Selling Your Home? 10 Landscape Dos and Don’ts
For decades, spring and fall were the prime seasons for home sales, but times have changed. Spring and fall are still peak periods, but in recent years, real estate agents have seen a noticeable uptick in the number and final selling price of homes sold between November and February. This shift is easy to understand, since today up to half of all homes are purchased by childless couples or empty nesters who aren’t driven by school year schedules.
No matter what season it is, the right landscape enhancements have the potential to boost your home’s selling price by 10% to 15% or more. It’s smart therefore to contact your landscaper and enlist professional help as soon as you determine you plan to sell. Schedule a property assessment to pinpoint specific improvements and use the talking points below to guide the discussion.
- Focus on softscape elements. Trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers, grass and groundcovers are the quickest and most affordable way to spruce up a listless landscape.
- Consider desirable hardscape solutions. Resurface a damaged front walkway to boost curb appeal or add a small paved patio to make your home feel and live larger.
- Establish a focal point. Anchor the landscape and increase curb appeal by emphasizing an existing focal point or establishing a new one.
- Eliminate eyesores. Solve the most blatant eyesores, whether it’s a side yard filled with wall-to-wall weeds or a bald back yard that consists of nothing more than packed dirt.
- Make the most of existing elements. Have shrubs, bushes and hedges pruned, trimmed and shaped to remove deadwood, unsightly patches or scraggly growth. Replace or refresh mulch around foundation plants and in planted beds. Have thick tree canopies thinned to introduce more sunlight.
- Remove detractors. Any dead, dying or dysfunctional trees, shrubs and bushes should be removed. Examples include overgrown shrubs that obscure the house or trees that overhang the roof.
- Repair or replace critical features. Repair or replace desirable features such as gates, fences, irrigation systems and installed landscape lighting.
- Invest in ongoing care and maintenance. To reduce hassles and improve results, arrange ongoing care to ensure your refurbished landscape looks its best while your house is on the market.
- Waste time on improvements with limited appeal. Water features are a good example. As popular as they are, they’re rarely the primary attraction for most home buyers and many will see them as a negative not a plus.
- Opt for a last-minute, high-cost makeover. A complete makeover might help the house sell more quickly or garner a slightly higher price, but according to real estate experts, it’s difficult to recoup the cost of expensive, last-minute landscape makeovers.
Share your goals, timeline and budget, so you and your landscaper can work together to develop a plan and establish priorities. In today’s challenging housing market, a well-groomed landscape with a fresh, inviting appearance will help your house stand out from the crowd.