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Colonial house and manicured lawn with words Landscaping to sell your home for top dollarLandscaping to sell your home, or improving the yards’ appearance, makes sense. Curb appeal may make people want to see more, or see the property in person. Good landscaping can effectively expand the usability of the home, too, adding to its apepal.

Today we’ll provide a few simple tips to help maximize a seller’s return on investment or ROI that involve landscaping to sell your home. This is far from comprehensive, but covers often missed, general rules of thumb for sellers to present their home in it’s best l ight.

But let me warn you: I’m going to be painfully, brutally blunt. And that’s how we keep the list short!

Rules for Sellers: Landscaping to Sell

The first rule for “staging your home to sell” is the topic of today’s post and it involves landscaping and curb appeal. The front of the house needs to look great. Seriously. If the front doesn’t look wonderful (or at least respectably appealing), the buyer may never go inside to see how wonderful your home really is. In any market, first impressions are key!

Here’s Mary Pope-Handy’s “Simple Rules for Landscaping to Sell Your Home”:

  • Los Gatos Home Obscured by a Wall of Juniper in the Front Yard! Landscaping to Sell? Get rid of it!Get rid of the juniper and ivy. I’m not kidding. These two plants are hated by most buyers and tend to give them the sense of “if they’ve lived with that, what else have they lived with?” Not to mention they can harbor rats! There are front yards which consist of nothing but ivy and juniper. Tear it out.
  • Make sure the door(s) and windows are fully viewable and not at all obstructed from the street, and trim trees away from the house. This is dual purpose. First, it allows the buyer to see the home as uncrowded and maintained from the outside, and it lets sunlight get inside which will make the interior more appealing. In the long-run, overgrown plants near the house can cause damage through fallen debris, pests, and moisture. If your bushes are growing over any part of the window, trim it back. Mature landscaping is good. Overgrown is bad.
  • Make sure the front lawn looks healthy. Fresh sod is nice, but a nearly weed-free, inviting patch of green will do. (In ground sprinklers are expected. Timers and automatic drip irrigation are a plus to buyers.)
  • Plant colorful annuals  or flowering bushes near the walk way and near the front door. This usually gives a very strong “bang for the buck”. Color is emotionally appealing! No color gives the impression that you’re on a military base housing neighborhood.

Other outside tips beyond just landscaping to sell:

  • If you have a porch, make it appealing. At a minimum, swept and with a nice doormat. Maybe a nice pot with colorful flowers. Much better, add inviting and proportionate furniture – but don’t overcrowd it. Think uncluttered. If it’s a tiny porch, use tiny bistro-like furniture.
  • Keep garden hoses rolled up and tidy, keep walkways clear of debris, keep everything functioning and the living things healthy (unless you’ve got moss – get rid of that living thing!).
  • Clean! Both house and yard. That includes your windows, door, porch, exterior. A power washer is a good friend – it’ll help you clear cobwebs, remove moss, and brighten up the patio. Make sure exterior doors open easily and the hardware is clean.
  • How’s your mailbox? If it’s tired, replace it. If it’s “got personality”, replace it. Ditto that for the front mat. Buyers need to be able to see themselves living there, so clean, cared for, and neutral are the way to go.
  • When selling, make sure to keep your garage door closed (and that it operates properly). If the driveway, walkway or sidewalk is badly cracked or damaged, consider repairing or replacing it. This is particularly true if there is any tripping hazard. (Imagine a buyer getting hurt while viewing your property – you want to eliminate this possibility.)
  • Seasonal tips: If you’re selling in the rainy season, make sure the walkways don’t flood with puddles or mud, and keep indoor and outdoor doormats at each entrance. If you’re selling in the summer, keep the lawn alive and healty with a regular watering schedule, and make sure to pick up any fallen fruit.

That’s it for the exterior. Not too painful, was it? (Well, not if you didn’t start with a heavy load of juniper and ivy.) If you can make your front yard approachable and welcoming (no walls of ivy, no overgrowth), it will do wonders at beckoning people to see the inside of your home too.


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