Curb Appeal Economics: How Landscaping Can Increase Your Home Resale Value
The Current Status of the Bay Area Real Estate Market
Hooray! We are finally starting to see that upswing in the sellers market that we have been waiting for since the start of the recession in late 2006. The March Standard & Poor press release shows solid growth in average housing prices, with an increase of 8-9% from 2012 levels. The San Francisco Chronicle published an article that stated February San Francisco Bay Area home prices increased a whopping 24.6% over 2012 prices!
What is great for homeowners, right now, is that the combination of the recent upswing in average housing prices, limited new construction development, and the increasing levels of confidence that buyers are feeling about the economy has turned many parts of the San Francisco Bay Area into a pretty hot seller’s market. In a February article on the SF Gate, CEO of ZipRealty Lanny Baker said:
There is no place where we see a steeper decline in listed homes (for sale) than the Bay Area ... This time last year there were 13,000 homes listed here. Today we see about 5,000 homes - a 60 percent reduction.
While average housing prices are expected to continue to increase, the current rate of increase is not likely to hold out for a long time. A large part of the current seller’s market is fueled by the lack of homes available, and so we can expect to see prices start to level out once new construction homes become available - and in the Bay Area, that may not be too far off. In a March U.S. News blog, Trulia.com economist Jed Kolko noted that Bay Area construction is already above normal levels. Since the Bay has long been a favorite place for construction investors, we can be sure that construction is only likely to increase.
How Can We Take Advantage of This Great Sellers Market?
So the big question for those of us who are looking to sell (hey, we are one of them!), is what can we do to squeeze as much as we can out of this current market? Most of us already know the standards:
Super clean and fresh interior
Freshly painted on the interior (at least!) and preferably a fresh coat on the outside of the home
Well staged rooms to show buyers that moving in would be a breeze
Landscaping Is Often Overlooked
While a lot of us will make sure that the yard is spruced up, many will not spend extra time and money on landscaping. But, it turns out that landscaping goes far beyond the desired “curb appeal” of a home on the market.
According to a 2009 study at Virginia Tech, homes with a sophisticated landscape design and mature plants saw an increase in value between 5.5% and 11.4%. It can easily be assumed that increases in home values may well be even higher here in California.
In an article on BobVilla.com, the famous guru of beautiful homes, noted that a well cultivated landscape can add as much as 20% to the value of your home!
We have seen the bump in resale value firsthand in Sonoma County. This home has a well designed landscape, which turned the back yard into an extension of the home. The mature trees created a veil of privacy, and the professionally done flagstone patio created a sense of opulence.
It seems that the attention paid to the landscaping really paid off for this homeowner. Based on the square-footage and location, the property was expected to list for around $565,000, but the beauty of the outdoor space and extra touches resulted in a sale of $590,000 -- $25,000 more! It seems that while we may not always actively consider landscaping while purchasing a home, the design and manicured elements of the outdoor living space has a great impact on falling in love with a property.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, or any experiences that you may wish to share. Have you had a professional landscaping design installed and seen a difference to your home value when putting your home on the market?