Outdoor Improvement Tips

Improving Your Front Yard

Curb appeal is incredibly important when it comes to making or breaking the sale on your home, so having your front yard in pristine condition will ensure that you have a leg up in the buyer's opinion of your home.

Landscaping plays a key role in curb appeal, and is generally the first impression that a buyer gets, so properly planning your landscape is an absolute must in not only swaying a buyer's decision, but raising the value of your home, as well.

If you believe that landscaping is not the icing on the cake, with the cake being your beautiful home, then take a look at the following statistics, which will definitely change your mind:

·     90% of all real estate agents encourage their clients to invest in having their landscape cleaned up and perfected prior to putting their home on the market.

·     Having a beautiful landscape can increase your property's value by 12% on average, and will increase your resale value by up to 14%.

·      Your home will spend less time on the market, by at least six weeks, if not more.

·     If you spend at least 5% on landscaping for your home's value, your ROI, real estate investment, can be at least 150%, if not more.

However, before you start planting flower beds and trees all over the place, sit down and conduct a plan on paper for what you plan on doing with your front yard to step your game up with your front yard's landscape.

Your Landscaping Plan

Start by constructing a list of what you'd like to incorporate into your front yard based on what you already have. For example, do you have a stone patio leading to your front door? If so, consider planting a flower bed around the perimeter with bright, vibrant colors to help boost the positive feeling of your landscape.

If you have a large tree in your front yard, a bird bath underneath it would definitely be a nice touch. Creating a plan will also help you to budget everything. If you'd like to step your game up further, consult your landscaping plan with a landscape architect.

They will come out and show you what would look good and where, within your front yard, while taking your budget into account.

Planting and Having Trees

If you plan on planting a tree, it's best to speak with a landscape architect to go over your options. You don't want to plant a tree that will take decades to grow, such as an oak, but instead go with one that will only take a few years.

If you already have a tree, however, then you're set. By using the National Tree Benefit Calculator, you can find out which trees are worth what when it comes to property value, storm water runoff, carbon dioxide reduction, energy savings, and more.

For example, a red maple that is 24 inches in diameter is worth $244 in McLean, VA, and will add value to your property.

Keep the Native Plants!

Even if you're not a fan of the native plants in your yard, don't remove them. Saguaro, which grows in Arizona, can actually add up to $5,000 to a home's value, depending on the size.

If you have a certain native plant on your property, you could even get certification from The National Wildlife Federation for creating or incorporating a natural back or front yard habitat for butterflies, birds, and other animals who are looking for a place to feed and roost.

Therefore, not only will keeping your native plants help to make your landscape look fuller, but they will also add vital properly value.

Letting It Fill in and Learning to Care for It

Real estate experts suggest that you should never conduct serious landscaping, which includes planting trees and flowers, right before you are planning on putting your home on the market.

Instead, make and go with your landscaping plans at least six months or more before you put your home up for sale, to ensure that the work you are doing on your front yard has some time to grow, fill in, and look great.

Once your landscaping additions have had the proper amount of time to fill in, it becomes a worthwhile investment to your home's property value overall.You will also need to learn how to properly care for all of the additions you have made, or you can hire landscaping experts to help you in maintaining it.

If you plan on doing all of the maintenance yourself, you can always research the plants, flowers, and trees over the internet, where you can find gardening websites and blogs that will help give you full care instructions, and even tips on how to make the most out of your front yard.

The Importance of Outdoor Lights

Even though buyers are most likely going to be coming during the day to see your home, outdoor lights are still incredibly important for many reasons.

It's a desirable feature that the majority of buyers look for, even if they won't say it themselves, and is definitely an essential component to have within your landscape.

Outdoor lights help to:

·               Prevent tripping and falling over uneven surfaces or anything in the way.

·               Add tasteful lighting to the side of your home and your hard and highlights landscape choices if they are placed in specific areas.

·               Keep intruders away as outdoor lights reduce the risk of burglaries.

·               Get you an insurance discount, considering certain insurance companies will give up to 15% off discounts to homeowners who have zero or reduced claims from burglaries, thanks to outdoor lighting.

Overall, if you didn't think landscaping and additions to your garden and decorations made a difference in the curb appeal and overall value of your home, you're dead wrong!

