Selling your home? Make sure to landscape. Here are some smart tips to follow when deciding on landscaping improvement before you sell on what to do, how much to spend and how to get it done.
When selling your home, landscaping determines whether your home feels inviting from the outside. Curb appeal is important to around 70 percent of homebuyers when choosing their abode, according to several surveys. Landscaping is a large part of that curb appeal.
The first impression is important. If potential buyers 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 more than 200 percent return in home value. While you may only recoup around 60 percent of kitchen renovation costs, landscaping is money well- spent.
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 top actions to consider with your landscaping.
Planning 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. 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. The most important thing in landscaping is maintenance.
Top landscapers recommend investigating the unseen, ensuring the downspouts are clean and functional, and making sure drainpipes are properly buried and draining so water doesn’t pool. From there make sure your hardscapes (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. People don’t want a mystery.
Take a serious look at your plants’ health. Dead and dying (plants) or things leading to additional maintenance problems need to be corrected.
If you’re in an established neighborhood, remove overgrown shrubs encroaching on the sidewalk or ones that are too big, don’t flower or are out of style. They look terrible to anyone except the owner. As an owner, you may have an emotional investment in them, having tended to them for decades. Let go of your shrubs. Dig them up.
In the front yard, landscaping’s role is to help people notice the house first. The landscaping should pull your eyes to the front door. While the Realtor is opening the lockbox, buyers will be looking around at the landscaping, so have pots of blooming flowers nearby.
Trees, bamboo, and other screening plants can be used to hide anything unsightly, such as your neighbor’s garage door or the trash cans. You want to make your house look good and hide the ugly views.
Foundational plants such as evergreens are better than those that lose their leaves. “What if you want to sell your house in the winter?” Also, plants that are beautiful when blooming don’t add to curb appeal out of season. Accent plants such as knockout roses bloom all summer.
Trees can add value, providing canopy, shade, and insulation from sun, but they have issues, too. Tree roots can damage the foundation, die or be too close to the house. Buyers may not want fruit- or nut-bearing trees. Some buyers won’t pay one penny extra and might even cut them down.
In the backyard, people like a comfortable spot to hang out. Think decks or patios.
Other personalized options, such as fire pits, outdoor kitchens, fountains, and lighting, are things that make a backyard more of a paradise. You don’t just walk out and look at a fence.”
Only install a fire pit, outdoor kitchen, or water feature if you want them because you likely won’t recoup your money. A small statue fountain is less money and maintenance and may not be overwhelming. Anything over $5,000 that’s hard-scape in those categories, do (it) because you want it, not because you’re doing it for resale.
These features can positively impact an appraisal if they’re quality construction and well-maintained. Some materials are better than others. A cobblestone patio is better than poured concrete. A stacked stone retaining wall is more appealing than railroad ties. That said, railroad ties and a poured concrete patio are better than one lacking any patio or any retaining wall where one is needed.
As for furniture, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be in good condition. Power-wash it if needed. Get new cushions. That’s an inexpensive way to dress things up.
Don’t waste your money
It’s easy to get carried away fixing up a yard to look good for buyers. Do no install anything too personal or unique that lacks universal appeal.
Don’t waste money buying all mature plants. Spend money where you need it. If you have a few spots driving you crazy where you want privacy, buy one or two big specimen trees. For the rest, put in a 3-gallon flowering shrub.
When trying to make a statement by your front steps, spend the money and get a larger plant. Otherwise, put in smaller plants, and be patient as they grow.
Fencing is another asset to buyers, whether they have kids or just want privacy. Pick the right fence, though. Alternate board fencing is popular, but you’ll be wasting money if you put in stockade and chain-link fences.
Keep it simple
When trying to sell a house, create a nice, simple lawn area and mulch the bed. Limit the number of plants and simplify the design so you don’t have 200 different plants that people don’t recognize and will be scared to take care for.
Design the yard with plants and grass that work well in your environment and that don’t need a lot of water, fertilizer and pruning. Choose plants that grow in your area.
That also means knowing how the plant will grow before you buy it. Plants look good to people when they go to the nursery because they’re in small, 1-gallon containers. And then two years from now, they have a giant tree in front of their house.
A lush lawn that’s well-graded and healthy is appealing. This is America. We love our lawns. A lawn doesn’t have to be large if there’s a focal point or play area. Take care of it and keep it beautiful. If xeriscaping is popular in your area, go that route. Xeriscape landscaping looks great and it’s easy to maintain.
Just like inside your home, remove outdoor clutter, which could include unrelated, different-size plants.