The best home renovations are those that pay for themselves after the home is sold.
Of course, the changes you make to your home don’t have to be strategic in this way. You can renovate aspects of your property just for you. Though adding a pool doesn’t usually pay for itself upon resale, thousands of homeowners do it every year because they love swimming.
But, for those interested in renovating outdoors with resale return on investment (ROI) in mind, this article is for you.
The value-add can be considered from two angles. The first and most obvious angle: certain renovations can literally increase the resale value of your home. This means the value a renovation adds to a house will fully (or mostly) be covered upon resale.
The other angle is psychological. If a stunning landscape results in a faster sale, then that’s more money in your pocket with less time wasted.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the projects that experts say may help you recoup your costs, as well as low-cost changes that significantly help your yard standout from others:
The Power of First Impressions
As humans, we constantly scan environments and make flash judgments about what we see. If your yard is well kempt, it may leave a lasting positive impression that convinces the next homeowner they’re ready to buy. First impressions still matter immensely.
Ralph Fox, a Canadian REALTOR® interviewed for Liveabl, says that emotions play a much larger part in home-buying than we usually care to admit.
“If someone disconnects with a space right off the bat, they’re going to have a tough time getting their emotions around it after the fact.”
As a seller, you want to set up your home for success by anticipating deterrents and fixing issues that could be deal-breakers and leave your property languishing on the the market for months without a suitable buyer.
Ultimately, of course, it’s all about the $$$. Determining ROI on cosmetic and structural changes is important so that you’re not throwing money away through the staging and home preparation process.
Since you only get one shot at a first impression, renovating the outside of your home through landscaping and hardscaping can be a great way to add value to your property.
Maintain the Basics
Perhaps the lowest-cost investment that makes the largest impact is simply maintaining your lawn. An overgrown, weed-infested lawn will inevitably leave a bad impression on most visitors.
Spend a few saturdays restoring your lawn to its most pleasant appearance. Here are just a few steps many people can do on their own (or hire a lawn care company to perform on a budget):
Mow the grass
Fertilize the lawn
Trim overgrown hedges
Trim obscene branches, especially if they protrude into common walkways
Lay fresh mulch or rocks in flower beds
Purchase and arrange small plants in flower beds
Clear evidence of pests near walkways (cobwebs, muddobbers, wasp nests)
It’s also important to repair your lawn if certain areas draw negative attention.
One tip we recommend is reaching out to the homeowner with the best lawn on your street. Ask them how they maintain their lawn and what the localized issues are in your area (types of weeds, rot, drainage issues, etc). They will be a wealth of knowledge, and chances are, they will also be a hobbyist eager to share their wisdom with you.
Pressure Wash Your Driveway and Walkway
A quick pressure cleaning can make a night-and-day difference to your driveway. Hiring local pressure cleaning experts is fairly inexpensive, but can transform a grimy driveway or sidewalk to make it appear brand new.
Replace the Garage Door
A damaged garage door doesn’t leave a good first impression. Fortunately, replacing the garage door is a cost commonly recouped in the value you get for your home.
Show-Off Your Backyard
When a prospective homeowner considers your house, help them dream big about their future. Having a welcoming backyard can leave this impression. There are several ways to make a backyard attractive:
Designate obvious social areas: This can be as simple as well organized chairs on a kempt lawn or as extravagant as a back patio and full grill. Make your lawn look like the perfect place to host friends.
Plant strategically: Depending on the situation of your home within a neighborhood or large lot, how you arrange outdoor plants will change. In a neighborhood with nearby houses, tall plants infer privacy. On a large property, short plants offer a wide view of the spaciousness of the lot.
Add simple, human touches: A little attention can go a long way. Add some character to your backyard that helps it stand out. Some families may string lights, install a small fountain, or provide comfortable bench seating.
At Your Next House...
Much of the advice offered in this article concerns change you can implement weeks prior to selling your home. However, there’s one investment you can make at your next house to improve its value over the course of the years you inhabit that home.