Appraisal Institute: Landscape Projects Provide Return For Homeowners


The Appraisal Institute, a global professional association of real estate appraisers, advises homeowners that improving their property’s landscaping can result in a significant return on investment when selling the home.

Standard lawn care services recover 267% of the project cost at resale, according to the 2018 Modeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR report also revealed that landscape maintenance and tree care recover 100% of the project cost when selling the home, and installing an irrigation system recoups 86% of the cost.

The 2018 NAR report was conducted along with the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). The methodology, as stated in the report, included NAR surveying consumers who had completed outdoor projects and NALP surveyed its member companies. Respondents to the NALP survey were asked to take the following into consideration for residential property: Generally, assume a 2,466-square foot house — the average size according to U.S. Census data. The house is a post 1978-built home with no hidden issues. To ensure the most applicability, projects and materials represent standard or typical quality; a few projects feature ‘better-quality’ materials. But there are no top-of-the-line projects.

NALP respondents were also asked to provide the average cost per square foot and the average cost for completed project for commercial properties based on their experience in the industry.

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Landscape Looks Impact Home Appraisal

“A home with lackluster landscaping or an exterior in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint will likely be unappealing to prospective buyers and ultimately could affect the home’s potential resale value,” said Appraisal Institute 2020 President Jefferson L. Sherman, MAI, AI-GRS. “Appraisers can offer ideas for homeowners to enhance their homes’ landscaping and therefore to potentially boost their sales price.”

The Appraisal Institute encourages homeowners to consider these four simple landscaping improvements. And, these are areas for landscape contractors to keep in mind for your residential customers.

  • Keep the design updated and in line with comparable properties in the area.
  • In arid climates, install landscaping that requires little or no water to maintain.
  • In markets with year-round hot climates, plant trees in a place where they block the sun.
  • Remove weak, old or damaged trees planted too close to a home or building as they could pose dangers to the home’s structure.
    – Larger tree root systems that extend underneath a house can cause foundation uplift and can leach water from the soil beneath the foundation, causing the structure to settle and sink unevenly. They also can compromise an underground drainage system.
    – According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, trees that are too close to buildings also may be fire hazards.

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