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CURB APPEAL II
I know I recently talked about curb appeal, but this is such an important consideration for someone thinking about putting their place on the market, that it needs to be discussed again. Even if it’s not time to sell, wouldn’t it be nice to fix things up and make them look beautiful again?
I read an article recently about curb appeal written by Nicole Wisniewski. She did a wonderful job putting together thoughts and facts from a variety of people and places. I hope she doesn’t mind, but I’m going to repeat what she has put together and share it with all of you.
Curb appeal – it’s that allure to a property from the outside. It means wowing visitors and potential buyers with a clean, polished, uncluttered appearance the minute they drive up to the curb. Many factors contribute to charming curb appeal, including lack of clutter and fresh paint. But on of the most effective ways to enhance a home is through landscaping. When it comes to increasing the market value of a property and attracting potential buyers, the landscape is the icing of the cake – every bit as important as location. It’s the welcome mat that makes people want to see the inside of the house.
In fact, according to Handy American, landscaping efforts often represent the second best return on investment (behind kitchens and baths) with an average recoup of 100 percent or better. This means not only can the landscape increase the real estate value of a property, but emphasizing curb appeal can help the property sell faster. To a buyer, a professionally landscaped yard could be the deciding factor between your house or someone else’s. This is why real estate agents put “professionally landscaped yard” in their ads. Proper landscaping can increase the value of your home by 15%. It is quite common to get back 150% of landscaping investment when you sell your home.
When it comes to the ROI of landscape improvements, the numbers speak for themselves. In a study written in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, which looked at home sales prices in Greenville, S.C., comparing the results based on varying levels of landscape quality. Landscapes were rated poor, average, good or excellent. Homes with good or excellent ratings had a 14 to l7 percent higher sale value than those with poor or average landscapes. Even improving a landscape from average to good increased home values by 10 to 12 percent. The study indicates that the monetary return on investment for quality landscaping certainly justifies the cost; better landscapes bring higher sale value. In addition to sale value, proper landscape installation will ensure less expense over time and greater satisfaction.
A 2011 HomeGain ROI survey found similar results. The report showed a landscape investment generated an average ROI of 258 percent. Also, more than 9 out of 10 real estate agents surveyed recommended sellers invest in good landscaping to prepare their homes for sale. These newer studies concur with older studies, showing the economy hasn’t had any negative effect on landscape value to a property. For instance, a 2005 survey published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, found an investment in landscaping increased property values 5.5 percent in Louisiana and up to 11.4 percent in South Carolina. This research looked at landscape size as well, finding that small landscapes weren’t as effective as larger ones. Bigger plants and increasing sophistication of landscape design had a material positive effect on home prices.
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recommends property owners invest 10 percent of a home’s value in their landscaping, which can include everything from trees, shrubs and perennials to landscape lighting, garden paths, fireplaces, water features, decks and outdoor rooms. The outdoor room is the hottest trend in landscaping today, explains Joan Honeyman of Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture in Washington D.C. “We’re seeing a lot of family rooms with an adjacent outside terrace that marries the inside with the outside. We bring views into the house using fountains, a grove of trees or arbors”. It’s all about linking the indoors to the outdoors. “People are making a better connection to the environment and their outdoor spaces,” points out ASLA Vice President Rob Tilson.
In addition to a landscape installation or renovation, proper maintenance is crucial when it comes to protecting a landscape investment and keeping it green and thriving. “In my years of landscaping experience, I’ve been required to replant and or repair numerous landscapes that were originally installed without proper planning and technique. This ends up being more expensive than doing the job right the first time.”