St Augustine, St Johns County Real Estate & Home Staging


When the Stager on the block has the WORST house....

I've got to be honest.  For the last year I've been practically afraid to be in my yard.  I would get in and out of my car in a hurry and dissppear out of view as soon as possible.  When we bought an estate house a year ago in an attempt to downsize, we didn't plan on the things that happened over the past year.  We really thought we could get more done in a shorter period of time.  The inside of the home was such a nightmare that it took priority.  Every single surface needed replacing or painting.... I'm really not kidding! 

Still, when you live in an established neighborhood, on one of the primary corner lots next to homes that look like this:

kings grant

Perfectly little trimmed bushes, green lawns, gorgeous oak trees that are uplighted at night (stunning really).... This particular house is right across the street from me.  So, I'm pretty lucky.  I love looking at their house.  Unfortunately, until 3 weeks ago, this was their view.

no lawn

Now can you see why I rushed to and from my car?  It's been embarrassing!!!  The home across the street from the front door had a slightly better view, but not much better.....

front door

Finally, 3 weeks ago, it was time to start addressing the exterior of the home.... We ended up spending about $3500 on new sod and landscaping, but I think you'll be impressed with the difference.  I know I am!!

new lawn


front house

You can still see where it is growing in here.  Can you also see that we replaced the lighting by the front door?  I should have turned it on for the photo.... why didn't I think of that?

Finally I'm not embarrased to be out in the yard.  When neighbors walk by I smile and wave instead of trying to hide my face like someone in witness protection. 

Last weekend, we were talking to one of the neighbors, that's right TALKING TO THE NEIGHBORS, and he shared with us that he had been looking at that baren corner for 25 years.  Apparently the neighbor who had lived here previously had a case of depression and no one wanted to confront them about the yard, afraid that it would make him even more depressed. 

In the last few months, we've made the decision that despite our attempt to downsize was an error - a learning curve.  Now we've got 7 more weeks to finish getting the house ready and put it on the market.  We'll be moving back into our larger but fully complete new construction home.  Living in a home that needs this kind of work just isn't in my to-do list anymore.  I'm finally one of the rest of the buyers - I want move in ready..... I think I would like to just "live" in my house for a while.

From the point of view as an investment in the sale of our home, I think this was a HUGE improvement.  If we had not replaced the lawn then buyers would likely expect that everything else in the home was neglected.  No matter how good the inside may look, with this kind of curb appeal (or lack thereof) buyers will not believe that you have pride in ownership and you can expect much lower offers.


 Author Bio: Melissa Marro, Home Staging Industry leader, Realtor, and entrepreneur offers a unique perspective on New Home Construction, Resale Residential Real Estate, and Home Staging

For more information on buying or selling in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, or Jacksonville, area, visit or call Melissa Marro (marro.melissa at, Keller Williams First Coast Realty, for more information (904-466-2093).


Comment balloon 14 commentsMelissa Marro • July 19 2011 12:35PM


Melissa - it's amazing what a difference a lawn can make!  I can relate to your situation; we had to move back into our smaller home when it didn't sell; we left "my" nice furniture in the bigger home to unload it, and had my husband's "bachelor" furniture in our home.  I was embarrassed to have friends over - how could someone who owns a furniture company have such hodge-podge, ugly furniture and almost no decor....?!?!? 

Posted by Sharon Lord, New Home Advisor (Maracay Homes) over 7 years ago

Congratulations!  Your new yard looks gorgeous!

Posted by Irina Netchaev, Pasadena CA Real Estate (Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Your yard looks great. I know that took alot of hard work. Good Job!

Posted by Terri Poehler, Coral Springs Real Estate Agent (Realtor) over 7 years ago

It looks beautiful - good job. I just downsized too, but even though I like big houses, I learned my lesson and figured out less is more.

Posted by Lori Bowers, The Lori Bowers Group over 7 years ago

Looks great. Enjoy!

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 7 years ago

Melissa- it is a huge improvement!  I'm at a point where it is nice not to have our house rule us.  Loved your post!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 7 years ago

...or you could have Staged the lawn with, it really does look so much better - lush, cool and green!

Posted by Julia Maher, Connecticut Home Stager (Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes) over 7 years ago

Sharon - everyone expects us to have picture perfect homes, but it doesn't always work that way... lol.  It's kind of embarrassing when people find out.  lol....

Irina - Thank you!

Terry - well.... I paid someone to do it really, but the inside has been a lot of hard work... lol. 


Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 7 years ago

And with your updates, upgrades, finishing touches, and SUPERIOR staging... you will rock that market and sell it before all others!  You go Melissa!

Posted by Laura Sargent (Carolina One Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Lori - I really was looking forward to downsizing but I guess we should have done it in a house that was completed, not one that needed so much work.

Doug - Thanks!

Kathy - When the kids were little I never felt the house ruled us.  Maybe it was because so much of our lives was spent in it.  Now that they are older - in a few months I'll only have my 15 yr old left at home - it just seems like a lot of work!

Julia - unfortunately farm animals are against HOA... lol.... it would certainly have helped to explain the yard.  And as much of a joke as that is, according to our neighbors, the previous homeowner did have a full sized pig, ferrats, birds, cats and more.... and they all lived INSIDE the house.  I think they all understand why the effort has been inside until now....

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 7 years ago

Laura - Thank you!  We'll also be pricing to sell.  Our other home's lease is up on October 31 and we would very much like to just move right back into it when their lease is up. 

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 7 years ago

HI Melissa, absolutely right on the mark about buyers want move in ready. Plus your yard makes the house look like it is maintained inside and out. Great work as always. 

Posted by Michelle Finnamore, Preparing your property for sale (Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket) over 7 years ago

Yes, the yard is beautiful!  Nice soft turf to sink in the For Sale sign.  I've had it with our house and all the unfinished projects also.  This week I made a master DO IT list. (4 pages...ouch)  We're not moving right away, but I want to be ready when the time comes!  And why not enjoy the upgrades a little?  Good luck with the sale.   

Posted by Debra Landy, PA and NY Home Stager (StageTwoSell LLC) over 7 years ago

The exterior looks much better and yes you are correct when you say 'exterior curb appeal' does people will want to come inside and see what other great things have been updated in this home.

Posted by Wendy Tomm, CCSP, RESA-PRO, BBB - Wpg Realtors (Beyond the Walls) over 7 years ago

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