The housing downturn has many builders, real estate agents, and home sellers paying close attention to landscaping as a way to generate buyer interest and boost sales prices.
Research by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® says landscaping is "very important" to almost 20 percent of buyers. Plus, University of Washington-Seattle researcher Kathleen Wolf says landscaped lots sell for about 7 percent more.
The exact amount depends on location. For example, Palm Beach, Fla.-based real estate agent Nancy Macaluso notes that palm trees and flowers can boost a home's price by 10 percent to 15 percent in comparison to the sales prices of properties without such landscaping.
However, most appraisers and tax assessors do not include landscaping in their valuations; and there are no standards governing how arborists and landscape experts calculate a plant's value.
Still, home owners are shelling out hundreds of dollars for yard appraisals as part of their marketing strategies, and builders are expanding their landscaping budgets.
Experts say sellers would be wise to maintain their yards, as unkempt trees and shrubs can conceal views that have the potential to boost sales prices by tens of thousands of dollars.