74% Of Real Estate Agents Say The Outdoor Look Of A Home Can Prevent Buyers From Even Touring

While the list of projects to complete inside a house when getting ready to sell is long enough, you shouldn't forget to invest time in the outdoors. Even with today's rising interest rates, low inventory is driving the seller's market in certain communities, and with spring and summer being the most active season for buyers, there will be major attention on the landscaping. Trees.com surveyed 1,000 real estate agents in March of 2023 to assess how much a house's outdoor setting affects its market value and interest from buyers.

Out of the large group of professional respondents, 90% were in agreement that exterior features significantly impact a house's merit, with 30% saying they can increase overall value by 20% or more. On the flip side, 90% also said a deteriorating landscape hurts market value by the same percentage or even more. Along with these eye-opening statistics, a staggering 74% of agents reported having clients pass on a home without so much as a tour because of the outside presentation.

Landscaping that's driving away potential buyers

The Trees.com survey further outlines the drastic effect that landscaping mistakes have on a buyer's impression, with data showing that 78% of the agents agreed bad landscaping decreases property value by 10%, and some believing it hurts by up to 30%. With the majority of respondents accounting for clients dismissing properties based entirely upon the outside areas, sellers might wonder what exteriors are pushing buyers away before they even make it into the house. "One of the most important aspects of landscaping when it comes to home value is curb appeal," notes realtor Carin Miller of Charlotte, N.C. "When a buyer first pulls up to a property, their first impression will be heavily influenced by the appearance of the yard and landscaping. A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed hedges, and colorful flowers can all create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere that sets the tone for the rest of the viewing experience."

Unkept grass, invasive weeds, dead leaves, and large overhanging tree limbs are all qualities that have the potential to discourage buyers. You don't need to set aside a large budget to hire a professional landscaping crew; you just need to keep your lawn tidy. Other issues to consider include rusted or broken fencing, stair railings with chipped paint or tarnished metal, and giving your driveway and house a decent power wash. 

Transforming your property's outdoors

While you can eliminate factors derailing buyers, you can also make conscious decisions to lure them in. Michael Rhoads, president of Rhoads Home Buyers, advises sellers, saying, "There are several important landscaping elements that can enhance the beauty and value of a property. Great landscaping involves a well-designed layout, proper maintenance, and high-quality materials (per Trees.com)." The survey indicates that trees, flowers, and other plants impact buyer impressions most. Out of the 1,000 respondents, 78% said plants have some of the highest importance, and 77% said the same for trees and flowers. Other essential elements voted on were walkways (72%), fencing (70%), hedges (70%), and mulch (68%).

You may also want to consider the hardscaping your home offers, such as decks and patios. Other attractions include outdoor lighting, swings or arbors, and water features like ponds and fountains. As you head to your nearest home and garden store, be sure to pick up some live house plants while you're at it. The report showed real estate agents expressing the significance of live plants on house staging, with 9 out of 10 saying it'll help a house sell up to 40% faster.