There are things that need to be done when you’re getting ready to put your house on the market. Have kiddos? Make sure those walls are painted! Have a four-legged friend? Make sure your carpets and floors look like a million bucks. There’s also the fact that these people have never seen your house before and want to imagine it as their own, so removing some of your personal photos and knick knacks can actually make your house more attractive. But don’t forget about the most important thing – first impressions! Neat gardens and a great landscape can help you sell your home faster and for more!
Here’s a few reasons why it’s so important – and often even more important – to get your landscape in order before your home sale.
Imagine this. You’re purchasing a new home and your realtor has set up a number of different houses for you to take a look at. You pull up to one which has a well-cared for lawn, nice looking trees, fresh shrubs and seasonal flowers. The planter beds seem to be free of weeds and the driveway and walk is neatly edged. You pull up to the next to find a recently cut lawn, but no new shrubbery. The gardens don’t seem to be looked after much past the evergreens that grow in it. And the tree out front is scraggly looking. Which will you choose?
See our point? The front of your home and it’s landscaping is the absolute first thing that anyone sees. Ensuring that it looks it’s best is critical. There are some very easy fixes to make your home’s landscaping ready to show. First, take some time to ensure your garden beds and boxes are well defined with either edging or a clear demarcation with the lawn. Pull any weeds and give your shrubs a bit of a haircut. Purchase some annuals to place in garden beds, particularly if it’s spring or summer. If you need to install any additional shrubs, make sure they’re unassuming. You want a buyer to imagine themselves in your home and adding a very “loud” shrub or one that requires specialized care is a turn off.
As we saw with curb appeal, first impressions are everything. A well-manicured landscape shows a potential buyer right off the bat that you take care of your home and sets the stage for a great indoor tour. There are a few key areas to look at when you’re viewing your landscape with the eye to showing how much you care for your home.
- Sidewalks, Walkways and Patios – Are they in great shape? Faded? Are there weeds or moss growing in between the pavers?
- Pools and ponds – Are they clean and clear? Do they meet appropriate safety regulations?
- Fences – Mended? Do they have an even coloring? Do the gates function appropriately.
- Lighting – It’s unlikely that folks will see your home at night, but they’ll look for the lights. Are they functioning? Do they cover appropriate areas? Consider accent lighting to highlight specific areas.
Big, beautiful trees are a huge selling point for home buyers. They offer shade and a neat way for kids to learn about nature, not to mention some nice cost savings on your energy bill. However, they are only huge selling points if they are safe. Take a look around your landscape and determine if your trees overhang your home dangerously. Will the next big thunderstorm bring an oak limb through the roof? Don’t forget to think about the roots too – the root flair of large trees can be as much as twice the width of the crown. That means if your oak measures about 20 feet across at the top, the roots could extend 40 feet or more in every direction. Is that disrupting pipes or even your home’s foundation?
Trimming up your trees is easy and an inexpensive way to make any home look beautiful. Trimming large trees is a dangerous job, so it’s always recommended to hire a professional.
A note on neighbors
Sometimes the best laid landscaping plans are foiled by a neighbor’s icky looking landscape. You’ll want to do your best to work with your neighbors to ensure their home looks great too. After all, home buyers aren’t just buying a structure on a street – they’re buying your whole neighborhood! Offer to assist your neighbors with some easy landscaping, like raking, weed pulling and trimming. There’s no need for them to go purchase new items, but sprucing up their existing landscape helps both your sales prospect and their home value.