Georgia Gardener Newsletter Design Tip: May 1, 2008

Selling Your House: Preparing the Landscape

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An attractive landscape is a plus on the real estate market

I've decided I'm going to quit watching the news. It all seems bad and getting worse especially the recent problems in the real estate markets across the country. I can't remember a time when so many houses were on the market for such an extended period of time. With so many houses available, you can bet that prospective buyers can be extremely choosy even deciding whether or not to look at house simply by doing a drive-by.

When buyers go to look at houses on the market, the first thing they will see is the front landscape and it plays the most important part of what agents refer to as "curb appeal." The landscape can be a make or break item and in a fiercely competitive market it can be a major factor that gets people at least in the front door.

The good news is that even in this depressed market, you can expect between a 100-200% return on the money spent for landscaping. Of course, I would add that this would apply to "reasonable landscaping" and would exclude items like outdoor kitchens, pools, extensive retaining walls, or other high-end features.

The longer the lead time you have before putting your home on the market, the easier it will be to "fix" an established landscape or allow a new landscape to mature. Below are some pointers to consider based on how much time you have.

6-12 Months Before

You may want to call in a landscaping professional at this point to give you a detailed "to-do-what-when" list.

3-6 Months Before

1-3 Months Before

1 Month (Or Less) Before

Be sure to perform all the necessary maintenance items while your house is on the market. Hopefully you'll have it sold before you have to change to the next season's annuals.

Neighborly Tip: If you live next door or near someone who has their house on the market, try to keep your landscape tidy. The more money they get for their house the more it may raise the value of yours.

Turf Maintenance Calendars (pdf) from the University of Georgia Extension Service:

Bermuda Maintenance Calendar
Centipede Maintenance Calendar
Fescue Maintenance Calendar
St. Augustine Maintenance Calendar
Zoysia Maintenance Calendar

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