Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Staging Your Landscape to Sell Your Home

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While the market can fluctuate from year to year and some months are better than others for selling, there are certain things that could allow you to get a higher return on the sale of your home. One of them is your landscape or the lack there of. A home that has a desirable landscape is going to catch the eye of buyers and reflect as an asset in a market or neighborhood where there might be stiff competition.

Any Realtor worth their weight will tell you how important it is to stage your home. Staging your home inside is as important as it is on the outside. When I am designing for any homeowner , one of the very first questions I ask is “how long do you plan to live here?”  This is because I know that I will not be adding value to your home by customizing it for you, if what I really need to do is prepare it for a sale. If you know that within two or three years you will be moving for sure, it is time to start thinking about staging.

I began my business by working with Real Estate agents who needed staging for “make ready’s” (putting your home on the market) and “flips” (buying a home then quickly selling it for a profit). These agents and sellers are looking for inexpensive quick fixes to get the home on the market. While you can do what needs to be done at the last-minute, you are also considering a major move, major expenses and major stress. Waiting until the last-minute may not be in your favor,particularly if you have let your yard go without regular maintenance, have an unusually elaborate garden that may turn some people off , or have no landscape at all, and all the potential buyer can see is your neighbors bedroom window, trampoline, or clothesline from your patio.

Staging your landscape a couple of years in advance, or as you go, can allow you to budget for the work, have time to do it yourself, make sure it is established, and get the maximum results at the time of sale. Anyone knows mature trees are a huge selling point to a buyer.  Your little Charlie Brown trees in the back yard placed at the last-minute are not going to impress anyone, but a 2 or 3-year-old reasonably established tree shows potential.  An over grown hedge or shrub that now needs to be pruned so severely that it leaves exposed branches is not an asset to a buyer.  It is a turn off and makes the plant look sick.  Those large trees you never trimmed that now look like a huge shrub on a stick will not have the proper shape and will also lose value if trimmed at the last-minute.  So now you are getting the idea…

When you move into your new home, before you begin to landscape, consider how long you will live there.  If the answer is forever, have at it.  If you are thinking about moving in the next 3-5 years or turning it into an investment property for a renter, you need to really think about the staging. Staging from a Realtor’s perspective is what is called “Curb Appeal”. This simply means it needs to WOW a prospective buyer from the curb.  If I am in a car with a realtor looking at several homes and I drive by your unkempt yard, dirty front porch and over grown shrubs, right away I am thinking you probably don’t take such great care of the inside either…then drive on by.  If I pull up to your home and from the curb it looks neat and tidy, not overdone, but groomed with maybe a splash of color to catch my eye (Red, Yellow or hot Pink to grab them from the street)…Now you have my attention!

A staged landscape should be reasonably simple.  This is a case where less may be more, but not too much less.  I need to see a tree or two, some well groomed shrubs in appropriate locations, (this means they do not cover a picture window, block the sidewalk, climb into the driveway,etc), and your lawn, or Xeriscaped garden is reasonably free of weeds. Limit your use of stone or brick to a single color or pattern and definitely no more than two.  Mixing and matching pavers and stone or bricks is a no-no and looks a lot like work to a potential buyer.  It also gives the impression you may piece meal things inside as well.  Remove your chotchkies.  Your chicken collection might be cute to you, but I am not as excited about it.  Remove any religious statuary, clusters of pots and planters or high school banners with your kids name on them.  You want the buyer to see themselves in this house, not you.

If you have a landscape like mine that was for me and my enjoyment without consideration of a future sale, you may need to reduce some of the landscape to make it less intimidating.  Just like having too little, too much can put off a potential buyer. Remember, selling a home is not the time to let our “Ego” run the show.  You may have loved the metal tubs as a water feature, those multi-colored pots, yard art and randomly placed plants throughout the beds, but it needs to look clean, manageable, uncluttered and neutral as possible.  Consider that you are selling your home to anyone, not just a family, but an elderly couple, a single man or whoever could be a potential buyer. Make it look as neutral and low maintenance as you can by keeping the yard clean of clutter and trimmed.

Keeping these great tips in mind as you care for your landscape will keep you in touch with your intentions and mindful of your investment and future profits.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design (“like” me on facebook!)

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

This blog is sponsored by

Dream Key Real Estate

If you are in the Austin Metro area, or are planning to relocate, contact their helpful team at 512-300-4568.

http://www.dreamkeyrealestate.com/

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