Julie Butler…, Real Estate Pro in Virginia Beach, VA

Do landscaping now? Or offer a landscaping allowance?

Asked by Julie Butler - Realtor, Virginia Beach, VA Fri Mar 2, 2012

I have a seller who doesn't want to put money into landscape spruce ups now. He wants to put landscaping allowance in the listing. I think the yard needs sprucing up so potential buyers will not be turned off at first glance. Its a great house, but it has tenants in it who aren't keeping the yard looking its best. The owner says why put money into it now when the tenants won't bother maintaning it...

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REALTOR® Lisa Timko’s answer
I completely agree! Curb appeal is very important. A lot of buyers drive by before making an appointment to see the home. If they don't like how the home looks from the outside, they will never step inside. Since there are tenants there who might not take care of any landscaping, I would highly recommend the seller hire someone temporarily to maintain it while it is active. These are the little things that really matter when it comes to selling a home. It will pay off in the long run for the seller.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
BEST ANSWER
Spruce it up. And hire a lawn service.

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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2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
Well put. Selling a house is a competition, like you said, and sellers should treat it that way. While the landscaping done may go to waste once the house is sold, the cost of sprucing up the yard could not only help sell the house, but increase its value as well. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves living in their future house, and landscaping, even a little, will help considerably with that. http://www.a1landscapingandlotclearing.com/landscaping.html
Flag Mon Jun 1, 2015
I agree, landscaping can really help the curb appeal of your house. You don't have to spend a ton of money on it either. You should just make sure that the yard looks nice and presentable. It will really pay off in the end. http://www.carmanahlandscaping.com/en/
Flag Fri Jan 16, 2015
This is an excellent answer. Simple landscaping and cleaning options are the absolute best way to increase the value of the home. There's nothing else that you could be doing for that price that will bring potential buyers. Never overlook the first impression a lawn gives off.
Jenn | http://www.lawnscapeshydroseed.com
Flag Tue Nov 11, 2014
I think you hit the nail on the head. I don't understand why landlords think that tenants should pay to maintain their properties. If this owner wants to sell their home, they should spend a little money on landscaping.

http://www.affordablecuts.net/Services.html
Flag Tue Aug 12, 2014
You only get one time to make a first impression. Recently with mulch from your local Home Depot 3 for $10 and a few inexpensive flowers. The yard becomes low maintenance. Mow the lawn and you have a fresh looking front yard.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 24, 2014
First impressions are always important, but if the seller doesn't want to invest in it, you can't force anything. Beyond that, if there is a landscaping allowance, people will have a chance to hire a company they like and design things the way they want. Ultimately it won't matter that much what you do. If you have trouble selling though, you might want to change your strategy a bit.
http://www.ralphwellslandscaping.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 19, 2015
Landscaping is part of the first impression you are making which can sometimes be the most important. Buyers can be very visual. So if they see a yard in disarray it can definitely turn them off. Landscaping can be an easy and affordable way to aid in facilitating a sale.

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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2015
It can be very difficult to sell a house if the landscaping doesn't look good at all. I don't know if it would be smart to put a lot of effort into the landscaping here, but you're going to want to make the yard at least look presentable if at all possible. Do something that will still look decent, even if the tenants don't help maintain it. Beyond that, you can still offer a landscaping allowance for the buyers to change things as they see fit. The primary focus though should be making the house look as presentable as possible.
http://www.budgetlandscapingloveland.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2015
Landscaping can really add to the curb appeal. Most people don't have the vision to see a home as it could be, so every little bit helps. Unless the price is really right, an allowance may not be enough.
Mark Leach | http://www.landscapesnw.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 22, 2015
I agree with Mark, landscaping really adds to curb appeal. If there is bad landscaping it can also really take away from the appeal of a house. I would think an owner would want to invest some just so he could raise the value of a home, and maybe get new tenants who will want to take care of the yard.
http://www.landscapeexpertsal.com/gallery
Flag Thu Feb 12, 2015
I think that if you were to do the landscaping now, it would definitely bring up the appeal. Then if there were people looking for a nice home with a nice yard, it would look much nicer. Sometimes, the yard gives the first impression of a home, so if you have a nice yard then it will help. If you are reluctant about spending very much money on landscaping, it might be worth it to just do it on your own and see what you can get done! http://www.quincanquarries.com.au
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 22, 2014
Do the landscaping now. And a lot of landscaping can be done very inexpensively.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 5, 2014
I think the seller has a point. You never know how long it's going to take to sell the house, so he doesn't want to have to take care of an expensive landscape until that time. At the same time, landscaping will make the house more attractive and will attract a buyer more easily than a non-landscaped house would. It just depends on his goals. http://www.kiheigardens.biz/landscapinglandscaping-restoration
Flag Tue Dec 2, 2014
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
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I think that landscaping now would definitely attract more people to the property. Ultimately though it's up to the owner to decide what to do. If he doesn't want to spend money on work that won't be kept up by the tenants nobody can make him. I think the best option is to hire a landscaping company to clean it up and keep it nice for a little while.
http://www.oliverslandscaping.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 3, 2014
The yard is the first thing a potential buyer will see. I agree that he should hire a lawn service. This way he can keep the tenants out of it. http://www.thompsonlandscapecompany.com/page.php?3
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 23, 2014
I would question the Seller as to how quickly they want to sell. The more attractive the home the more interested buyers will come by. The way the yard is maintained will also speak to the way the house was maintained. All very important to potential buyers.

