Boost Your Appeal

2013-06-29T00:00:00Z Boost Your AppealChrystal Caruthers nwitimes.com
June 29, 2013 12:00 am  • 

This summer, beautify your home to boost curb appeal for potential buyers

Every home needs an “ah-ha moment” says Scott Grams, executive director of the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association. “You have to invest in that moment,” he says.

Homeowners attempting to sell their homes in today’s real estate market need every competitive advantage they can muster. According to a study by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, a hearty landscape design adds 15 percent to the home’s value.

Here are some tips to increase your curb appeal and thus your bottom line:

• Plant a tree: Sunlight not only burns your grass and dries out plants, it also increases your household cooling costs. Plant shade trees on the south and west sides of your house to reduce air conditioning costs by up to 25 percent. Check the “tree calculator” at Treebenefits.com to see which trees will add the most value to your home.

• Create a potted garden: For instant color without digging up the yard, place multi-colored containers on your front porch, walkway or stairs to add a visual jolt.

• Try hardscaping: The latest landscaping craze has to do with outdoor rooms. If you want to invest in something that will provide a ‘wow’ factor, Grams says nothing is better than a stone or brick outdoor family room.

• Improve lighting: Lighting designs can highlight all the work you put into the yard, so when potential buyers drive by to check the neighborhood at night, there is still something to see.

• Choose ornamental grass: For low-maintenance curb appeal, grass offers variety and manageability.

• Replace with sod: Dried grass overrun with weeds is better replaced with new sod. Expect to spend about 35 cents per square foot if you do it yourself, according to the National Gardening Association.

Remember, a landscaped yard can bring a 100 to 200 percent recovery value at selling.

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