When you decide to sell your house the first thing you do is consider some interior renovations, maybe some fresh paint or mirrors for a modern take and wow factor. One essential makeover you also need to factor in might surprise you; it’s your landscaping.
Landscaping is the “icing on the cake” for a home sale.
Your front yard and street image is the first experience a potential buyer has of the property, it’s also what they will boast about when they tell others, “I bought this house”. So, it’s not just a reflection on what they are looking to buy, it is in essence, who they are looking to become. A solid front garden will ensure potential buyers feel confident about buying your home.
A great garden says a lot about you, that you value and look after your property, that you nurture and love your home. Healthy green plants speak of prosperity and growth. A dry, bald lawn, few or dying plants say the opposite, “abandon all hope, ye who enter here”. A great garden also says, this home is easy to maintain, this is a solid investment. Potential buyers, unless they are serial fixer-uppers, will not be imagining what it will become, they are looking at what it is now.
Property experts calculate that landscaping upgrades could increase the value of your home between six and seven per cent. On a $400,000 home, that can mean an extra $24,000 to $28,000.
How much you spend on boosting your garden will depend on the current state of your property. Gardening is a much cheaper option if things are already in good shape. If you have some weeds or bald patches in your lawn, clean up and sprinkle law seeds for a lush look, select some new plants to fill gaps and add volume, trim edges and wash or pressure spray pavements and driveways.
Landscaping can be expensive so set a budget and work with a qualified professional to get the best results that won’t leave you out of pocket later. Because you are moving out you won’t be looking to spend a lot of money on decking and pergolas and lifestyle elements, which cuts the priciest items off your wish list. Your landscaping work will include a full professional plan, with new soil and plants as well as pavers, gravel and possibly retaining walls. Your landscaper will help design something functional, fashionable and cost effective.
Between these options, there is landscape gardening. Landscape gardening involves improving your existing garden with more than just basic improvements.
If left untouched, all the hard work and money you spend on improving, cleaning and renovating the interior of your home can be wasted on a less than ideal first impression.
To help you invest wisely in your garden improvements here are five landscaping tips to help maximise the worth of your home before sale.
1. Erase bald sections
Cover any bald spots in your lawn. You want a sea of green that says, “I look after my home”. If your lawn is in really bad shape invest in some turf to cover any rough ground. It’s instant and has a luxurious feel. Cheaper options include wood chips, gravel and pebbles.
If you have a good lawn with a few questionable spots, you can grow new lawn, add new plants or mulch.
2. Split your garden with zones
Straight lines and defined boxes create order, look clean and reassuring and are instantly attractive. To create zones surround items like trees, water features, pathways and lawn with planks, sleepers, retaining walls, stones and use filler material to emphasise colour and texture. Garden edging is the cheapest way to divide your lawn from your plants or draw the eye to the tree in your front yard.
Sloping blocks can really benefit from a retaining wall. They give a tiered appearance that is sleek and flattering. Retaining walls over a certain height will need to be overseen by a qualified professional. Landscapers usually have full qualifications for this and will include all costs in their initial plan.
You can choose a theme colour that matches the exterior paint of the house or provides a highlight, such as white stones. The result is a tidy garden that enhances the appearance of the home.
3. Prune, mulch and eradicate weeds
Of course, the cheapest and fastest option here is to groom your garden yourself. It needs to be perfect, so if you have invested in landscaping, do everything you can to ensure it stays pristine. Trim edges, mow lawn and pull up any uninvited garden guests. Weeds and dead tree branches really are costly to the overall effect. If you can’t manage to get those loose ends polished off yourself, consider hiring a garden maintenance service. They can remove weeds, prune your plants and top the soil with mulch, which helps keep weeds at bay and assists with moisture retention in your garden. It’s also a great cover up option if you have lawn difficulties.
Your goal is to make your front garden immaculate.
You’ll be surprised at just how effective a solid clean up can be. Dedicate a weekend to getting it looking great and a short block of time every day to giving it a once over when the house goes on the market.
When you talk to a landscaper or garden landscaper they will talk in terms of “hardscaping” and “softscaping”. We mentioned earlier that softscaping (soil and plants) is the cheapest way to add value to your home and that most of the hardscaping work (pavers, a driveway, a retaining wall and other built structures) is best left to those who want to enjoy living in their home. However, if you already have hardscaping in place, you can’t ignore it.
It’s important that the renovation work you do is reflected in the whole space. Be sure that you get your decks oiled, replace any bad decking, fix any broken fence panels, and paint anything that is looking tired or flaking, including letter boxes. You want pavements, driveways and parking areas to look as immaculate as your new lawn.
A driveway in good condition may only need a clean to be rid of dirt or oil spots. Do this with a high-pressure water hose to get maximum results with very little work or cost. If you have any cracks have your driveway resurfaced or repaired (it’s worth the cost).
Repair anything that needs repairing and replace anything that needs to be replaced.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune (in fact, it most certainly shouldn’t). As long as the fencing looks straight and well maintained, it will make a good impression.
5. Backyard must do’s
There is no way to lock your back door and hope no one notices. While your front yard will invite people in and state how you look after your property, your backyard is the piece that invites people to stay and makes a statement about your lifestyle. Your backyard should look well maintained, but there is another element to consider.
An outdoor patio.
Homebuyers want to enjoy the great Australian indoor/outdoor lifestyle. That is what they will be evaluating when they peak out your back door.
Talk to a professional landscaper about the best way to utilise your backyard space for a versatile extended entertainment area. If you don’t want to make a big investment consider installing an awning with an extensive reach.
*Don’t forget to check with your local council before erecting any patio, alfresco, or awnings to find out if you need council approval before work begins.
If you already have an outdoor space make sure it’s clean. A high-pressure spray of any pavers and walkways is a must. Consider paving a concrete patio or resealing any decking for maximum impact.
Ideally, you can look at upgrading your outdoor space well before you plan to sell so that you get to enjoy all the benefits of your beautiful home. A simple upkeep routine will ensure the money you invest goes a long way and continues to add value in the future.
Just keep in mind that any improvements you make before you sell your house will highlight any area you neglect, so commit to making over your entire property and get it perfect to get the most out of your hard work, and to ensure you get the biggest dividend when it comes time to sell your house.
With property sales going haywire in Australia through 2021 and prices soaring to record-breaking highs, it’s important to know where you stand on price and how much flexibility you have to negotiate. Knowing where you stand means you won’t overpay, which is especially important in a hot market where panic can set in.
This is our final post in this particular series. In this blog, we are focusing on the highs and lows, so you know what you're getting yourself into. This information does refer to some facts from the previous two posts, so get back and read our Renovation planning guide and the types of renovations to get up to speed on how all these ties together.
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