Getting Ready to Sell? Check These Landscaping Tips!

Spring is just around the corner.  Historically, it’s the time of the hottest activity in real estate sales.   That means that right now, there are literally millions of homeowners getting their homes ready to sell.   Because of cold weather, most of the activity in January and February is on the inside.  Remodeling, updating, and painting are tops on the list of home sale preparation.  But as soon as it warms a bit, it’ll be time to head outside to work on the landscaping.

Landscaping is the most often overlooked part of getting your home ready to sell.  While a simple clean up and trimming helps, if you stop there you’re probably costing yourself thousands of dollars in potential sales price.  How much?  Up to 12.7%.   If your home is worth $300,000, that could be over $35,000!

In the real estate world it’s called curb appeal.  It’s that all important first impression, that sets the tone for what’s on the inside, of both your house and the buyers head.  So check out these landscaping tips to make your property dazzle those would-be home buyers.

What is Landscaping?

Landscaping is much more than just a lawn and a tree in the yard.  Think of all the planning and decorating that goes into the interior of a house to take it from plain to pretty to impressive.  There’s just as much potential outside, too.   Here’s a good definition of landscaping:

Landscaping is a field dedicated to the design process, execution and maintenance of the land surrounding a property. This includes, but is not limited to, elements of architecture, gardening and exterior design. 

Yes, landscape architecture is a real occupation.  And those who are trained in it bring together elements of creativity and artistic blend to create a visually inviting image, like those you see on the cover of Better Homes and Garden.

Landscaping Basics

If you had just purchased a new home with no landscaping, or one that needed a complete makeover, you’d want to have a more in-depth knowledge of landscaping.  That’s very different from getting your house ready to sell.  So the first question to ask yourself is – is there too much or too little landscaping?

Many older homes tend to have mature landscaping that’s overgrown and out of balance.  Try to remember how it looked when the shrubs were new.  Or, check out some new neighborhoods for ideas on size and balance.  Then trim out the old, the too large, or the too many.

Newer homes, on the other hand, are often under-landscaped.  Builders usually do just enough to get by, leaving the yard looking like an unfinished painting.  If that sounds more like your place, add shrubs, flowers, and accent rock or boulders to bring it up to “wow” factor.

Color and Texture Matter

If everything in the yard is green, or worse the same shade of green, it’s just as bland as a plate of food that’s all the same color.  So whether you’re adding new pieces or filling in from a serious thinning, vary the colors.  In smaller areas, flowers give a cheery, fresh look.  They’re inexpensive, too, so even if your landscape budget is small, flowers are a must.

Similarly, texture is just as important to great curb appeal as color and balance.   Plants with larger or smaller foliage, or various sizes of landscaping rock or boulders, add texture.  It’s all about creating something that’s visually interesting and inviting.

What About Cost?

Landscaping doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be beautiful.  But keep in mind the return you’re likely to realize – so don’t be too frugal, either.  Real estate professionals say upgrading landscaping can yield a return on investment of anywhere from two to four times what it costs.  So it’s money well spent.

If  you’ve got plans to sell in the Spring, now is the time to start thinking about the landscaping.  When you’ve got both the inside and the outside up to par, that’s when you’ll be ready to put it on the market.

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