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Don’t do it! DIY projects that devalue your home

backyard landscaping

So you’re planning to sell your house. After all those HGTV shows you’ve watched, you’re convinced that you need to do some landscaping so you can sell your home for a better price. But before you start digging up your garden, make sure your landscaping project doesn’t result in devaluing your home.

Here are some projects many real estate professionals and home improvement experts file under “Don’t do it!”

  1. Going overboard on landscaping
    It’s one thing to have a nice lawn and a few flowers here and there because it makes your home look pleasant and inviting, but going over the top with topiaries and high maintenance plants and landscaping is usually a turn-off. Possible buyers may find it a bit much to maintain and end up looking elsewhere.
  2. Introducing ”dangerous” flora into your garden
    While “dangerous” plants won’t devalue your home, they’re a hassle. For example, bamboo and fountain grasses are great to look at but they have drawbacks. Bamboo propagates quite easily, which makes it difficult to maintain. Mexican feather grass is a fire hazard and considered an invasive species in some states. Choose alternatives like blue grama grass or prairie dropseed for equally beautiful yet safer ornamental grasses.
  3. Neglecting your fence
    If your landscaping looks great but your fence looks a bit worse for the wear, buyers will immediately notice the disconnect. Draw out the best features of your gate or fence for instant curb appeal. Paint a picket fence white to evoke traditional charm. Sand down rust from gates, replace or oil squeaky hinges, and repaint. A fence that’s functional and aesthetically pleasing can make a good impression on a potential buyer.
  4. Planting without a color palette in mind
    Imagine your garden as your canvas; harmoniously blend the colors of your plants and flowers so they’re a joy to behold. To achieve this, you need to plan. Otherwise, you may end up with discordant hues that prove to be more distracting than anything else – and if you’re going for curb appeal, that’s not the way to go.
  5. Building a pool
    This isn’t an outright negative but there are some caveats if you’re thinking of adding a pool on your property. If you live in an upscale neighborhood where pools are commonplace, building a swimming pool might be a good idea. Nix the idea if adding a pool will price your home out of comparable properties in your neighborhood. Bear in mind that pools can add onto your annual real estate taxes without necessarily improving the price you can sell your home for.

Keep the price of your home competitive by avoiding the so-called improvements listed above. The truth is, when it comes to home renovations for selling, it seems like the rule of thumb is to just keep it simple – good quality, but simple: like planting easy-to-maintain yet beautiful plants, mowing the lawn, adding exterior lighting, and painting the walls. Upgrades like pools and high-maintenance landscaping can drive the price up and scare away buyers. All you really need to sell for a good price is a clean, safe, updated, and inviting house.

If you’re thinking of moving to New Jersey, contact the Top 1% of agents ranked among New Jersey Multiple Listing Service (NJMLS). Call Stacy Esser and her associates at 917.621.6794. Or email stacy(at)stacyesser(dotted)com.