Survey Says Sophistication Wins in Real Estate Curb Appeal
Homeowners understand there is a correlation between real estate value and landscaping, although the scale is hazy. To help determine the relevant measures, researchers worked with real estate professionals and journalists to report the findings of a comprehensive survey. Spanning seven states, the survey involved a set of 17 photographs of a home with varying degrees of landscaping. Researchers asked the survey volunteers to rank the elements which included various sizes and types of trees and shrubs, flowering plants, and hardscaping. Finally, the researchers and real estate professionals turned the rankings into a scale of perceived monetary value.
Primary elements included in the landscaping were sizes and types of plants, plant groupings, and coordinated hardscaping such as sidewalks and curved flower bed borders. The layouts ranged from simple, single-element plantings to sophisticated and coordinated presentations incorporating size, shape, and color displays. The study used evergreen and deciduous foundation and specimen plantings, specific percentages of annuals and perennials displaying colored foliage or flowers, and colored brick. This range of curated elements revealed a comprehensive ranking of the perceived value of landscaping. Survey volunteers ranked the order of importance as design sophistication first, plant size second, and plant diversity last. Findings offered solid data, and real estate professionals established numeric values for property appraisals.
The data offered some surprises. In Louisiana, the range in perceived value from least attractive to most attractive landscaping was 5.5 percent. Appraisals in South Carolina put the range at 11.4 percent. Another interesting reveal was that in all seven states, survey takers’ opinions were that simple, minimal plantings detracted from the landscape. Landscaping and the resultant curb appeal plays an important role in real estate valuation, the survey proves. In certain instances, such a subdivision of repetitive home designs or a competitive market, landscaping can tip the scales on a property sale.
Not included in the survey, yet integral to some properties, are non-permanent structures such as privacy fences, gazebos, and wooden storage sheds. Shed design and construction are of particular importance as the shed is an extension of the home. Because the survey found that sophistication matters, a shed should mirror the home in style and building materials. Siding and roofing materials are primary considerations, but architectural design is also important. Therefore, the homeowner should plan ahead when building or acquiring a storage shed for the estate.
Homeowners have options when installing these types of non-permanent structures. They can build from scratch, use kits or prefabricated materials, or hire a contractor. Homeowners or contractors can paint or stain wood to match the home’s exterior and keep a uniform look to the estate. Outbuildings and features should also mimic stone or brickwork in sidewalks and retaining walls. Finally, finishing touches such as flower beds and walkways should tie the elements together.
Curb appeal and property value increase with the addition of elements that add character and charm to the estate. Although installing refined landscaping and custom-designed outbuildings may be substantial expenses, they are also substantial investments.