As the housing market continues to heat up heading into summer, “For Sale” signs are popping up all over, but where you place your sign on your yard isn’t quite as important as the yard itself.
Your yard is the first thing prospective buyers see, and if it’s in bad condition, they may not even set foot in your house.
“It’s really all about the initial impact – the drive-up-and-see-it impact,” said Scott Jackson of Scott’s Gardening and Landscaping. “It needs to be clean and it needs to be bright and cheery-looking. It needs to have road appeal.”
There are dozens of ways to spruce up your lawn and garden to improve your chances of a sale, from the obvious – mow the lawn and pull the weeds – to the overlooked – pressure wash the sidewalk and cut dead branches out of your trees.
Jackson, who has been landscaping in Saanich and Greater Victoria for 25 years, said subtle changes such as edging your lawn and using screened bark mulch or compost can add definition and contrast to your yard and garden, making it stand out even more than usual.
“The reason behind the bark mulch and the screened compost is to brighten the look of the yard up and give it a finished, clean appearance,” he said. “The screened compost is black, which gives it a beautiful black appearance, but the screened bark mulch is a reddish colour, so contrast with the plants is one thing I’d look at highlighting.”
Another way to add a splash of colour to a property is to plant annual flowers, which can liven up an otherwise bland front yard.
With summer just two months away, Jackson said people looking to sell their homes during those hot months should consider fertilizing their lawns and gardens, and ensure they have proper irrigation so their grass and plants don’t dry up.
“Right now, you can get away without doing it because Mother Nature is keeping it green, but as the summer goes along, the lawns start to weaken,” he said. “Keeping them green and cut and healthy looking is absolutely crucial.”
Ultimately, Jackson said a poor yard can affect your bottom line, and it’s worth spending a few thousand dollars to fix up the outside. Otherwise, prospective buyers may try to further negotiate the price if they feel they need to hire a landscaper.
“Spending $5,000 is a small price to pay, considering that the average person is going to want to knock off somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 from the asking price,” he said. “It’s cheaper for sellers, in the long run, to have the road appeal and cleanliness. Then the prospective buyer may not be so willing to drop the asking price on the home.”