Landscaping Your Home To Sell: 10 Tips To Increase Property Value
The best part about landscaping is that even though it’s one of the most valuable home improvements you can make, it’s also one of the easiest. If you’re wondering how to turn your landscape into one of your home’s most valuable assets, here are some tips to get you started.
1. Match Landscape to Your Home’s Style
The best way to get an excellent return on investment with landscaping is to make sure it fits with your home’s style.
If you have a modern home style, such as the prairie or industrial style, create a more modern landscape by relying on plenty of greenery and natural-looking beds that fit the contours of your property.
2. Consider Maintenance
Start by cleaning up the yard, removing dead branches, dog droppings, weeds and anything broken. Dead and dying (plants) or things leading to additional maintenance problems need to be corrected. “People don’t want a mystery,” says Eric King, of King Landscaping in Atlanta.
3. Design With a Strategy in Mind
You’ll need to have a good strategy.
A study by the Virginia Tech Department of Horticulture found that a good foundation planting along with a couple of well-designed points of interest can increase your home’s value by up to 42 percent. The ideal landscape has a good mixture of shrubs and perennials, but it doesn’t have one of every kind of plant that you can find at the garden center. Instead, it has a uniform look with just enough diversity to make it interesting, but not so little that it becomes boring.
4. Achieve Seasonal Balance
Think about ways to make your landscape attractive all year — blooming bulbs for spring, annual beds around the house during the summer, shrubs with brightly colored leaves in the fall, and evergreens for the winter. Even though most buyers will be looking at your home during one season, they’ll notice the balance you’ve created and they’ll think about how beautiful the home will be as the seasons change.
5. Consider Hardscaping
Retaining walls, stairs, walkways, patios, and other features made of wood, brick, concrete, and stone make your backyard user-friendly. These projects need to be set into place before you plant trees or shrubs.
Start by making a list of all the things you wish you could have, like an outdoor kitchen, swimming pool, cabana, deck, patio, built-in fire pit, and barbecue. Then, choose what will work best on the property and what you can afford.
Hardscaping ideas for the front of the house include built-in ceramic planters, tiled steps, and lantern posts.
6. Spend Money Where You Need It
Don’t waste your money. Do not install anything too personal or unique that lacks universal appeal. Don’t waste money buying all mature plants. 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. “I’ve heard many clients say they’ll have the expense of putting in a fence if they buy that house. 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,” says Margaret Woda, a Realtor with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton, Md
7. Plants and Trees
In the front yard, landscaping’s role is to help people notice the house first, says Eric King. 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.
A few simple trees can make an enormous difference to the sale price of your home. In one study, simply living on a tree-lined street added between 10 to 15 percent to the sale price compared to neighborhoods with fewer trees. So why are trees worth so much? Trees remove carbon dioxide and pollution from the air, so people view them as an eco-friendly option. The shade helps keep neighborhoods and homes cooler and more pleasant, which in turn cuts air conditioning costs. Trees are also a stress reliever — people enjoy relaxing in their shade or gazing at the leafy view.
8. Edge Your Lawn
Few things look nicer than a healthy, vibrant, carefully maintained lawn — except for a lawn that is all of those things and neatly edged. The confined look of an edged lawn gives it an easy-to-maintain look. In other words, no weed whipping or weeding required.
Edging along driveways, sidewalks and garden beds also shows prospective buyers how meticulous you have been concerning the property’s upkeep. They’ll know that if you’re willing to keep the edges of your yard looking nice, the rest of the property is likely in pristine condition, too.
Of all improvements to boost home value, landscape is one that will get you the largest return on your investment. Just make sure that you design your landscape with a plan, and don’t let that design become so complex that the mere thought of all the maintenance chases away your buyers.
9. Curb Appeal Ideas
Curb appeal refers to the level of attractiveness one may feel for a property when viewing it from the street. In its simplest form, however, curb appeal is a subjective appreciation for a physical asset. Homes with great curb appeal, for example, are attractive to those viewing them from the street. The house presents itself well and all of the typical components are in place: the yard is well-kept, the paint is vibrant, the siding looks good, the roof is intact, and things are in order.
If you want to give yourself the best chance to sell your property, there are a few additional areas you should address to improve your curb appeal. You should assess which items around the house are in need of updates. Take a look at the current state of your own home and identify which aspects are due for an update.
Don’t forget to check for the following:
Mold & Mildew: Be sure to address any signs of mold or mildew, as these are sure to turn off potential buyers. Better yet, do your best to eliminate any sources of moisture that may be the cause of the problem.
Windows & Gutters: Whether they need to be replaced, cleaned or added, windows and gutters play an important role in curb appeal.
Equipment: Nobody wants to see the equipment you use to maintain your property. Therefore, be sure to store everything in their proper locations. Everything from trash cans to hoses to lawn mowers should be hidden appropriately.
Lighting: Curb appeal isn’t relegated to daytime hours. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to make sure the home is just as attractive at night as it is during the day. String low-voltage lighting along your driveway, sidewalks and near important landscaping elements. Feel free to add a decorative lamp to your front porch. Simply light up your home at night with attractive lighting and your efforts will be rewarded.
10. Keep it simple
When trying to sell a house, “Carve out a nice, simple lawn area and mulch the bed,” Eric King says. “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 of.” A lush lawn that’s well-graded and healthy is appealing, says King. “This is America. We love our lawns.” He adds that the lawn doesn’t have to be large as long as there’s a focal point or play area. “Take care of it, and keep it beautiful.”
“Life is chaotic enough,” he says. “Landscape should be simple, elegant and beautiful.”