A real estate agent friend calls the week of Passover and Easter the “calm before the storm” that is the spring home buying market. If you are out on the open house circuit, keep your eye open for these common landscaping liabilities:
Drainage problems – Bare soil around the downspouts or foundation of the house, or soil that slopes in toward the walls of the house maybe warnings of a wet basement.
A lush lawn in the shade – Laying down new sod before putting the house on the market can be a wise investment for sellers, but buyers beware: Sod in the shade will need to be replaced or overseeded with more shade tolerant seed if it is going to look that good next year!
Hazard trees – Large trees with a significant amount of dead branches or those over hanging roofs and driveways may require expensive pruning or removal. If there are hemlocks, white birches, or other disease-prone trees on the property, inquire whether they are being treated so that you have and idea of the maintenance costs you’re signing up for.
A swimming pool – Because of liability and maintenance, pools can make resale so difficult that some homeowners end up filling them in. Only buy a house with a pool if it is a feature that you will use and enjoy.
The fixer upper – Buying a house with a yard that needs some work can be a great opportunity. Families often move because of life changes like expanding for a new baby or downsizing for retirement. You may want to reconfigure your new yard to suit your family’s needs — add a play set or reduce the lawn that needs mowing. As a general rule, plan to set aside approximately 1/10th of the property’s value for a full redesign that is in keeping with the size of the house and the character of the neighborhood.
Whether you’re buying a new home and want to be sure of what your are committing to, or selling a home and looking to increase curb appeal, consult a trusted landscape contractor to keep the yard from becoming a liability.