Lawn care service, landscape maintenance and tree care, and installing an irrigation system produce the most substantial payouts at resale, according to 2018 Remodeling Report: Outdoor Features, a report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). The report examines 13 outdoor residential projects and 10 commercial property projects, highlighting the reasons why property owners complete these projects, the value—both financial and emotional—that these remodels bring, and the increased happiness the finished projects create.
“Realtors® understand that a home’s first impression is its curb appeal, so when it comes time to sell, a well-manicured yard can be just as important as any indoor remodel,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a Realtor® from Columbia, MO and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “Even homeowners with no immediate plans to sell can gain more enjoyment and satisfaction from their home by taking on a project to revive their outdoor spaces.”
When asked which outdoor projects produce the most substantial financial payouts at resale, Realtors® ranked standard lawn care service at the top, which recovers 267 percent of the project cost at resale. Next, Realtors® named landscape maintenance and tree care, both recovering 100 percent of the cost at resale, and installing an irrigation system, recouping 86 percent.
When it comes to the enjoyment homeowners gain from these projects, a fire feature and irrigation system tied for first, both receiving a perfect Joy Score of 10 (Joy Scores range between 1 and 10 and higher figures indicate greater joy from the project). Eighty-three percent of homeowners who installed a fire feature said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project, and 69 percent of homeowners who installed an irrigation system said they feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project. The next most appealing projects were a new wood deck (Joy Score of 9.8), a water feature (9.8), statement landscaping (9.7), and an overall landscape upgrade (9.6).
“This report validates that landscaping is an investment worth making, offering the immediate benefits of increased enjoyment of your property, as well as desirable long-term value that holds if or when it comes time to sell,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president, public affairs, NALP. “From lawn and tree care to installing a new fire or water feature or landscape lighting, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enhance your landscape and to reap the benefits these upgrades provide.”
This year, the report also covered outdoor projects for commercial properties. The report found that 43 percent of Realtors® have suggested a commercial client improve the curb appeal of a property before listing it for sale. The most frequently recommended projects are standard lawn care (39 percent), completing a landscape management service (27 percent), and an overall landscape upgrade (26 percent).
“It is not just homeowners that need to think about curb appeal when it comes time to sell; a beautiful exterior is just as important for commercial property owners. In fact, 81 percent of Realtors® said they believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer,” said Mendenhall.