A beautiful interior is key when considering on selling your home, but in order for buyers to see your interior, they must first lay eyes on the exterior of your home. See how changes your the curb appeal can drastically change the overall "first impression" that buyers will have of your home.
Did you know? Proper landscaping increases the value of a home by up to 15%, and an investment in landscaping is estimated to pay for itself 5-10x over when a home sells.
Since 2008, I have worked in visual merchandising, and have always trained stores on the importance of the "first impression." It normally takes a potential shopper between 2-5 seconds to determine whether they want to enter a store to shop or not. This is why in a mall you will see huge bold signs displaying the latest sale, eye-catching clothes on mannequins and highly spotlighted store windows. The purpose of this is to simply attract the attention and entice random shoppers into the store, with hopes of converting them into buying customers.
If you think about it, isn't this what we are trying to accomplish when selling a home? We want as many potential buyers to be attracted to, and enticed to look within the home and for one lucky shopper to become a buyer!
So how can this be achieved you ask? There are many factors that go into creating the perfect curb appeal (I will be adding posts on this topic, so look out), but today we are going to focus on landscaping.
Curb Appeal: The attractiveness of a property for sale and its surroundings when viewed from the street .
Just as earrings or a watch can perfectly complete any outfit, I find a green, well manicured lawn to be the perfect accessory to any home! There is nothing quite like driving up to a home with healthy green grass accented by the perfect blend of plants, shrubs, trees and flowers. To achieve this, start by focusing on the health of your grass (Scotts and Pennington have amazing quick-acting products to get your grass looking great). Keep weeds at bay, bald spots treated, and grass regularly mowed to make a huge difference when selling your home.
To properly create the perfect look, we must then layer in more accent pieces to tie the lawn into the home and this can be done through the use plants, shrubs and flowers. There are many options to consider when deciding what greenery works best for your home and location, check out this article from HGTV for more information on different plant types to use (click here). Greenery should always accent the home and not compete with it, so place the perfect pieces in these areas...
1. The base of the home to soften the line where the foundation and ground meet. This can be through simple shrub-lined accent strips or a carved-out flower beds for a pop of color (tip: using different seasonal flowers will always have something in bloom year long).
2. Along walkways and driveways to further accent hardscapes. Placing greenery along these areas defines the space and gives a picturesque look to the entrance of the home and overall curb appeal. Greenery can be as low-maintenance as you like through the use of boxwoods or as colorful as your heart desires with beautiful seasonal flowers (tip: placing exterior lights along driveways and walkways gives a beautiful highlighted view to the home for evening home showings).
3. Tree-surrounds or mid-lawn flowerbeds to add a pop of color to the front lawn area. What better way is there to make a tree stand out then to surround it with colorful flowers and plants. For a large front lawn, adding a flowerbed around a light post can also add personality and fill in the space nicely (tip: add extra pizzaz by adding a feature such as a wooden wheel barrel, fountain or large rocks to flower beds in these areas).
Upgrading walkways, driveways and adding hardscape trimmed flowerbeds can make a huge difference that will add a unique, defined touch to your home, and further separate it from the competition. Cracked, aged, or the lack of hardscapes leading to the home or on the driveway can automatically leave a skewed first impression before potential buyers even enter the home. Taking the time to deep clean or repair existing hardscapes for a "like new" appearance, or adding new ones, will make a huge difference!
There are so many material options to use to add an expensive look to your landscaping from brick pavers, to flagstone or cobblestone, the options are truly endless to create a look that will complement the style and design of your home. Unless you have knowledge in this area, it's best to hire a pro for the best outcome, but even still, you don't have to use expensive materials if it will break the budget. I have been blown away with what can be done with simple concrete on a walkway by having it stamped to replicate any material from wood to flagstone and brick. In this process the concrete also has colors and texture to further appear as an expensive option compared to the real thing (find out more here).
Just as landscaping and hardscapes are the perfect accessory to the the home, it's important to make sure they are finished correctly. Finishing touches in regards to landscaping are the small accents that pop the overall look of what you have done. Think if it as adding that special lipstick or fragrance to further enhance and refine your overall look. This is where adding mulch, stones and lighting takes center stage. There is no other way to make the vibrant colors of flowers and plants pop without a rich background color. I have seen beautiful landscaping growing from faded brown mulch that seems to kill the vibrancy and curb appeal. It truly is a loss when homeowners go through all the steps, but miss this one. So be sure to add the proper finishing touches by using rich, deep colored mulches in brown, black or red (see this HGTV article on mulching). Use new stones in bright whites, grays or tans to accent or alternate with mulching. Lastly, use lighting to highlight flowerbeds, walkways and driveways for a serene setting in the evenings.
So you have decided to upgrade your landscaping to create the perfect curb appeal for your home...congratulations! I can not stress enough the importance of this step in the home staging and selling process...even if you are comfy in your current home, this step will surely enhance the visual appeal of your home. Have fun creating curb appeal that will be the envy of your neighborhood! Good luck and Happy Landscaping!