Hitting 70 degrees in February was not only a pleasant surprise but also a pleasant reminder: This is the time of the year when you want to think about listing properties with outdoor spaces.
Whereas most people are used to front lawns and backyards, New Yorkers consider outdoor spaces, such as a garden or balcony, to be a real luxury. And once they have had a home with this luxury, it turns into a necessity, as an outdoor space then becomes a must-have for all future home searches.
Others underutilize their outdoor space and use their balcony as an extra storage space. So how should you, as an agent, treat outdoor spaces?
1. List during the best time
When listing a property with an outdoor space, you want to make sure you’re highlighting the space as best as possible. It’s not going to look too appealing with snow on the ground in January.
The ideal times to list is when the space can be used: May to September. Schedule appointments and photos to be taken of the space when it’s looking its best, fresh with greenery and flowers in bloom.
2. Bring the space’s best features to light
A backyard is super attractive in the summer, but go a step further — it’s a beautiful, leisurely and cost-friendly alternative to leaving the city for a weekend.
A balcony is appealing — and if it’s right outside the kitchen, it’s the perfect tranquil place to enjoy morning coffee.
3. Show how the space is going to be used
If it’s large enough for entertaining, then have the outdoor table set for dinner. If it’s smaller, then have an herb garden planted to show the different ways the space, however small, can be used.
4. Don’t show the space in violation of rules
One important factor to remember is to make sure nothing in the outdoor space is in violation of any rules.
For example, an apartment with a barbecue on the balcony is in violation of fire codes. Unless the listing is a townhouse with a private backyard, make sure you’re complying with all the building rules.
Assessing the value of a listing with an outdoor space can seem complicated.
Every now and then it’s easy to come across a small apartment with a terrace that’s larger than the actual apartment. Or a multi-bedroom apartment that comes with a small Juliet-style balcony.
Furthermore, how do you value a balcony facing the back of a building as opposed to one facing the street? Or one facing the park while one faces an avenue with traffic?
When it comes to assessing the value of the outdoor space, the accepted rule is the outdoor square footage is valued at 25 percent to 50 percent of the price per square foot of the interior space.
For example, if the price per square foot of the interior of an apartment is $1,000 per square foot then the outdoor space would be $500 per square foot.
This formula is important because it takes into account the usability of the outdoor space — the Juliet-style balcony won’t have the same value as the terrace.
The best time to list a property with an outdoor space is coming up, but it’s never too early to prepare how to market it.