Selling your home? Make sure to landscape
When selling your home, landscaping determines whether your home feels inviting from the outside. Curb appeal is important to 71 percent of homebuyers when choosing their abode, according to a 2013 National Association of Realtors survey. Landscaping is a large part of that curb appeal, says Frank J. Lucco, managing director of IRR-Residential Appraisers & Consultants in Houston.
“That first impression is important,” says Lucco. “If they don’t like the looks of the front of the house, which is mostly landscaping,” often they won’t even go inside.
A landscaping investment could potentially pay a 215 percent return in home value, says Margaret Woda, a Realtor with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton, Md. While you may only recoup 68 percent of kitchen renovation fees, Woda says landscaping is money well- spent.
Keeping up with the Joneses is important, says Lucco. If your neighbors’ yards are run-down, spending a lot on landscaping isn’t worthwhile. But if your neighbors have renovated homes with beautiful greenery, you need to do the same so buyers don’t move on to homes with better curb appeal.
Here are five things to consider with your landscaping.
Planning ahead is important if you want to sell your home. “You can’t just decide to sell your house tomorrow and expect the landscaping to be ready,” says Woda. “If you’re thinking of moving next fall, (then) this spring, you should be working on your landscaping.”
Start by cleaning up the yard, removing dead branches, dog droppings, weeds and anything broken, says Woda. “The most important thing in landscaping is maintenance,” she says.
Eric King, of King Landscaping in Atlanta, recommends investigating the unseen, ensuring the downspouts are clean and functional, and making sure drain pipes are properly buried and draining so water doesn’t pool. Then make sure your hard-scapes (things such as patios, walkways and fences) are level and that roots haven’t pushed up sidewalks or patio stones. If your deck has wobbly railings or loose steps, fix them, says King. “People don’t want a mystery,” he says.
Take a serious look at your plants’ health, says Lucco. “Dead and dying (plants) or things leading to additional maintenance problems need to be corrected.”