The Grass is Always Greener
Landscaping can make or break a home sale.
It’s cliché, but curb appeal is crucial when it comes to selling your home. Many of my buyer clients will do an initial ‘Drive-By’ to determine whether or not they even want to go inside a house that’s on the market. Even if the rest of the houses on your block don’t look that great from the outside, but your house looks A-MAZING, buyers will want to check it out. I sat down with local landscape designer, Wendell Welder*, to get her best tips for making the outside of your house stand out in the best way possible.
Here are some of her thoughts:
‘Kathryn, you nailed it! If your house doesn’t look great on the outside, potential clients will move on. You know from staging houses that the right touches make all the difference. Imagine showing up to your first date in your old sweats and slippers. For most of us, the landscape is the last place to tackle and it should be the first.
- DECLUTTER: Clear away visual clutter from your landscape. Inside your house, you put away knickknacks and toys to create a clean, inviting space. Do the same thing outside. This includes dead trees and shrubs, old pots, hoses, broken branches, pine cones, and most of all…WEEDS. Put away your garden gnomes, gazing balls, and outdoor furniture. Create a clean palette so you can truly see what needs to be done.
- REFRESH: Repair and refresh what is tired and worn. After decluttering, take a walk through your property with new eyes. What do you think? Do you have any empty areas that cry out for a ornamental tree or shrub? Does your backyard lack privacy or shade? You can take a picture of the area and bring it to a local nursery for advice on what to plant. Are your walkways in good repair and easy to navigate at night? Does your backyard lack fencing? If at this point you are feeling overwhelmed, a landscape designer can quickly assess your needs and get hired help on the way.
- ACCESSORIZE: Create inviting memory points. This will really make your house stand apart from the rest, and help the buyers see themselves at home. The most important memory point is the FRONT ENTRY. When your buyer parks and gets out of their car, they should feel welcomed. Consider investing in: Colorful containers, updated lighting fixtures, a freshly painted front door, a new doormat. The second area to spruce up is your BACKYARD ENTERTAINING AREA. Consider investing in: new patio cushions for furniture, colorful containers, a new umbrella for the dining table, and updated lighting.
Kathryn, we all get comfortable with the way our house looks and a fresh pair of eyes can be invaluable. Here is a checklist I use to help my clients get started:
EXTERIOR CHECK LIST:
- Clean your gutters.
- Clear away the cobwebs from outdoor lighting and check the bulbs.
- Power-wash the exterior of your house.
- Clean outdoor furniture and grills.
HARDSCAPE CHECK LIST:
- Power-wash walkways and patios.
- Stain your deck if necessary.
- Paint your porch steps if necessary.
- Make sure your walkways are in good repair and easy to navigate at night.
- Check to make sure your fence is in good repair.
- Weed beds and remove debris.
- Lightly trim shrubs and make sure plantings do not obscure windows or walkways.
- Mow the lawn, mulch, and edge the beds.
- And the secret sauce? FRESH MULCH. Dark brown, double shredded hardwood mulch. Not black, and never red.
I would add to Wendell’s list fencing. Buyers love a fenced backyard… whether it’s there to keep in dogs and children, or to keep out unwanted dogs and children. Fencing can be pricey, and buyers are always relieved when they don’t have to pay for it themselves. If the budget allows, put in attractive fencing where it will be seen. You can use chain link to save money in less public areas. There is absolutely nothing more welcoming than a picket fence around a front yard. Every buyer gets warm fuzzies over a white picket fence. Just sayin’.
The outside of your home is just as important as the inside when it comes to getting it sold. Always keep in mind your target audience when making style and color choices. Your house will be in competition with other listings so make sure your grass is always greener.
*About Wendell: Wendell Welder is an independent landscape designer providing customized advice and designs on an hourly rate basis. She enjoys building client relationships and gardens that last for years.