Hello, Lori – We need your help! We’re flipping a house and ended up going a couple of thousand dollars over budget due to some unforeseen repairs. We refinished the hardwood floors, painted the kitchen cabinets and added granite countertops, completely remodeled both bathrooms, and everything got a fresh coat of paint. So now that it’s spring, we’re finally tackling the exterior. Everything’s been power-washed and painted, and we removed all the overgrown arborvitae and out-of-control shrubs. That in itself was a huge improvement, but in my opinion, it looks very bare now. There are literally no plants or shrubs or anything around the exterior of the house except a small patch of daylilies out back. My partners don’t want to spend anymore money and think it’s best to leave it as-is. They say it’s better to let the buyers decide how they want it landscaped. I think we should add some edging, shrubs, and mulch. What do you think? Should we just hang up our wheelbarrow and call it a day?
The Missouri Flippers
Dear Flippers – Sounds like you’ve done a great job turning things around. That is awesome! But I’m going to have to agree that you shouldn’t stop there. The landscaping would truly be the icing-on-the-cake! You should never underestimate the value that a little added curb appeal brings to the table. If you think it looks bare, potential buyers will likely feel the same. I would definitely finish it off. After all, there’s a reason you finished the interior so nicely and didn’t leave that task to potential buyers! Most buyers prefer ‘move-in-ready’, and that goes for the landscape, too.
If you’re short on funds, you can try to find some free landscaping materials. Check out craigslist.org. This time of year, a lot of people start getting ready for home improvements and will often post ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ rocks or bricks for edging if you’re willing to haul it away. Likewise, you can check out your local municipality for some free mulch. While you do need to be careful about the mulch you find there…IMHO, it’s not always as attractive as the store bought stuff and might contain some weed seed…sometimes, you get lucky.
As far as the plantings go, a couple of mid-size shrubs…I wouldn’t go with ‘starter’ shrubs, as they are typically pretty small and won’t have the same impact…and some perennial filler plants should do the trick. You could also ‘shop’ your own yards for some of those plants. Personally, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to divide my Sedum, Hosta, and Salvia over the years!
In the end, I think it would serve you well to invest in some exterior landscaping. There is nothing more attractive to potential buyers than a house that feels nicely finished, both inside and out! Hope this helps and wishing you all the best.
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