Landscaping: How Important Is It When Selling Your Home?

September 7, 2017

Add value and curb appeal to your home with these tips

If you’re planning to sell your home, chances are you’re busy decluttering, organizing and updating the inside to make it picture perfect. But since buyers first see the front of the house when viewing online photos and visiting, you’ll want to make a good first impression there, too. A front yard that is neatly landscaped and welcoming will attract more people who’ll want to see the inside.

“Think of landscaping as wrapping a present for a baby shower or a white elephant gift exchange party,” said Susan Lockhart, a Realtor in Long & Foster’s Tuckahoe, Virginia, office. “People gravitate to the gifts that are beautifully wrapped.”

Curb appeal is important to 98 percent of buyers when choosing their home, according to the National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact Report. A large part of giving a home an inviting look involves landscaping. The study showed that a landscape upgrade would return 100 percent of the investment, while a kitchen renovation would generally be more expensive but would recoup only 67 percent of its cost.

Here are four things to consider when landscaping.

Plan ahead: Start working on your landscaping this fall if you’re thinking about selling your home next spring. Remove all yard debris including dead branches, shrubs and weeds. Seed and fertilize your lawn to give it plenty of time to grow and look its best. Replace trees and shrubs in the fall or spring rather than in the heat of the summer to give them a better chance to thrive.

Simplify: Choose low maintenance plants for less yard work. “It’s best to avoid excessive landscaping,” said Margaret Woda, a Realtor in Long & Foster’s Crofton, Maryland, office. “Too much going on turns people off because maintaining the garden seems like too much work.” She often suggests removing overgrown trees and shrubs or shifting them to give the yard a cleaner look, showcase the home and make it appear bigger.

Maintain: Keep your yard tidy by trimming hedges, trees and shrubs, then adding fresh mulch. When walking up to the home, you’ll want buyers to notice how well-kept your yard is rather than thinking “if they don’t take care of the yard, they don’t take care of the rest of the house,” added Lockhart. “They’ll have more of a tendency to look for other things that are not well maintained in the home.”

Accessorize: Add color with flowers, a flag or a wreath on the door to make your home bright, inviting and visually interesting. Draw attention to the front door using items of universal appeal. Remove toys, trash cans, political signs, pink flamingos and religious symbols. “Curb appeal could mean the difference between a sale and another price reduction,” said Woda.