It’s called curb appeal. Owners whose houses are attractive and inviting on the exterior stand far better chances of getting potential buyers through the front door to look at the home itself.
Most of us know the importance of making a good first impression, and the value of landscaping in closing a sale cannot be overstated.
Many potential buyers won’t even bother to step inside a house that’s unappealing at first glance, so dressing up a property from the outside increases the odds that it will sell, and for a price attractive to the seller.
“Selling a property for the highest possible price in most markets is always a challenge,” Director Miles Shipside of the Rightmove said in the agency’s April House Price Index . “When there is a glut of properties on the market, however, it is the properties which stand out as exceptional examples of their ilk which tend to attract higher values.
“What is certain is that a property’s location and the way it is presented, both interiorly and exteriorly, are the key factors in influencing buyers.”
Fortunately for sellers, experts offer a number of tips on how to sell a home, including how to improve house value and how to sell your house faster. All of them say work on the exterior, from landscaping to the actual house, pays dividends, and good landscaping can increase a home’s value by 10 to 15 percent.
Among their advice:
- Start with the lawn. A lush, green lawn (or attractive xeriscaping) tells home shoppers that the inside of the house probably also is well-maintained. Conversely, if the outside isn’t well kept, they may assume that the interior has been neglected as well. Stick to a strict watering and cutting schedule for the grass. If the yard is ragged, resodding is worth the investment.
- Use mulch. Mulch is comparatively cheap, easy and quick to apply to plant beds and really makes the greenery stand out. Some mulch even smells good, providing a subtle influence.
- Accent the positives with color. A few well-placed flowers or colorful plants can draw a potential buyer’s eyes toward aspects of the home that you want them to see.
- Edge, trim, rake and weed. Grass growing over sidewalks, overgrown shrubs and trees and gardens that look like weed patches are turnoffs for potential buyers, as are dead leaves either piled or strewn. Eliminating such distractions directs a home shopper’s attention to the house itself.
- Use lighting strategically. Potential buyers often will drive past a house at night to see how it looks. Low-voltage lights lining immaculate sidewalks and driveways surrounded by lush vegetation can win you points. Traditional and colored lights also can be used to highlight exceptional particulars of a property.
- Consider xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is the use of native plants in the place of traditional grass lawns to reduce the amount of watering needed. Attractive xeriscaping appeals to a buyer’s pocketbook and makes a house stand out from those around it.
- Wash away the grime. Pressure wash sidewalks, driveways, patios, decks and fences (as well as the outside of the house itself). You’ll see right off what a difference it makes.
- Check out the competition. Drive around and look at area houses on the market that are comparable to yours. Steal their landscaping ideas at will, whatever it takes to make sure that your home stands out from the rest.
“Landscaping makes a huge difference in how people perceive your home,” prominent personal finance columnist Liz Pulliam Weston said. … “Some of the most effective fix-ups are also the cheapest.”
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