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The 3 P’s of Poolside Staging

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By Suzanne De Vita

Pools are make-or-break features for homebuyers – they’re either at the top of dream-home wish lists or a deterrent for buyers who shudder at the thought of another maintenance project.

Even if the buyer doesn’t necessarily want a pool, there is a way to persuade them otherwise, and that’s through staging. The key is to create a space that’s an extension of the rooms inside, advises Patti Stern, interior decorator and accredited staging professional with PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, a firm based in Cheshire, Conn.

“When staging a pool area, you have to consider that the space is not just part of the landscape, but also an outdoor living or family room,” Stern says.

Call it a Jedi mind trick, but staging with a bit of polish, pizzazz and panache will make even the most stubborn water-world naysayer become a splash-down addict. Here’s how to to do it:

Add Polish. As with indoor staging, cleaning should be first on your list. Store inflatables, noodles and other pool toys in a shed nearby. Don’t have enough storage? It’s time for a trip to Home Depot.

It’s imperative that the pool itself is clean, too. “We had a client with a kitchen that overlooked the backyard. The first thing buyers noticed was the view of the sparkling pool. The crystal clear water helped them envision taking a dip, reading a book and relaxing in the backyard of that home,” says Stern.

Pro tip: Don’t don scuba gear and scour the floor with a toothbrush. Let the experts handle the underwater scrub-down.

It’s also important that the surface surrounding your pool is in pristine condition. Whether you have cement, brick pavers or wood, rent a power washer and blast away. If you have cement, you’re in luck – you can DIY by brushing away stains with a combo of non-abrasive bleach and water.

Add Pizzazz. If your outdoor furniture’s seen one too many pool parties, it’s time to invest in new pieces. Two or three lounge chairs will suffice, but for goodness’ sake, don’t plop down those plastic Adirondack chairs and call it a day. Get something sturdy with modern lines in a popular finish, like wood, wicker or aluminum.

For landscaping, add a nod to the tropics with potted plants, or plant low greenery around the fence – I stress low because you want to keep the pool visible for safety purposes. On a similar note, inspect the fence to make sure all latches work properly and there are no gaping holes or other broken areas.

Lastly, punch up your poolside by carving out space for dining. Stage the table as you would in any home, but chuck the “neutral” staging mantra; you can absolutely get away with vibrant colors outside. “Oranges and yellows are popular picks, as well as serene blues,” Stern notes. Bonus points if you’ve got a gleaming grill to complete the look.

Add Panache. Pull out all the stops during a showing. It’s fine to throw the cover on when buyers aren’t around, but be sure to remove it and turn on the filter when they come calling. If your pool boasts a water feature, like a waterfall or hot tub, turn them on. Ripples and movement entice buyers.

The finishing touch? Pop open the umbrella and place outdoor cushions on lounge and dining chairs. The cushier, the better; nothing screams relaxation better than soft, plush seating.

Patti Stern, ASP, is the owner of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating in Cheshire, Conn. To connect with her, please visit her website.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online associate editor and social butterfly. Like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, she hopes one day to endorse sandwiches in a Subway commercial.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall.

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