Remember your last job interview? You probably put in quite a bit of preparation and research, brushed up on your skills, and — especially — dressed to impress. We all know the importance of a good first impression, after all. Well, those first impressions count if you’re thinking of selling your home, too, and that’s why curb appeal matters. As HTA Companies knows from many years of experience, your landscaping and lawn care play an outsized part in that curb appeal.
What Is Curb Appeal, Anyway?
Curb appeal is the term used by realtors and home buyers to describe the first impression left by a home. While the conventional wisdom says it’s all about location, location, location, you can think of your landscaping, then your home, as locations within the location. Most homebuyers will see your lawn, flower beds, and shrubs before they’ll ever lay eyes on your charming kitchen or the lovingly-restored built-ins, so those things are important.
Curb Appeal and Home Value
Let’s try to put a dollar value on your landscaping return on investment. But, since we’re landscapers and not bean-counters, let’s look to an outside expert just to keep things honest. Jill Chodorov Kaminsky of the Washington Post found that the average ROI was close to 150 percent — which is surprising given that many home improvements lose more money than they return.
Lawn Care and Curb Appeal
So where does that dollar value come from? Rightly or wrongly, the care you’ve put into your landscaping is perceived as a hint to homebuyers about how diligent you’ve been about other parts of your home. If they see lush greenery and healthy plants, they’re getting subconscious signals that you’re likely to have paid attention to other aspects of maintenance indoors and out. If, on the other hand, they see something that looks like a jungle or a post-apocalyptic movie, they’re going to second-guess every creaky hinge and floorboard.
First Steps in Lawn Care and Landscaping
That, in turn, raises another question: how much should you invest, and how? The Post article cited above suggests ten percent of your home value. The median home value of a home in Troy, MI is in the low 300s, which would mean landscaping starting at around $30,000 — which isn’t going to be practical for many people.
Our advice is to figure out a budget that’s sensible to you, and prioritize carefully. Start with areas that need attention, filling in bare spots, eradicating weeds, and restoring your lawn to health. Once that’s done, pay attention to plants that add character and color without needing a lot of maintenance; you don’t want a prospective buyer looking at your lawn and thinking of the amount of lawn care they’ll need rather than the beauty they’ll enjoy. Those fixes are quick, easy, and — perhaps most importantly — inexpensive.
Will there be a bright line between money spent and the money you recoup in your home value? It’s helpful, but it’s also hard to assign a dollar value to the net effect. However, landscaping can do something else that, for many home sellers, is priceless: it can get your house off the market faster. If you’re not sure how or where to get started, reach out to the lawn care specialists at HTA Companies.