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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   April 2017

Planting the Seeds of Prosperity

Smart, sustainable landscaping enhances the value of a property

Excellent landscaping can increase a property’s value by as much as 28 percent, according to a report in the National Association of Realtors’ online publication HouseLogic. Even good landscaping can boost a property’s value by 6 percent to 7 percent, the same report notes.

For mortgage originators, that information can be invaluable in telling the story of a property to a prospective lender. That, in turn, can help the originator line up the best possible financing deal for a borrower.

The main landscaping ingredients necessary for boosting a property’s value are trees, native vegetation and edible gardens. Of course, plenty of water and attention assure the investment produces the desired return.

Mature trees

Mature trees are the cornerstone of home sustainability. They cool homes during the summer and offer a natural wind break during harsh winter months. In addition, they filter pollutants out of the air.

r_2017-04_Hermanson_spot

A single large oak tree in Southern California can add up to $410 to a home’s overall property value, according to the National Tree Benefit Calculator. A tree-filled lot can add thousands of dollars to the asking price.

Not all trees are created equal, however. Even a small silver maple could be worth an impressive $2,562, HouseLogic reports. In addition, market-listed properties located on mature tree-lined streets tend to sell faster.

Native plants

As droughts have parched vast areas of the country, many cities have implemented water restrictions on homeowners that make lawn upkeep difficult, if not impossible. In response, landscaping trends have eschewed exotic plants in favor of practical native vegetation that can thrive in local climates — without needing a lot of water or maintenance.

Landscaping that includes native shrubs, flowers and grasses saves money on maintenance and also increases a home’s value. The effects are multiplied by combining this native vegetation with an eye-appealing pathway to a home, solid aesthetic fencing as well as modern, crisp garage doors. First impressions do count, especially for single-family homes.

On another front, agrihoods (agricultural neighborhoods) have been popping up across the country as potential buyers prioritize interaction with nature over amenities like gyms and business centers. Companies specializing in these agrihoods, or urban farms, work with developers across the country to design, install and even maintain organic farms that benefit residents.

Working with architects, developers and contractors from the very early stages of development ensures a focus on aesthetics, sustainability and high produce yields. Agrihoods can range from small community-garden plots to multi-acre working farms. These edible gardens are unique and add value to the community.

Landscaping perks

Investing in the property’s exterior is as critical to fostering improved value as properly maintaining a home’s interior. A potential homebuyer is likely to make a snap decision based on walking toward the front door of a home and assessing the impressive — or unimpressive — surroundings.

r_2017-04_Hermanson_spot2If a potential homebuyer sees a full edible garden behind a home and neighbors digging away and chatting happily, this can be as eye-catching as a newly remodeled bathroom. If, on the other hand, a home has little in the way of landscaping, this can be a drag on the market value of the home.

Knowing that you’re coming home from a 10-hour work day to relax at your community garden, where you can pluck a fresh salad for dinner while chatting with your neighbors, is far more appealing than stepping into a stunning home interior that lacks community connection and has only unattractive exterior views.

Without outdoor greenery, a home’s heating and cooling prices are typically higher, adequate water drainage can be an issue and privacy is inhibited. By investing in an environmentally friendly landscape, the odds for a faster home sale at a higher sales price improve.

Transparency among members of a community also is important when investing in landscaping. Neighbors can work together to take advantage of group buying power to collectively negotiate a discounted price with a good landscaper to enhance a few homes as part of one contract. That way, everyone benefits from the price break and improved property values.

•  •  •

There is a new wave of interest in bringing nature back into our home environments and in returning to a time before technology pushed us away from fresh air and open fields. The desire to pursue healthier lifestyles, personal well being and a more interactive community all can be addressed through great landscaping. And, just as importantly, investing in smart landscaping also can help boost property values, which opens more doors for buyers, sellers and mortgage originators alike.


 
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