When it comes to fixing up a foreclosed home for resale, sometimes people focus so much on the interior that they forget about curb appeal. Yet, curb appeal is what gets potential buyers ringing the doorbell. Many do not realize that a little landscaping effort can go a long way when selling a former foreclosure.
The first thing to keep in mind is timing. It’s recommended to start landscaping about a month before listing the home. Lawn care should be on the top of the list. There’s nothing that turns people away like overgrown grass, trash or brown patches. The condition of the lawn can also hint at any irrigation issues in the yard.
Once the lawn is looking nice and green, line up the edges. This is a simple way to boost the home’s value, but many people overlook it.
After the yard, look out for any trees and shrubs in the area. Trees are almost a guarantee to add value to the home. They are aesthetically pleasing, and they help provide shade to keep home cooling costs down in the summer. Surveys have found trees planted near the sidewalk or the street can help bump up the value by 7 to 19 percent.
Potential buyers will be nervous if trees are located too close to the home. Not only do they hide the home’s beauty, but also, they could pose a danger if a storm hits. The ideal is to keep trees at least 20 feet from the home. Overgrown shrubs have the same effect. Regardless of the season, it’s important to trim the bushes down before potential buyers start coming by.
With the trees and lawn looking good, it’s now time to tend to the flowerbeds. Adding mulch is an easy way to spruce them up. Dark colored mulch makes bright flowers pop. Mulch has practical use, as it helps protect plants against weeds, dry summers and freezing winters. Replace any flowers on their way out with relatively inexpensive annuals.
Like trees, container plants are another way to add value to a home. They help make a home feel more welcoming, help air quality when placed indoors and there are varieties of pots and urns that can serve as a statement piece. Large tropical plants are especially popular for patios or doorways.
Cleaning up the lawn and trimming trees will leave a lot of debris. Renting a dumpster to sit in front of the driveway is one option for easy disposal. Another option is calling a local sanitation company, such as Waste Management, for a pickup. Waste Management can recycle rock, lumber and other items for future use. The third option is hiring a local yard waste or junk removal service.
It is not recommended to burn yard waste. Not only is this illegal in many areas, it also pollutes the air and leaves a potential to spread into an uncontrollable fire.
It’s important to clean out any water features in the yard. Remove leaves, visible algae and other items that may have accumulated over time. You should also make sure any fountain or running water feature works properly.
While a koi pond sounds like a good idea, some buyers will automatically associate it with being high maintenance. Other buyers will worry about its safety when it comes to young children. Still, older buyers may find the peaceful nature of the ponds attractive. If the pond is already there, don’t remove it. But be prepared to recommend local services that will help buyers maintain it.
High-maintenance yards are a big turnoff in general. The spectacular rose garden someone spent years caring for can look like a lot of work for a potential buyer. This factor depends on where a home is located. For example, someone buying in a more high-end neighborhood might not mind the extra costs needed to maintain an elaborate yard.
Before shelling out cash for a new paint job, consider washing the outside of the home. Power washers do a great job of blasting away dirt and grime, revealing the vibrant color the home once was. But, we’ll touch on that later in the series – so stay tuned.
Last thing to consider is lighting. Dark homes can be intimidating to buyers, especially in rural areas. Solar lights work well along the driveway or a sidewalk leading to the front door. Consider adding lights to a deck or patio as well to create a warm and inviting space.