"Realtors understand the importance of curb appeal because when it is time to sell, a home's exterior is its first impression to potential buyers," says NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. "Realtors also know that these projects – from flowerbeds to fire pits – can bring homeowners who have no plans to sell even more enjoyment and satisfaction in their home."
The report analyzes the reasons homeowners complete outdoor remodeling projects and the value of those projects, both financially and emotionally. Overall, lawn maintenance provides the most bang for the buck at the time of resale. Realtors ranked seeding lawn highest, recovering 417 percent of the project cost at resale. The project includes implementation of a standard lawn care program (303 percent of cost recovered) and updating landscaping with sod lawn (143 percent recovered).
When it comes to a homeowner's enjoyment gain from projects, a new pool comes in at number one, receiving a perfect Joy Score of 10. (Joy Scores range from 1 to 10, with higher figures indicating greater joy from a project.)
Ninety-five percent of homeowners who completed a pool project said they have a greater desire to be at home; 90 percent felt a major sense of accomplishment; and 80 percent have an increased sense of enjoyment at home. However, Realtors estimate that homeowners only recoup 50 percent of the cost of pool construction on resale, making it one of the least profitable projects in the report.
The next most appealing project is an overall landscape upgrade (Joy Score of 9.8) followed by a new wood deck (Joy Score of 9.7). When asked why homeowners took on these projects, the most common response was to add features to their home and improve livability.
"Homeowners looking to take on large, expensive outdoor projects should do so for themselves, for the enjoyment they and their family will gain from the finished results, and not only to improve the value of their home for when they sell," says Salomone. "Smaller projects will bring potential sellers the most value back upon resale – and have the benefit of costing less up front."
"This report validates that outdoor remodeling and landscaping improvements are a necessity when it comes to improving your home's resale value," adds Missy Henriksen, vice president, public affairs, NALP.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals is the trade association for the landscape industry, which employs nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals.
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