture, and lively gathering areas.
  • Stage rooms to lead the eye outward to views vs. the yard.
  • Create vignettes that connect indoors and outdoors seamlessly.

Strategic staging inside and out grabs attention in all the right places.

Use Professional Photography to Your Advantage

Great photography helps minimize focus on the yard’s weaknesses and emphasizes the positives of a property.

Useful tactics include:

  • Take wide shots from the street to minimize focus on the yard.
  • Get close-ups of architectural details and entryways.
  • Focus on interior rooms with great light, flow, and features.
  • Photograph outdoor living areas from flattering vantage points.

Skillful photography can truly reduce the impact of any problem areas and help buyers focus on the great aspects.

Create an Appealing Listing Description

Honest yet positive listing copy also helps direct potential buyers’ focus to the home’s best-selling features. Be honest that the yard might be lacking (or don’t mention it at all), but place more emphasis on communicating the potential and opportunity the home presents.

When working with an agent, make implement the following strategies when writing your listing description:

  • Note upgrades and improvements made over time.
  • Tout conveniences like location and floorplan.
  • Speak openly about yard needs but focus on potential.
  • Emphasize vision for the home and help offered to buyers.

An engaging listing piques interest in all the right ways. Your agent can advise you on crafting the listing in the best light. Share the unique stories and improvements that showcase how much you cared for and invested in the home over the years. Buyers want that background. The right mix of transparency about exterior issues and spotlighting potential gives buyers a complete perspective.

Set the Right Price

Pricing a home appropriately is challenging under normal circumstances. When selling a property with a “bad” yard, finding the right asking price becomes even more crucial. You need to attract buyers despite the exterior flaws while still getting fair market value.

Conduct Comparative Market Research

When determining the right price to help sell your house quickly, you need to start with market research. Your agent should conduct a comparative market analysis (CMA) by researching recent sales of similar homes with curb appeal challenges.

Next, compare list prices to actual sold prices to understand what adjustments may be needed. Your real estate agent’s experience and perspective are invaluable here, as they can guide you in making appropriate deductions in your asking price based on the yard’s condition and impact on appeal.

Factor in Motivations and Market Conditions

If your aim is a quick sale, then pricing is key. Lean towards a more competitive asking price while avoiding pricing too far below market value.

Remember that pricing is negotiable, so allow adequate room for buyers to negotiate downwards, given the yard challenges. An agent can advise you on how to price competitively while still getting optimal value. Highlighting interior upgrades and improvements during showings can help justify your pricing to skeptical buyers.

Partnering with an Experienced Agent

An experienced real estate agent is invaluable for pricing a home strategically, despite a bad yard. Their market expertise helps guide you in pinpointing the sweet spot asking price that helps you sell fast and for top dollar.

Most importantly, a knowledgeable agent keeps you grounded when emotions or lack of detachment may skew your pricing perspective. Leverage your agent’s insights and know-how to maximize your home’s value and marketability, even with an unappealing yard.

Be Prepared for Buyer Feedback

Anticipate and prepare for buyer feedback that may come up by being proactive. Have honest, upfront conversations about the home’s current condition. Don’t try to hide flaws, but do emphasize the potential you see in the property. A great selling agent will provide buyers with ideas and cost estimates for improvements they could make down the road.

Have your agent provide a list of reputable contractors and some ballpark quotes for anticipated renovations like landscaping upgrades or exterior painting. This shows you’ve already done some legwork for buyers to consider, making it easier for them to make a decision.

Even with all the preparation, negotiations may require credits or assistance to get the deal done. Stay flexible and positive. Reassure buyers you aim to find win-win solutions for both sides. With reasonable expectations and compromise, you can have constructive conversations around the exterior issues while keeping the sale moving forward.

Achieving Success Despite a Bad Yard

Selling a home with a bad yard is achievable with the right strategy. That is where a reliable, trusted real estate agent guides you in the home-selling process.

Focus on showcasing interior strengths through staging and photography. Light landscaping improvements can also divert attention away from problem areas. Most importantly, price realistically based on thorough research and input from an experienced agent. Craft the listing to tell the home’s story in the best light, being honest yet emphasizing its potential.

With FastExpert, quickly connect with top-rated local agents matched to your needs. Discuss your situation, and receive expert advice for overcoming specific exterior challenges. Consult with one of your area’s top-rated real estate professionals on FastExpert today.

With the right expertise guiding you, selling your home despite its flaws is totally achievable.

Kelsey Heath

Kelsey Heath is a real estate content specialist with an extensive background in residential, industrial, and commercial property. She has been involved in the industry for a decade as a professional and personal investor, gaining a deep understanding of the market and trends. With a passion for written communication, Kelsey loves helping people understand the sometimes-complicated concepts behind real estate and is now a sought-out guest and ghostwriter.

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