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Could a Listing’s Landscape Be Too Perfect?

Many homebuyers appreciate a gorgeous yard filled with plants and gardens – but they don’t want to own it. For them, “low-maintenance” is more important.

CHICAGO – Is there such as thing as too much curb appeal? There could be if it scares off buyers.

“I see many homebuyers looking for yards that don’t require a lot of maintenance,” says Monica Kemp, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Leesburg, Va. “It can be generational – a lot of younger, first-time buyers don’t want to be home all day gardening or dealing with the lawn.”

A large landscape filled with perfectly manicured, abundant flower beds may appear as too much work to keep it that way for some potential home shoppers.

“A beautiful garden is more of a benefit to sellers than a deterrent, but there’s definitely a percentage of buyers in the marketplace that don’t feel comfortable with that amount of landscaping,” says Andrea Duane, a real estate pros with Coldwell Banker in El Dorado Hills, Calif. “It may feel daunting because they’ve never owned a home before, or they just don’t have a green thumb.”

That’s why some real estate and staging pros recommend that sellers tout an in-ground irrigation system or easy-to-care plants in their landscape when marketing. And if they think a seller’s expansive garden could deter many buyers, they can also recommend that sellers declutter involved landscapes prior to putting their home up for sale. De-cluttering a yard can be done by dividing overgrown plants, scaling back plants that require a lot of care (move them to pots to take with you), and watch the type of plants they add.

Perennial plants that grow back year after year can be a great selling point in a landscape, Kemp says. Annuals – which may be more colorful – only last a year. Some buyers may view them as high-maintenance to maintain in a landscape.

“Annuals can really make your house look nice, but I wouldn’t do an entire yard full – maybe just along your walkways, with some planters on your front stoop, or by the slider doors on your back deck, just for pops of color,” Kemp says.

Sellers with involved landscapes may want to leave some notes to the new owners on how to most efficiently care for it. Sellers also may want to draw up a garden plan so buyers can see the plant varieties and what times of year they tend to blossom, Kemp says. Include the names of flowers and seasonal care tips.

Source: “Will They Dig It? How to Keep Your Oh-So-Perfect Landscape from Scaring Off Buyers,”® (Sept. 11, 2019)

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