By Tim Meredith
The real estate market isn’t just hot in Wisconsin – it’s sizzling. You can stoke those flames and get top dollar for your home by sprucing up your landscaping. The best part? The hottest trends don’t have to cost you a fortune.
Don’t Make the First Look the Last One
Chances are, the first view potential buyers’ will get of your property will be online through a staging service. Most people browse the internet when they’re looking. Studies show nearly all millennials do their preliminary browsing online – and they’re the leading demographic for home buying.
At a time of sizzling sales when some buyers are making offers based on pictures alone, it pays to have the curb appeal of your home in tip-top shape. If you work with a real estate professional, they’ll tell you it’s the landscape that attracts buyers.
Attractive landscaping can add up to 13 percent to your home’s sales value. That’s $26,000 on a $200,000 home, which more than offsets the $4,788 it typically costs to design and build a landscape at a Madison home.
Here are some landscaping trends that will maximize your profit:
Keep It Clean and Simple
Potential buyers are going to be turned off by a trashy yard, so mowing, trimming, pruning, and raking are the first order of business. But studies show today’s buyers want an easy-care landscape. You might like a forest paradise, but not all potential buyers will. Get rid of vegetation that screams High Maintenance! or $$$$$! Likewise, too much turf signals hours of mowing, trimming, watering, and weeding. You can reduce the grass with low-maintenance hardscaping.
Hardscaping is Hard to Beat
Tastefully placed walks, pathways, boulders, and retaining walls add visual appeal to your landscape and cut down on yard work. Hardscape (anything that’s not vegetation) is especially important in the backyard. Studies show potential buyers across all demographics want their living space to spill into the outdoors. Well-maintained patios, decks, pergolas, and gazebos are a big selling point.
Be aware that some hardscaping, such as pools, hot tubs, water features, and tennis courts, may appeal to some prospects, but they’re a turn-off to others.
A growing number of homebuyers are eco-conscious and understand the importance of native plants. Natives such as yellow coneflowers and wild petunias withstand the swings of Wisconsin’s climate. They also use less water and require less maintenance. Non-natives often become invasive and crowd out the state’s natural flora.
The staff at reputable nurseries can guide you to natives from trees to flowers. Professional landscaping companies will also prefer to plant natives over invasives. Consider installing a variety of plants and flowers at staggered intervals to keep color in your landscape as the seasons change.
Light up Their Lives
Technological innovations have revolutionized outdoor lighting. Long-lasting and cost-effective LED bulbs, daylight sensors, solar-powered lights, and remote-controlled lighting mean a homeowner can tailor lighting to fit the property. Soft lighting extends those cozy times on the patio on pleasant evenings. Lights placed along paths and walks are a great visual touch and provide safety for family and guests.
Good outdoor lighting for aesthetic appeal and security will be an instant seller.
With warm weather arriving, it’s the perfect time to go to work on your home’s landscape and get the highest bids when the offers start rolling in!
Tim Meredith is an eco-friendly gardener and freelance writer who started mowing lawns and weeding gardens as a teenager to earn extra cash. He uses only organic pest control and fertilizers, solar accent lights, and electric mowers.