It drives me crazy when landlords dont approach their rentals as if they own them. Of course the tenant doesnt maintain it-- it's not theirs. It's your clients. Now or in the future, they should maintain all their properties as if they owned it and it was an asset they had to maintain. This includes the lawn.
So, clean the gutters. Powerwash the siding. Touchup the trim. And landscape and re-seed the lawn. Put in some spring flowers and get someone -- not the tenant-- to keep it alive and looking good.
This is a competition. Do they want their house to sell or not?
Clean it. Keep it clean. I've had to hire a cleaning crew to clean clients homes and tenants homes before showings before.
This is THE MOST EFFECTIVE way to increase the value of your client's home.
Buyers will stop focusing on things that catch their attention around your house, and instead focus on the house. Buyers will remember a house that is exceptionally clean and well kept and will associate that the rest of the house-- everything they dont see-- is also in good working order. They will assume that the seller has kept the house in excellent condition.
This also goes to the outside. Clean your yard. Clean your gutters. Clean your windows. A well kept house from the exterior gives a good impression to what to expect on the interior. People often slow down in front of my home and honk to say "I Love your House...." -- what they mean is they love that I keep a nice garden and yard and it has "curb appeal" -- because they have never been in my house. But if they did, they would find it is just as tidy. Everything in its place means that it has room and space for a new buyer -- should I ever decide to move.
If a buyer drives up and doesn't like the way the house looks, it doesn't matter how much of an allowance you give them-- they won't even be interested in getting out of their car.
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It should be the landlord's responsibility to keep up appearances on the property. If they truly want to sell, they should take landscaping and maintaining it seriously. You could even show them all of these professional recommendations from people in the field who know from experience to help you out!
Hope this helps and best of luck!
Mark Leach | http://www.landscapesnw.com
On the other hand, regarding the owner, as they say--you can't fix stupid.
Try your best, try to squeeze out some small budget, and make it go as far as you can.
On the flip side... many buyers also love the idea of being able to put what they want in. One of my assistants recently purchase a home where they replaced the carpet, she said she would have preferred to put that money towards hardwoods.
So, I guess it would depend on the area and what the potential buyers in your area want. I personally always recommend (sometimes insist!) they do the sprucing up before hand. You never get a second chance to make a first impression! Remind them, they are paying for YOU to market their home, this is what you recommend from a marketing standpoint.
Just basis landscaping would be fine, I believe, trim the trees, edge the yard, seed in bare spots etc. You should ask the seller to offer a Agent bonus on a FPO ($1,000) works and maybe ($1,000) for the buyer to use at their desire (Washer/Dryer, Landscape, Paint, Patio furniture etc.).