Improving the Exterior of Your Home

The appeal of the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior of your home, and even more so, considering the exterior is one of the first things that buyers are going to see during a showing or an open house.

Sprucing up the exterior of your home is just as important as having a beautiful landscape, and there are many ways you can easily do so, without pulling your hair out!As you already know, curb appeal is critical and extremely vital when it comes to selling your home for more by adding value, so ensure that you are doing the right things in improving the exterior of your home before you put it up for sale on the market.

The Best Ways to Improve the Exterior of Your Home

The following is a list of ways that help to improve the ROI of your home and their percentages of how much they are raised by:

·               Adding or upgrading your patio or deck, 87%

·               Replacing your front door, 97%

·               Replacing your garage door, 83%

·               Remodeling your kitchen, 74% for major and 82% for major

·               Adding an attic or space bedroom, 84%

·               Replacing your siding, 78% for vinyl, 87% for a mix of fiber-cement

·               Upgrading your bathroom, 73%

·               Replacing your windows, 79%

·               Remodeling your basement, 78%

·               Adding another story within your home, 72%

If you're looking to step your game up in terms of your ROI, the bullet points listed above are the best ways to do it. Not only do the following suggestions for exterior home improvement help the curb appeal of the exterior of your home, but they also help the overall value of your home, as well.

Overlooking Your Roof - Don't Do That!

When selling your home, you want to make sure that everything is in working order and perfect condition, right?

Considering that's the case for all homeowners, then why overlook your roof as if it's not the literal roof over your heads? Overlooking your roof. Don't do that!

Deciding on Whether or Not Your Roof Needs to Be Fixed

The best way to figure out whether or not you'll need your roof fixed before putting it up for sale on the market, is to look at the current market itself, check into all of the sales activity in your general area, and take a good look at your home.

Before listing your home, having a local service provider go up and take a good look at your roof to see if it could possibly raise any problems with potential buyers. If the inspection comes back with potential issues with your roof, whether they are minor or major, then you definitely need to make a decision.

The person who did the inspection could probably tell you what it would cost to have it repaired, and may even do it themselves, or you could bring in a roofing expert to get an estimate. However, ensure that you speak with at least three different providers, as the costs tend to vary for each one.

Once you know the total costs and have the cheapest estimate in hand, you can then look at your budget to see whether or not you can afford it. If not, be ready to tell each buyer who comes to view your home that the roof does need some work done.

You will also need to be prepared to take a fraction off of the selling price as well, since the buyer and new homeowner will be the one paying the costs for the repair. Otherwise, have the repairs done as soon as possible to ensure that the condition of your roof does not worsen, and adjust your selling price based on the value of the repairs that will factor into the overall price.

Homes that are upgraded, have all of the necessary repairs, and are overall in great condition have all of the necessary potential to sell faster, and for a lot more money, as well. As an added step, have a roofing specialist conduct a maintenance service and further certify your roof for an additional four to five years. Once you have this certification for your roof, you will be able to show each potential buyer that they will not have to worry about any issues with the roof for the duration of the guaranteed period.

Doing so will also add double the value that basic or extensive, depending on how much work your roof needed after the inspection, repairs that needed to be done in the first place.

Replacing All of the Old Windows in Your Home

A lot of homeowners forget that replacing their old windows is the most important aspect when it comes to renovating, upgrading, and improving your home before you put it on the market.

Old, outdated windows must be replaced with new ones for the purpose of energy efficiency, and are more often than not an issue of safety.

Even though replacing all of your old windows may be a bit costly, depending on how large your home is, the size of the windows that are needed based on their dimensions, and the total number of windows that need to be replaced, it's a task that is worth it in more ways than one.

As previously stated, replacing your old windows is also done for a safety precaution. Windows that are aged well past their prime become a hazard in terms of burglaries, as they will no doubt be easily to breach, and will be a target no problem. Old windows are incredibly easy to spot out among a street of houses that have new, updated ones.

You can also expect an ROI of at least approximately 70%, as well, so you will actually be making your money back, especially if you have more than 10 windows that need to be replaced within your home. Updating your windows is also incredibly important, if not the most important thing when it comes to home renovations before putting your home up on the market for sale, because buyers want to see a modern, up to date aesthetic when they are shopping around for a new home.