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.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 28, 2014
It's best to make the landscaping improvements now. It will be more attractive to prospective buyers and your seller will most likely get a much better return on his money. When you offer an allowance, buyers will typically want more for the allowance due to the fact they have to deal with the aggravation of dealing with it themselves. Curb appeal is very important when selling a home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 8, 2014
The house would probably sell a lot easier if the lawn looked like it was well taken care of. Having a messy lawn is a big turn off for buyers. It would be easy to hire professionals to come do the landscaping. Try to help him to understand that the house will sell quicker if the landscaping is done.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 7, 2014
Most people want a place ready to move in, which includes having a nice landscaped yard. The seller should either use some elbow grease to spruce it up, or hire a company to do so. Always get a quote first and don't be afraid of the "little guys". There is a local company I like to use here in Virginia Beach who does great work at reasonable pricing. Many landlords and property managers put in the lease for rentals "must have lawn cut, beds mulched, etc." prior to move out as part of the agreement. This makes for certain it is ready for the next tenant. So while they may not maintain it during their lease, the owner can rest assure that it will be taken care of before move out. Also having the landscape company maintain is a great idea. Some companies are really good about letting property managers/ landlords know when they see anything on the outside of the home that needs attention, such as gutters, pressure washing, tree issues, drainage problems, etc. This helps keep the home up, and brings attention to things the owner may not see in time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 24, 2014
Yeah I would go ahead and spruce it up. It doesn't hurt the value! Plus, even if the guy drops the deal, the new landscaping will attract other offers!

Will Jenkins | http://www.glynnyoungsnursery.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 21, 2014
I agree with Nathan, curb appeal will do a lot for the home. Hiring a lawn service can be as easy as paying the teenage down the street to cut the grass or hiring a professional service. At least you can make the suggestion to the home owner and when the home does not sell or sells for substantially less than market value they will understand your point. Maintaining the gutters and trash around the home is essential, if the potential buyer see's garbage in the front yard they will develop a preconceived notion of what it looks like inside, if they even go in. Good luck :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 14, 2013
If the yard isn't attractive, potential buyers may not want to take a look. Or if they do decide to look, they may offer a much lower price because the yard needs work, and the amount they deduct may be a lot more than the costs of sprucing up the landscaping. Mowing and edging, killing weeds, mulch, and a few flowers can go a long way.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 10, 2013
In this market if sellers don't make the commitment to make their homes more marketable, they are in fact going to lose more money in the long run. They can see it in the comps that are out there and everyone knows the curb appeal is the first draw. If they don't do it, then how motivated are they anyway? Show them the competition.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 19, 2012
Interesting. The owner doesn't maintain the lawn? Does he pay for plumbing, roof, etc. problems. The tenants aren't responsible for the maintenance. I would also suggest to the owner that the curb appeal might get an offer quicker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 15, 2012
First impressions are very important. What type of "spruce ups" are you requesting?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 15, 2012
Well if the home is priced right, it will not matter about the landscape. If the home is a little over priced, I would do it. The problem is just like painting, carpet colors, counter tops etc. If the right stuff is not done for the potential buyer's, they will be distracted (for example, "It's a lot of yard work to maintain").
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.).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
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