Make an Impression
When it comes to selling a home, first impressions are important. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a majority of real estate agents believe that curb appeal is a significant factor for buyers. A home’s exterior can make a big first impression, whether it’s features that can detract from a home’s perceived value, or other features that can instantly increase it. Read on to learn about some of the top landscaping features that buyers tend to love.
Mature, Healthy Trees
Adding trees to a neighborhood helps improve air quality, sustain wildlife, and reduce pollution. While waiting many years for a tree to reach maturity is one option, another option is purchasing a larger tree. Some can be pricey at a few thousand dollars, but buying trees is actually a sound investment. A single mature tree can increase the value of a home by an average of about $7,000. It’s also been reported that healthy, mature trees increase property values by 10 percent, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Living closely with neighbors can make privacy a concern, and it’s a top priority for 60 percent of high-end home buyers, according to a study by YouGov. One way to increase a sense of privacy in your home is to plant hedges of evergreen trees that are dense enough to provide a visual barrier. Evergreen shrubs, hollies, and junipers also can help provide some sound absorption if there is a concern about noise from a busy nearby street.
A Well-Maintained Lawn
While it may seem basic, one of the most important outdoor features for home buyers is a well-maintained lawn. There is a high return on investment for maintaining a lawn, or hiring a professional landscaper to maintain it. With an estimate of about $375 to pay for a professional to apply fertilizer and weed control to 2,835 square feet of lawn, the NAR estimates a 267 percent return on investment, as a healthy green lawn may be able to add about $1,000 to a home’s value.
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A pop of color can make a major visual impact, and flowers are an easy way to add curb appeal color. Consider planting some colorful annuals to perk up garden beds or window boxes and provide aesthetic interest. Many cheerful flowers don’t necessarily require a green thumb. Look for impatiens, daffodils, zinnias, marigolds, pansies, or begonias. Stick to a color palette of three colors or less, and try to choose hues that complement your home’s fixed features.
While an expansive green lawn is nice to look at, it may also prompt buyers to think about time-consuming or costly upkeep. Another way to landscape a yard is with xeriscaping, which involves designing low-maintenance landscapes that don’t require regular mowing or watering. Consider replacing all or part of a lawn with soil, rocks, mulch, or drought-tolerant plant species like aloe, fountain grass, geraniums, or lavender. Xeriscaping is not only appealing to buyers but it is also environmentally friendly and helps reduce utility bills.
While many home buyers appreciate a lush garden’s aesthetic appeal, they may not be ready to put in the labor to maintain it. One of the best ways to ensure a low maintenance landscape is by planting flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees that are native to your region because they will require less watering and care. If you’re not on top of which flora is native to your area, check out the National Wildlife Federation’s Native Plant Finder Tool, which will point you in the right direction for native plants.
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Sometimes the most valuable additions also are the most affordable. Simply covering garden beds with fresh mulch can have a significant return on investment, with a 2019 report from HomeLight estimating a 126 percent return on investment. Not only does mulch result in a consistent and tidy appearance, but it also inhibits weed growth, regulates soil temperature, and improves irrigation.
Watering the lawn and garden beds can be a time-consuming task that can be off-putting for potential buyers. Automatic irrigation systems, on the other hand, save time and tend to use water efficiently, making them an excellent choice in areas with water use restrictions. Many modern irrigation systems also have weather sensors that conserve water by detecting rain levels, which prompts them to skip scheduled watering during wet weather.
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