Selling Your Home? First, Work on Selling Your Yard

One of your first priorities when putting your property on the market should be an objective overview of the visual appeal of your landscaping. Ideally, you want potential buyers approaching your home to see a pleasant, neat, and well-kept yard. First impressions matter—the initial curbside glance should convey to buyers, that you as the current owner have cared enough to put time and effort into keeping the yard clean, attractive, and designed in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing.

The appeal of your yard can totally tip the scales in the attention it attracts from buyers. While there isn’t any definitive research on the value that attractive landscaping can add to your home, many real estate professionals estimate it can boost values by 5 to 20 percent. Others say the ROI (return on investment) on landscaping projects can be as high as 100 percent. A landscaping investment could potentially pay a 215 percent return in home value.

When selling your home, landscaping determines whether your home feels inviting from the outside. This is one of the few areas where keeping up with the Joneses is important. 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.

Consider the following with your landscaping:

  • Groom your grass: You want an even, lush visual of green leading to the door. Fertilize and water appropriately for your region, then keep it mowed, edged, and raked so it appears very well tended. If it’s afflicted by dead or brown patches, consider hiring a lawn specialist for a quick fix.
  • Weed away: Make sure flowerbeds, property borders, sidewalks, and driveways are neatly weeded, whether that requires spraying or just plain elbow grease. Just be wary of leaving blank spots when doing this. You want everything to be uniform and eye pleasing. One rough patch will draw eyes and keep them there.
  • Flash those flowers: It may be the wrong season, or you may not have the time to quickly plant and grow new flowerbeds, but what you can do is add colorful pots of plants and flowers near your front entryway to create an inviting display that welcomes buyers. Ask your local gardening specialists to recommend low-maintenance varieties which offer the most appeal with the least amount of effort.
  • Let there be light: Most stores have a good selection of solar lights now. Consider adding solar lights in and around your landscaping, and maybe even install new light posts or sconces for them. Strategically added lights that make a yard and home seem safe and inviting.
  • Give yourself an edge: Adding curbing or edging around your yard may be worth the investment as well; it can visually improve the boundaries and make your lawn much easier to mow and trim.
  • Control those critters: If your yard is significantly infested by ants, spiders, mice, gophers, or other undesirables—consider hiring an exterminator who can get the problem under control quickly and efficiently. It may seem like an unnecessary expense but it can be far worth it in the long run. This is one area where shirking a professional is rarely not a mistake.
  • Invite relaxation: With outdoor living becoming such a lifestyle trend, the creation of an inviting outdoor seating area may go a long way toward making potential buyers feel at home. The project may be as small-scale as displaying a few comfortable furniture items on an existing patio or porch or as large-scale as installing a pergola, deck, screened porch, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, and/or water feature. Before investing, research which features sell best in your area. Only install a fire pit, outdoor kitchen, or water feature if you want them—you likely won’t recoup your money. Don’t add something extravagant that wasn’t already there.
  • Do fence me in: Homeowners tend to appreciate fences for aesthetic and privacy reasons as well as the added safety they provide children and pets. Make sure your fencing is in good repair and has a fresh coat of paint or is at least rust-free.

You want to keep things simple by designing the yard with plants and grass that work well in your environment and that don’t need a lot of water, fertilizer, and pruning. Remove outdoor clutter, which could include unrelated, different-sized plants. You don’t want landscaping with 200 different plant types that people don’t recognize and may be too intimidated to take care of. In some cases, the best use of your time and money will be hiring a professional landscaper who understands current design trends and can see your space with an objective eye.

Sometimes potential buyers can tell the difference between a yard designed by a professional versus one designed by an amateur. Choosing the higher-cost option could provide the added boost that makes your property stand out from the crowd. A professional may be able to provide one feature, perhaps a fountain, paved stone walkway or retaining wall, will draw buyers in.

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