With baby #3 on the way, we’ve decided our home is just too small for our growing family. We’ve loved our home and our neighborhood, but there’s no way five of us can fit into a 1200 square foot home and still be sane. Luckily, the inside of our home is in excellent condition with one-year-old carpeting, custom paint, and even upgraded counters. It’s absolutely beautiful inside! The yard, however, is another story…
Unfortunately, this is often the case. The money runs out before landscaping is ever completed or the landscaping already in place is just too hard to maintain. Not everyone has a green thumb, right?! It may not seem like that big of a deal since you don’t live in your yard. Maybe you’ll just let the next owner deal with it… But is that really the best solution? Your real estate agent informs you that even with an amazing interior, your house–if it sells–will come in at a much lower price than you had hoped. First impressions are very important, and the curb appeal of your home will be the difference between someone taking a look or driving by. So the bottom line is if you’re serious about getting top dollar, you may have to spend a few dollars first.
When sprucing up your yard to appeal to prospective buyers, what are the most important areas to concentrate on?
1. Your lawn.
Prospective buyers will overlook a lot of landscaping issues if your yard is well-maintained. If it’s summer, they are looking for a well-maintained, freshly mowed, lush, green lawn free of dandelions and other weeds. If there are large dead spots, you’ll need to plant grass seed or sod to fill them in.
If you don’t have a green thumb, this is the time to call a professional lawn care service to get your lawn in parade-of-homes condition. A lawn service will be able to deal with your trouble spots and make sure that it makes a great first impression to those potential buyers.
2. Your flower beds.
When sprucing up flower beds, a little dirt under the nails is required–whether it’s your own nails or the teenaged neighbor’s nails–someone is going to need to get dirty. Weeding comes first. Next, comes fresh mulch, wood chips, or colored rock to spread across the flower beds for a clean, fresh look that will provide contrast to your main flower bed attraction: the flowers.
When choosing flowers, pick flowers that will bloom or stay bloomed throughout your projected time frame for selling your home. Annuals are generally cheapest and stay bright and cheery through most of the growing season. If you already have annuals that have bloomed and dried up, replace them if possible.The splash of color that the flowers bring will go a long way in bringing beauty to your yard.
3. Your trees and shrubs.
Trees and shrubs are additional areas where professional lawn care services can help. If you don’t think you can safely climb a ladder and handle a chainsaw in one hand while holding a branch in the other, you shouldn’t attempt to cut down dead or stray branches or shape scraggly bushes yourself. Instead, you should spend the money to stay safe and have the job done properly.
Beautifully shaped shrubs and well-trimmed trees add an extra pizzazz and show prospective buyers that you care about your yard.
4. Special yard features.
You may have special features in your yard such as planters, waterfalls, and ponds. If these features don’t add much to your overall landscape design, you may want to consider removing them altogether. If they were hard for you to keep up, they may be hard for future owners as well. In fact, these types of features sometimes turn future owners away for fear of future upkeep.
If these features add beauty and personality to your yard, refill planters with fresh plants after cleaning out the dead material, make sure waterfalls are clean and functioning properly, and be sure that ponds are clean and stocked with fish if desired.
You may also have playground equipment in your backyard. Ask your real estate agent on advice concerning whether or not playground equipment should stay or go; it may be that future owners will welcome it, but there is also a chance they won’t. The final decision will most likely depend on its condition. If it is rundown or detracts from the home and the rest of your yard, consider taking it down and moving it to your new house where your own kids can continue to enjoy it for years to come.
Getting your lawn professionally taken care of, sprucing up your flower beds, trimming your trees and shrubs, and taking a hard look at any special features in your yard are great places to focus your attention when trying to sell your home. None of these fixes require major changes nor are they too expensive, but taking the time and money to focus on them will go a long way toward increasing your curb appeal and helping you sell your home faster and at a more competitive price.
WRITTEN BY LINDSEY PATTERSON