Does Redoing Your Landscape Really Increase the Value of Your Home?

Putting some time and money into your landscape can pay off big time. Landscaping can add thousands of dollars to the value of property and create that curb appeal you need to generate buyers.

According to Jill Chodorov, associate broker with Long & Foster, buyers are much more likely to take an interest in your home if it looks desirable at first glance. “As a real estate agent, I have found that most homebuyers are more excited about touring a home that looks inviting on the outside than one that is sad and dreary, unless they were focused on buying a fixer-upper,” said Chodorov in an article published in The Washington Post.

Not to mention, buyers are willing to spend more on a well landscaped home.  Alex X. Niemiera, Extension Horticulturalist in the Department of Horticulture at Virginia Tech, performed a study to determine what perceived value an attractive landscape can add to a person’s home. The study found that a well-landscaped home has a significant price advantage over a home with no landscaping (lawn only). This price advantage ranges from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent depending on the state.  That means, landscape improvements can add an extra $16,500 to $38,100 value on a home originally marked at $300,000.

If you are looking to increase the value of your home and impress potential buyers – or if you just want to landscape for your enjoyment knowing that you are making a good investment – here are some ways you can get your yard in shape:

Trees

Planting trees is a great idea for all sorts of reasons. Trees provide shade that helps your home stay cool in the hot summer months, they can act as a windbreak and they can even save you money in energy costs and heating bills. That’s right, carefully positioned trees can save up to 25 percent of the energy a typical household uses, says the U.S. Department of Energy.

Looking for a species that will bring in the most benefits? The National Tree Benefit Calculator can tell you exactly what each species is worth in categories ranging from property value to air quality. This tool is also useful if you have a mature tree on your property.

Plants

Plant size, design sophistication and diversity are all elements of an appealing landscape that you should consider. Niemiera’s study consisted of a survey where respondents viewed 16 different photographs of one newly built suburban house. Each picture presented the house with different plant sizes and types, and levels of design sophistication. The survey found that respondents ranked design sophistication as most important, plant size as next important and diversity of plant type as least important. The full results of Niemera’s study concluded that design sophistication can add 42 percent value to a home, plant size can add 36 percent and diversity of plant material type can add 22 percent value.

Pro tip: if you introduce plants or shrubs be sure to go native. These plants will thrive without the extra time and money you would be forced to devote to exotic plants that struggle to live outside of their natural habitat.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting has been deemed the most wanted outdoor feature based on the findings of the National Association of Home Builders’ “What Home Buyers Really Want” report. Outdoor lighting is considered essential/desirable by 90 percent of buyers.

Effective outdoor light extends the use of your space so that you are able to enjoy your landscape even after the sun has set. Furthermore, outdoor lighting can keep you safe at night by guiding your path to protect from slips and falls. It also makes a property a more difficult path for intruders.

Pro Tip: consider LED lighting to save money on energy, cost and heat. Read about the benefits of LED lighting here.

Pools

According to NACB’s “What Home Buyers Really Want” report, 50 percent of buyers say that an outdoor swimming pool would seriously influence the purchase of their decision. But, don’t dive in too quickly. Pools, hot tubs and other water features are seen as both negatives and positives, it depends who you ask. To one person a pool can be a piece of paradise but someone else might view it as extra work they do not have the time or money for. Pools are generally best in neighborhoods where they are common. If you are considering adding a pool to increase the value of your home it would be wise to check out some neighborhood statistics beforehand.

Patios and Decks

Patios and decks are a great way to increase living area at minimal cost. They are an ideal place to host summer BBQs or relax with family and guests. If you are considering a patio or deck, we suggest you go with a patio. Though decks (made of wood) look great, patios (made of stone) last longer and are more durable. Furthermore, patios are budget friendly because they cost approximately $10-$15 less per square foot than if using wood.

Though both decks and patios will increase the value of your home, patios offer a higher return investment. Patios typically increase the home’s value by 12 percent whereas decks usually increase value by only 10 percent.

Don’t Overdo It

There is such a thing as too much. Just like a landscape can be underdone, it can just as easily be overdone. A space that is too busy can look dated over time and is difficult to maintain.

“Very extensive landscaping, while loved and valued by fellow gardeners, can be seen as a negative by buyers who are concerned about the extra maintenance cost and extra work involved,” said Cindy Moses, associate broker of Keller Williams Flagship of Maryland, in an article published in the The Washington Post.  “That prize rose garden can be seen as a thorny problem by those lacking green thumbs.”

So whether you are looking to attract potential buyers or you want to improve your landscape for your own personal pleasure, we hope these tips help you get your lawn into shape! Need a hand? Contact us today at Carolina Landscape and let us do your dirty work.

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