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Even in a ‘hot’ real estate market, any potential home seller wants to get the best possible price for their home. And while interior features, improvements and staging can certainly help raise a home’s perceived value in the eyes of home buyers, what some sellers do not realise (and are not advised about) is the fact that landscaping can, when done right, pay a 215 percent return in home value. In other words, it’s likely to pay off if you spend some time working on your lawn as well as your kitchen.
But just what is landscaping ‘done right’ these days, in terms of curb appeal anyway? Here are some pointers to set you off in the right direction:
Plan Ahead – If you want your home’s exterior space to contribute as much as it possibly can to your home’s value then you do have to plan ahead, as great landscaping really does not just happen overnight. That means, for example, if you are planning to move in the summer, your work should begin as soon as the last snow has melted away.
Begin with the Basics – Before you get into the aesthetics of new landscaping you need to pay attention to some very basic details, including those that are not readily visible. This means things like making sure that drain pipes are correctly buried and are draining properly, so water doesn’t pool when it rains.
You then need to take a look at your hardscapes (things such as patios, walkways and fences) to ensure that they are as level as possible and that stray roots haven’t displaced sidewalks or patio stones. And if your deck has wobbly railings or loose steps, fix them.
Out with the Old – The majority of home buyers are looking for a home with great landscaping but don’t want to have to work too hard to keep it that way. For this reason, you do need to take stock of the current tree, plant and shrub inventory of your home’s outdoor living space. If there are plants that are fading, or are extremely difficult to care for, you may want to consider removing and/or replacing them.
Make Use of Landscaping’s Powers of Disguise – Trees, bamboo and other screening plants can be used to hide anything unsightly, such as your neighbor’s garage door or the trash cans. This can be especially effective in the front yard, as, while the agent is retrieving the key from the lock box their buyers really have nothing else to do except take in the scene immediately around them. This is where a little clever landscaping can make your house look good and hide the ugly views that you have no control over.
Do a Little Staging – Few home buyers are going to be overly impressed if they walk out into the back yard and all they see is a lawn and a fence. On the other hand though if they are faced with a half dozen water features and huge, obviously hard to maintain flower beds, they are likely to be more than a little overwhelmed. The best outdoor staging is, therefore, a careful balance between the two extremes.
If you have a deck or patio, furniture is almost a must. It does not have to be expensive, just good-looking and clean. A simple two seater bistro table, adorned perhaps with a bud vase, can be every bit as effective at ‘setting the scene’ as a pricier, multi-person dining set up.