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Deciding to sell your home can be an exciting yet stressful time in your life, but by taking a few key steps to make your property shine in its best light, you can increase your returns — often significantly.
We’re often advised to focus on making upgrades to the interior of the house to increase selling power. Tips such as making upgrades to neutralize and modernize a space with calm unobtrusive color schemes, freshly painted walls, and perfectly placed furniture to show off your home’s full potential are often suggested. By doing so, you’ll be able to present your home to strangers as a promising blank slate where they can fill in the dots.
But with this advice, we often forget about the exterior of our homes. The peeling paint, dated deck, or neglected garden — all of which can put a buy off even before they go inside.
This is where the importance of first impressions comes into play, and keeping up with the Joneses becomes a reality.
By sprucing up the exterior of your house and plotting a well-thought-out garden space, you’ll be doing yourself a favor when the time to sell comes around. Not only will your home present a welcoming first impression to buyers, but if done right, it will noticeably increase the selling price by 10% or more, with sources such as the Ottawa Citizen stating that it can up the value by as much as 28%.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few tips to get you thinking about how you can optimize your garden for a fast and profitable sale — so that you can get on with your life!
A mature, well-placed tree (or a few for that matter) will add allure to your property, and, according to moneysense.ca, a single tree can increase your home value by 5% or more.
But there are a few things to consider.
Firstly, you want to ensure that your yard isn’t smothered in trees. Sure, some people love the forested look, including myself, but you need to think about the general population in this instance, and so, it’s best to stick with one or two nicely maintained trees that don’t look like an obstruction, but rather, a benefit.
Next, you want to ensure that these trees are grown in a part of your yard that won’t cause interference to the house’s foundation or roof, or pose a problem to your neighbor’s property.
Lastly, although older trees are the shining star here, some owners simply haven’t had their homes long enough to grow a large tree (unless it came with the property already). But, don’t let this deter you, since planting a new tree of a desirable species will still add appeal, making that couple hundred dollars for a sapling well worth it.
Hiring a good landscaper or a specialized landscape stager can help transform your outdoor space into the best it can be. But, this does come at a cost, which not everyone is comfortable with splurging on. Just keep in mind that to make money, often you have to invest money for a good return.
If you do decide to opt for a professional landscaping service, make sure that your vision aligns with their abilities and that their portfolio really speaks to you.
Make sure that their track record is good and that the money you’re putting into their services will be worth it. After all, you don’t want to get tangled into a contract with a less than desirable outcome.
Luckily, there are many fantastic landscaping and landscape staging companies out there to choose from — but like any common-sense advice for services, just be sure to do your research first.
Using a professional landscaping service isn’t necessary though, and if you have the time, energy, and passion for transforming your greenspace yourself, then all the power to you! No doubt, you can still make it look fabulous.
Functionality and Maintenance
When preparing your garden for entering the real estate market, it’s best to focus on how the space functions. That is, how practical is it, and how well can it be maintained with little effort?
Although you may love gardening, the next owner may not have a clue and will feel overwhelmed by a greenspace that demands too much attention. This is why it’s important to put aside personal taste and go with a garden that’s easy to care for, yet still attractive. After all, you don’t want to intimidate any potential buyers with a high maintenance outdoor space, since it might have the opposite effect of what you’re attempting to achieve.
When rethinking your garden, make sure that you plan out the space to make it both functional and simple to maintain. Choose plants that aren’t finicky, and look to optimize the space you have as much as possible by breaking it into sections — a low maintenance flower bed, a clean and clear patch of healthy grass, tidy hedges, and a useable social space — You get the idea.
And, as general advice, ensure that your outdoor space is tidy and clean. Get rid of dead or unhealthy plants, pluck those weeds, mow the lawn, prune shrubs, and make sure grouting and garden borders are pristine.
Privacy is a big selling point for many potential buyers, and being able to escape to a backyard (or even balcony) that’s shaded from neighbors prying eyes is very desirable.
To make your outdoor space a little more secluded, try planting some hedges or bushes. Not only will they add appeal because of their greenery, but they’ll also do nicely to create a border that closes off the space from others.
Of course, if you haven’t gotten a headstart on this years in advance of selling your home, you may want to consider installing an attractive fence as a quick solution. Again, it may cost a pretty penny, but it’s well worth it once your home hits the market. A fence will also be a great selling point for young families.
Just ensure that you consult your neighbors before taking action since they should be aware of your fence building plans and may want to give their input as well. You’ll also want to check where your property line ends so that you don’t end up in an unnecessary dispute.
Equally important is the inclusion of a social gathering area. Whether that be a deck or a leveled plot of ground with some well-done stonework, this will add value to your yard and goes back to the idea of functionality.
If you have a deck that’s in reasonably good condition, consider refinishing it for a fresh look, or if it’s in bad disrepair, it might be time to think about redoing that space entirely.
Alternatively, plotting out a section of the yard with flagstones or brickwork will draw equal appeal. Just ensure that the craftsmanship is done well and that you don’t cut corners in an attempt to rush it since it will wreak havoc later on when the stones begin to settle.
Once this social space is spruced up, it’s time to decorate. Add a few pieces of comfortable and stylish patio furniture, incorporate some decent lighting, and jazz it all up with striking potted plants consisting of lush seasonal foliage and happy colors (this is where you can get creative with your plant selection and not have to worry).
Look to expand on your backyard space by keeping the garden area to the perimeter of the backyard. That way, it’s not overtaking the whole space and allows people to choose how they’ll use the rest of the area.
Garden beds that are tidy and purposefully designed to optimize space while still packing a punch will be sure to please. Look to incorporate easy-to-grow plants and flowers that have good ground coverage while offering a nice mix of variety, shapes, and sizes. It’s also a good idea to lay a fresh layer of mulch or topsoil, which will help display the plants as healthier and more pleasing to the eyes.
And, if you have a lawn area, make sure it’s healthy and well-watered.
Front Yard Considerations
Lawn and Driveway:
Here’s where you want to pull out all the stops.
Firstly, if you have a lawn, make sure it’s pristine and lush. Cut it religiously, water it often, and fill any holes. If you need to add grass seed, make sure you do so well in advance of putting your home on the market. Alternatively, you may want to lay down fresh turf, depending on the state of this area.
If there’s a driveway, repave it if you must, or at the very least, make sure it’s clean and tidy in appearance.
And, lastly, ensure flower beds are well kept and filled with no-fuss flowers and plants that look appealing and bring a pop of color to your front yard since you want to draw buyers in at first sight.
Now’s the time to consider giving a fresh coat of paint to your front door as well as any faded window trim and front porch if applicable. Select colors that are welcoming and joyful, but not too personal in style — avoid magenta or bright purple as an example, and go for something classic such as soft yellow, rich red, or a nice shade of blue.
Fix any entrance lights, and if space permits, add in a comfy chair or two to the front porch, as well as a new welcome mat — the little things make all the difference.
And, like the backyard, you can add some decorative potted plants near the front door to add some charm and pack a punch. Use the idea of color psychology, and go for cherry tones that will attract people and make them feel at home. It also helps to opt for fragrant blooms to touch on the senses.
Preparing your outdoor space to upsell your home may seem like a lot of work, but the effort put into such an endeavor will absolutely pay off, with many experts saying that your home value will increase by 10%, and often much more.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have the means to redo your garden space on a large-scale, or simply don’t have the time, this shouldn’t stop you from doing your utmost to create a clean and welcoming environment. Plant a few flowers, fix the outdoor lights, and generally maintain your outdoor space as best you can, since even these small actions will make a world of difference.