Kudzu consumed this house in North Carolina

Few things stir the emotions of a person who is hunting for a home than the first impression upon approaching a house, an apartment, or any other dwelling.

If it feels like home, there is a much greater chance of that person buying or renting the property.

But what makes the difference? There are many factors, some you can control, and some you can’t — like the proximity to a run-down neighborhood or busy road nearby.

What can be addressed? The easy things are a well maintained exterior — no peeling paint — and a pleasing paint color;  a roof in good condition; grass mowed to an even height; and overall neat landscaping.

When it comes to landscaping, however, tastes vary and that can make the difference for some buyers, no matter how good your yard looks. Some prefer xeriscaping that requires little to no water or weeding. Some prefer the grass to be greener than any neighbor in the vicinity. Some prefer the landscaping be managed by someone else altogether.

While you can’t do anything about someone who wants lush green and you’ve got a xeriscaped yard, you can improve some conditions. For example, you can trim trees that are dead or dying. You can trim overgrown bushes, or remove weeds or vines that are obscuring the home..

Imagine the home that is barely visible because of an overgrown tree or bush or a vine that has obscured even the front door. I’ve seen it happen. In North Carolina, a house was completely consumed by kudzu (see photo). It makes it difficult to photograph and it makes a poor first impression. You don’t want prospective buyers to be thinking of ghosts or creepy critters as they approach your home.

Good landscaping makes a difference. Sometimes thousands of dollars worth. I knew an investor who bought a home in need of some relatively minor repairs. As part of his work, he removed the trees that were blocking the view of the house from the street, added back some simple landscaping and grass, and drew attention to the refurbished house long before it was ready for sale. That investor’s attention to detail paid off. He sold the house at a handsome profit.

It doesn’t always take big things to make a big difference. Consider adding a small pot of flowers for color at the entryway. Touch up minor paint issues, especially near the front door. Remove any weeds or spider webs. Take out overgrown weeds. Remove any old toys or gardening equipment or other clutter in your front yard.

It usually doesn’t take much to add a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to your home’s value and if you do it now, you can enjoy it too.

I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below and let me know one thing you think you could do this week to improve your home’s curb appeal, and value.

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