Curb Appeal sells. Our first visual impression about a home is formed within 30 seconds and it’s the exterior photo or a drive by that makes the judgement. That is why homeowners should have a Master Plan to enhance the desirability of the exterior of the home. Home Buyer’s consistently rank outdoor spaces and privacy as one of the top features they are looking for. So, creatively expanding the outdoors for living and entertaining as well as sprucing up the exterior of the home with landscaping is an opportunity to maximize profit. Not thoughtfully maintaining and constructing a landscaping plan will deter potential buyers and effect your home’s value and days on market. The top 10 most common landscaping mistakes homeowners continually make are:
1. Not Landscaping with Native and Ingenious Plants and Trees. Homeowners not utilizing native and indigenous plants and trees that adapt well to local environmental conditions which require lower maintenance and less water thus saving time and money. Additionally, they also provide a vital habitat for birds, bees and other benefits to species in the wild. Consult with your local landscaping architect as to the type of plants and trees in a variety of colors that will flourish in the area during different seasons providing visual interest to the home. Adding new mulch to plant beds can make a landscape pop with color and create an appealing, polished look. Mulch also helps plants stay healthy and keep them growing strong. Garden Centers can provide guidance to homeowners on design and varieties of plants that would work well that specific area. Providing a variety and pop of color to the home makes it more inviting to prospective homeowners.
2. Weeds and overgrowth will quickly take-over the home. Homeowners’ often do not tame the weeds and vines that sprout up on the lawn, underneath pavers, cracks and crevices in cement walls. Invasive roots can cause considerable damage to surfaces. Overgrowth can affect light that penetrates into the house. That will lower home prices that would have been achieved otherwise.
3. Extraneous Objects are often overlooked and make a difference on the visual appeal and safety of a home. Remove sticks, branches, dead foliage, stones, toys, dog objects and trash that passerby’s might have dumped.
4. Burrowing Critters wrecking havoc on a lawns that are not monitored and dealt with. The tunnels or mounds on lawns could be from moles, gophers, voles or groundhogs and are often are eating the plants and trees on the property too. Consult with an Animal control specialist in devising a plan to trap them and to monitor the lawn to ensure they are kept at bay.
5. Outdoor projects may require a review and approval by various Boards, Committees and Town officials. Often homeowners believe they own a home and can do anything on their property, which is not the case and not doing so can affect not only the price, timing and may even stymie the home sale. The number and type of permits required for a project depends on its level and complexity. Examples of home improvements projects requiring permits are sprinklers, alarms, dumpsters, septic systems, utility hook-ups, grading a property, patios, decks, wooden/metal shed, public trees, fences, pools (below and above ground). During the home inspection or appraisal process, homeowners may have to show that the proper permits are on file. If the lending bank uncovers that remodeling work was done without securing permits, it will likely not make the loan.
6. Watering a lawn timely and regularly and maintaining the soil conditions is a task many homeowners struggle with. There are many lawns that are over or underwatered or watered at the wrong time, grass is cut too short or cut with a dull blade, the lawn is not aerated by poking holes in the lawn to allow water and fertilizer to penetrate through the soil surface, soil not tested and treated for that specific area. This creates irregular dead spots, weeds, brown-grass, bugs and other animal life to invade the property. Homeowners forget or have a do it themselves mentality neglecting to consult with a professional to devise a proper automated irrigation system to maintain the lawns peak efficiency, minimizing wastewater and run-off. Having a proper sprinkler, irrigation and lighting plan for your lawn is attractive to prospective buyers.
7. Lighting refreshes a home and provides a feeling of security. Home buyers sometimes forget to ensure all of the outdoor lights have working light bulbs. And, a simple and cheap DIY project that brightens the walk-way, driveway and/or yard is outdoor solar lights. These type of lights are eye-catching and enhance the beauty and pride of the home.
8. Hanging Planters should have living, colorful plants in them not just soil and rotten reminisce of a plant that once lived there. Hanging planters are an old tends that is new again. These planters are visually appealing and come in a variety of materials and designs to match the homes design aesthetic.
9. Too Many Exterior Repairs are visually distracting from a home’s potential and ultimately the lack of maintenance decreases the value of a home. Windows that are peeling, clogged gutters stuffed with debris, leaders are not draining properly, exterior of the home requires a painting, drive-way in disrepair, decks and patios lessens the property and neighborhood value.
10. Privacy is a key feature homeowners overlook that create enormous value. Installing plants/trees/shrubs or a fence to hide an unattractive view or accentuate the properties perimeter’s to showcase the actual space of the property while creating a sanctuary retreat provides an enormous desirability in value to a property.
Avoid these landscaping mistakes by taking the time and a little bit effort and consulting the experts to design a well executed luxurious outdoor space. Create outdoor areas that welcome a visit around the firepit to tell stories of the day, or a yoga or meditation around the water feature or a meal together around the BBQ or simply laying on the grass watching the clouds roll by. Karen Kostiw, a Realtor at Warburg Realty in New York City