Let’s be honest. We judge books by their covers all the time, right? How else would we be able to quickly tell which ones we want to buy? Why else would booksellers spend so much time on crafting the perfect cover?
It’s the same for homebuying. When we have options available, what we see when we’re browsing through real estate sites online, or when we pull up to the curb, is usually the first impression that lasts. That’s why real estate agents are all abuzz about curb appeal.
It begs the question – how much value can curb appeal landscaping really have on the sale value of a home?
John Gidding, the host of HGTV’s Curb Appeal, has proven that landscaping can have a huge impact. After putting in about $20,000 into the landscaping and outdoor aesthetic of one of the homes on his show, the sellers got a whopping $200,000 more than they had paid for the home a year ago.
Sounds too good to be true right? It is.
Gidding’s outcome is highly unlikely. However, in most cases, a well-landscaped home is likely to fetch 5.5 – 12.7 percent more than one with no landscaping. So there’s clearly something there. If you’re getting ready to sell your home, here are the top areas you need to focus on when it comes to curb appeal landscaping that will give the biggest bang for your buck.
Listing Right Away? Clean Up!
If you’re short on time and need to list right away, your first priority should be making your yard look as clean and presentable as possible. You might not be able to fetch a lot of extra dollars with this, but at least people won’t be turned away before taking the chance to look inside.
Start by clearing out the clutter and old furniture around the yard. You don’t want any distractions to pull your viewers’ eyes away from the good stuff. Trim hedges, fix major cracks in pavements and retaining walls, and power-wash outside walls and lawn furniture. These might not be so noticeable to you, but a fresh pair of eyes will notice them right away.
Have A Bit of Time? Light It Up
Outdoor lighting has consistently been the most wanted outdoor feature on the National Association of Home Builders survey each year, with 41% saying it’s “essential” for their new home.
That makes a lot of sense. Not only does lighting improve the aesthetics, it’s highly functional too. Proper outdoor lighting deters potential burglar and helps to prevent slips and falls and other safety concerns.
Additionally, it really brings more attention to that For Sale sign, which you definitely should have. Roughly 1 in 10 buyers in 2014 found the home they ended up purchasing via a yard sign.
When You’re Landscaping for Curb Appeal, Go Native
If you do have a little time to prep your home before putting it on the market, then it’s time to look into some beautification projects such as adding some flowers and freshening up the lawn.
It’s tempting to run to the flower shop and go wild, but don’t just get started and figure it out as you go along. Sketch out a coordinated plan of your yard first, ensuring that the plants you choose complement your house, and the ones around it. No one wants to be the sore thumb that sticks out when they’re new in the neighborhood.
If your green thumb got lost in the mail, and the thought of maintaining a yard gives you hives, don’t worry about it. You can always hire a landscaper to do the initial work needed, and ensure you get low-maintenance perennials that will look great all year with little input from you.
Whatever you do, stick to plants that are native to your area. Maintaining an acre of native plants over 20 years costs about $3,000, compared to the massive $20,000 it would take to maintain a lawn of non-native turf grass.
Prepping For The Long Haul? Think Trees
84% of real estate agents believe a house on a treed lot would fetch more than one without, and they’re right. Mature trees can add 10% or more to your property value, so if you’re planning to sell your house some time in the future, the best time to plant trees is 100 years ago. The second best time is now.
As with plants, think about adding trees that are native to your area and complement the yards in the neighborhood. Always consider how the tree will grow and where it’s likely to land if it goes down. The last thing anyone needs is a towering oak falling through their roof.
Let the Neighborhood Trees Complement Your Yard
Trees can last for centuries, so it’s important to choose carefully. Some grow quickly while others take decades. While they all provide some level of beautification, consider getting some that do double duty – like bear fruits that make great healthy snacks for a family, or provide some comfortable shade for a natural garden lounge.
Curb Appeal Landscaping Is Worth It
Even if you’re not planning to sell in the near future, investing in landscaping now will bring better returns than elsewhere. According to Money Magazine, published by TIME, while you can recovery 100 to 200% of the cost in selling, other renovations, such as kitchen or bathroom remodeling fetch anywhere between a 20 – 125% recovery rate.
As with any other renovations, don’t go too overboard with landscaping. A place that is too high-maintenanced or quirky may work against you, especially for potential buyers who aren’t interested in upkeep. They may be impressed, but it won’t increase value.
Remember that the aim is to give a positive impression and attract buyers to come inside and take a closer look. As far as that’s concerned, putting the extra effort into landscaping is well worth it.