Looking to Sell? Here’s how you put the green back in your wallet!


“I am trying to sell my house, why would I consider placing money in landscaping at a time like this?”

Believe it or not, this is a very popular question we hear from homeowners, and if HGTV has tried to teach us anything it has been to focus on “curb appeal”. Northern Virginia Landscaping has worked extensively with relators and many homeowners to improve their resale value. While the costs of landscaping can add up quickly, I will take some time to go through a couple of simple ideas and when to think about them; more importantly give you a rough estimate of what to expect back.

First it is good to look over this article: https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/reports/2016/2016-outdoors-remodeling-impact-report-09-27-2016.pdf

After reading the article, here are my thoughts on what to do and when to do it:

If planning to sell within 5+ years:

Consider adding a pool, patio or new walkway. These additions can be costly if you don’t take the time to search for the right company. However, once the changes are installed it can improve the overall intimacy of an area and could be what attracts home buyers to your place. These additions can be more memorable than the new bathroom you just remodeled. I recommend these changes for a hardscape plan with 5 years or more before you sell for a couple of reasons; first, you just paid good money for these amenities, so get your own personal use from them. Also, this gives you and your land time to settle, allowing you to make minor changes and solve potential maintenance issues. Lastly, these projects are bigger and can be time consuming. Areas where the companies have altered the land need time for grass to grow back; and may even allow you to softscape the area(s) around the new additions. Who knows you may end up adding a brick fireplace to complement the area!  Additions such as these can have a return of investment (ROI) of over 100% value when placing on the market!

Here are some other alternatives to think about while you are living at your current residence:

  • Talk to a landscape professional about planting trees. These, if placed in a proper area, will help to shade your home which can reduce heating/cooling costs by up to 40%! (from the link provided above) If you need more convincing, “…Just three trees in the right location can save up to $250 a year in heating and cooling costs, says the source for energy-saving stats: the U.S. Department of Energy.” https://www.houselogic.com/by-room/yard-patio/landscaping-home-value/
  • It is recommended to have a grass company inspect your lawn and aerate/fertilize. New homeowners want a yard that is lush and green. If you are able to provide this at the very least, everything else should be an easy sale. While you may not be happy about the money you pay turf care professionals, know that you could see a ROI of around 303%!

If planning to sell within 2-3 years:

I would recommend adding new Hardscape features. Hardscapes occur when a trusted landscape company comes in and makes major adjustments to topography by adding beds or redesigning what is already there. Generally these will include walkways, retaining walls or other needed fixtures lacking from the yard.

You may only see one season of this new transformation, but use this time to gather inspiration for your new home. This is a great time for homeowners to familiarize themselves with their long lost green thumb. Like Bob Ross mentions, there are “no mistakes here” when doing a landscape during this time, as you are just making the land more ideal to live within. You are focusing on what you like and don’t like and taking lessons learned with you to your new dream home. While you invested quite a bit of capital into this, you generally will see around a 100% or more Return on Investment (ROI) on this dramatic change.

If planning to short sell or sell within the year:

Generally the work provided can be variable in this category. If no major changes need to be made, nearly all realtors will recommend an “area beautification” to take place. What this entails is hiring a landscape company to come in and soft prune trees and shrubs, weed, pick up sticks/leaf litter and laying down a fresh layer of mulch. This is very easy work and what most companies would consider a “spring cleanup”. This is a homeowners’ way to polish a 10 year old shoe, like detailing a car before resale. If anything needs to be done, help your sale out by taking the time to hire a company to perform around $300-$1000 worth of clean up. They can also plant some flowering annuals or shrubs to increase curb appeal for the house. Most landscape companies are familiar with this work as it is generally the bulk of their business. By adding color and texture to the right areas of your home, it will allow light to play well with the natural shading. Doing this can enlarge the house or make it seem worth more than what you are offering. Much like looking at a Monet painting, if the eyes are hooked, the heart is soon to follow. It is recommended to just hire a company to come out and consult. If you are able to do the work yourself, you will at least have an idea of where to start. A hundred dollars today can lead to thousands of dollars tomorrow.

  • Tip- Keep your same landscape company after you move. As they have worked with you in the past you have likely developed good rapport with them. This bond goes into design and development of your new property and can lead to a better landscape that is truly you.

“I own a business but need to increase sales, how can I afford to do this after my marketing has been utilized?”

Important questions such as this fall along the same guidelines we have already discussed.  Aesthetics is everything and when it comes to making money in the commercial field, nothing is needed more. There are many reasons why landscapes for the commercial side should be considered. Our list includes:

  • Aesthetics: This attracts clients to your business and also keeps your employees happier. Research has shown that employees who have access to landscaped areas (even views) from where they work are happier overall with higher job satisfaction. Small areas of landscaping can lead to a more positive buying experience and can increase the possibility for sales and retained clientele. Clients are known to travel out of their way just for positive aesthetics. Improving your companies land aesthetics will also make the property stand out from the road and encourage potential buyers to take interest in your company.
  • Environment: By creating landscaped areas you are showcasing your interest and engagement with the environment. This especially important now more than ever.
  • Safety: Homes and businesses with landscaped areas are less likely to have an issue with crime. This is due to the fact of a higher police percentage in nicer well developed areas. Landscaping serves as a beneficial deterrent. Also those who are stressed have a nicer area to relax in, leading to a more positive work place.

As the photos show, you can clearly see the difference in appeal with landscaping. No matter how minor, the outside of the home is what attracts buyers first. We are taught to not judge a book by its cover, however, it is hard to see promise in an area without some work. Most of our current homebuyers start online, in which the first photo is of the outside of the home. Don’t allow your house to be closed out before the realtor can close out the sale. Our goal at Northern Virginia Landscaping is to ensure you get the most bang for your buck while helping to make these positive aesthetic changes.

“If all of your remodeling is on the inside but the outside of the house is challenging, you’ll never have a chance to even show the inside.”


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