May 27, 2013
Landscaping for quick real estate sale
Landscaping for quick real estate sale

Whether the real estate market is hot or cold, you always want to make a few extra dollars when selling your home. Most people focus on the inside of their home when it comes time to sell, but first impressions, even from the outside, are critical. Landscaping will definitely improve your curb appeal, but you don't want to invest in a house you're about to sell. Here are four easy steps for you to take right now that will improve the curb appeal of your home and improve the sale price.

Step one: Don't cut down trees
According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, "A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000."

Step two: Add plants
Money Magazine says that landscaping can bring a recovery value of 100 to 200 per cent for landscaping at selling time. If you have a long lead selling time, then professionally landscape your property. If you have a shorter lead time, follow the directions below.

Step three: Get rid of the brown

  • Rake the lawn to remove any overwintering dead leaves or dead grass stems. It will instantly make the remaining foliage look brighter and more appealing.
  • Shrubs – remove any dead branches first thing in spring.
  • Put a thin layer of new mulch around all shrubs to freshen up the look. Do not use coloured mulches. People who don't like them will reduce offers, but people who do like them can still tolerate natural bark mulches.
  • Weed constantly, because a single weed can reduce the impact you're trying to create. Weeds say "neglect."
  • Avoid hanging baskets unless you can really grow them. By July they tend to look weather beaten.
  • Pavers and pavement – clean them within an inch of their lives.
  • Perennials – deadhead, deadhead, deadhead. Keep those perennial plants trimmed up and neat.
  • Bulbs – cut them to the ground as soon as possible and plant annuals over top of them.
  • Water gardens – clean out, get the pumps working immediately and toss as many clumps of oxygenators into the pond as needed to get rid of the spring algae bloom and get the water clear.
Step four: Look for the wow factor
This isn't any single thing but a combination of small, inexpensive steps.
  • Edge all flower beds and lawns at driveway and entrances. Remove all weeds from between pavers.
  • Overseed the lawn with perennial rye grass at two pounds per 1,000 square feet if the turf is thick and lush and three to five pounds if it's thin. Perennial rye grass establishes itself better in competitive situations than most other grasses. Do not skimp – a healthy lawn is the first thing a prospective buyer sees.
  • If you have a huge overgrown and partially dead shrub, plant bright annuals underneath it to divert attention.
  • Large well-tended container gardens make a great impression, but they have to be in greenhouse condition to add value. The bigger the better.
  • There are three things to do with annual plants.
    1. Fill all available bare spaces and plant heavily. If the tag says plant 12 inches apart, then plant eight to 10 inches apart to fill the area quickly.
    2. Feed and water them all summer so they're always looking big, bushy and flowering.
    3. Pick colours that are fashionable to attract women buyers.
  • Roses – trim and prune so there are no dead branches or dying blossoms left on the plant. Plant fragrant ones exclusively.
  • Take large foliage plants, put them in decorator pots for instant indoor or outdoor landscaping. Big is better.
  • Houseplants – put fresh flowers and African violets on windowsills and strategic places. Toss these out when they begin to fade and replace them with fresh flowers.
What every real estate agent will tell you to do:
  • Paint the front door, polish the door handle, knocker, etc.
  • Clean all the windows in the house.
  • Get a new doormat.
  • Clean the garage.
  • Hang up the hoses in the garden and put away the garbage.
  • Take down the Christmas lights.