Trees Up Home Prices

From B&B; The Official Publication of the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association: October 2007, Vol 59. No. 10.

Many real estate agents find that landscaping with mature trees and bushes can have a significant effect on a home’s asking price.

As homeowners search for ways to raise asking prices, many are looking to landscaping. Real estate agents say good landscaping does have an effect on the asking price of a home, depending on the region and the condition of the neighbors’ yards. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that several real estate agents in different parts of the country attest to the financial benefits of landscaping towards home prices. For instance, homes in Palm Beach County, Fla. with colorful flowers and tall palms sell for approximately 10 to 15 percent more than those without the features, according to agent Nancy Maculuso. Bill Good, a broker in Colorado Springs, Colo., said that a home which had previously languished on the market at $1.175 million sold for $1.225 million with newly planted bushes and fresh sod.

There is no one single way to calculate a trees’ worth, however, some appraisers simply count the number of trees and plants on the property. Others do not consider the value of landscaping at all, unless it is either extremely superior or inferior. One appraiser calculates the value of landscaping per neighborhood, and then applies that number to each house, so that every house in the neighborhood would receive the same value despite the individual landscaping. Others use size, trunk diameter and condition to determine the value of the planting, or the cost of what it would be to replace it. Landscape Appraisers, a three-year-old horticultural asset management of Raleigh, N.C. has found that appraising plants in terms of their value in five years seems to be an accurate means of assessment. Many agree that “aged” landscaping is what is preferred, as mature trees and bushes can give homes the edge of a more settled or sophisticated look. A mature tree can mean a lot to homeowners, and even help with energy costs by providing shade from the sun and blockage from the wind. However there can be some downsides to mature landscaping, such as trees too close to power wires or at risk of falling in storm. These risks must also be factored into landscaping appraisal.

Source: Wall Street Journal & LandscapeOnline.com

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