Therefore, to really hook in a potential buyer, windows that are upgraded or up to date in general are an absolute must before your home goes on the market.

Beautifying Your Backyard for a Better Home Value

Your backyard is one of the most important parts of your home, especially from a buyer's point of view. This is where they will play with their pets or their children, have barbecues, entertain friends or family members, and so much more.

Therefore, creating an oasis in your backyard that will absolutely stun each buyer that sees it is the best way to not only add more value to your home, but to sell your home as fast as possible, as well.

These days, there are multiple trends that buyers are now looking for when it comes to the backyard of their dreams, which you, as the seller, will want to incorporate and utilize to your advantage in order to get your home's value through the roof and sell your home for more as fast as possible.

More Trees

Over time, trees become beautiful pieces of art that really tie a backyard together. If you're looking to add a few before you sell your home, do so right now. Get any type that is about 8 inches tall and 1 to 2 inches in diameter that will sit within a pot that is 15 gallons in size, to ensure that in three to five years, the trees will be in full effect.

Smaller Lawn

This may surprise you, considering most people see a large, healthy, green lawn in their mind when they picture the perfect backyard, but these days a smaller lawn is the trend.

Therefore, having deep planting beds in all of the right places with wide borders and even shrubs, for example, are the best way to ensure that, though the lawn may be smaller, the backyard is anything but empty and small.

To make the backyard, and the lawn, appear larger, have a square or a ring of flower beds going around the back fence or wall, depending on the setup you have.

Planting plenty of vibrant, brightly colored flowers will bring a more positive, bubbly vibe to the backyard, and will allow potential buyers to better picture themselves and their family entertaining or having some fun in the sun outside for many years to come.

Adding a Sanctuary

To create the perfect backyard sanctuary, incorporating water is the perfect way to have a beautiful, oasis-like backyard.

For example, having a small pond with or without fish, a fountain, a pool, or a hot tub with some comfortable areas to sit will give potential buyers the feeling that they have stepped into a small, yet beautiful and sweet, sanctuary that could be their very own.

Adding a Swimming Pool as an Investment

These days, a lot of homeowners who are putting their home on their market are having a swimming pool installed in their backyards as an investment in order to really raise the value of their home.

If you've been weighing the idea around, then are certain factors and vital efforts that you will need to keep in mind and stick to in order to ensure that your swimming pool is kept in perfect condition while your home is up on the market.

It's incredibly important to weight the installation and maintenance costs out in front of you, to ensure that you have a good idea of what the figures are going to be when it comes to the value of the pool and the utility costs that go into actually having one.

To know for sure, speak with your real estate agent. He or she can give you the answers you need, or refer you to someone who will be able to answer all of your questions.

The Resale Value of a Swimming Pool

Though installing a swimming pool may seem like a sure bet in terms of resale value, you must first crunch the numbers to figure out whether or not it's even worth it.

In general, the ROI will generally be between 15% and 25%, which is not very much in resale value. Depending on the size, the depth, and the accessories, the installation costs will run you between $5,000 and $13,000. However, this does not include the costs for chemical balancing and other maintenance.

It also greatly depends on where you live, as well. For example, if your home is located within the Midwest, you're looking at an ROI of only 6%, whereas if your home is in Florida, you could get an ROI of 11%. The best way to figure out whether or not installing a swimming pool is worth it or not, is to speak with your real estate agent. They will be able to tell you sure fire whether or not it would be worth doing.

Renovating Your Swimming Pool

If you already have a swimming pool, you will need to ensure that it's in perfect condition before you have any open houses or viewings. By checking all of the areas listed below, you will know for sure whether or not your swimming pool needs renovations:

·               The liner, decking, and other materials that are worn down over time.

·               The plumbing, filter, pump, and any system that is old and needs to be upgraded to current standards.

·               An old design that no longer looks good and needs to be replaced.

You can also speak with your real estate agent about the current state of your pool, ask their opinion, and ask for help in finding someone who can renovate and repair your pool for you before you put your home on the market. An updated, beautiful swimming pool helps to add a fair percentage of ROI and value to your home.


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