Curb appeal typically refers to the aesthetic charm of a property as it’s seen from the curb, or from the exterior, though certain internal touches can apply as well. It’s a term notable for home sellers, who are trying to not only get as much money for their property as possible, but also sell their home in a reasonable amount of time. But the term also applies to landlords, who are interested in attracting more tenants to their rental property.
The basic idea is to increase the appeal of the property, especially in the exterior, to help create better first impressions for new potential tenants. This can have a number of beneficial side effects as well, such as increasing the overall appeal of the neighborhood and making tenants feel more pride in their living space.
One of the best tactics you can use here is landscaping—utilizing plants and lawn care to boost the property’s perceived value.
Basic Trimming and Lawn Color
You can start by merely tending to the lawn. On a regular basis, it’s important to cut the grass, and trim the edges of the property line. It doesn’t take long, and can instantly make the property seem under better care. Plus, there are several strategies you can use to make sure your grass grows thicker and greener. For example, you can water deeply and less frequently, to ensure the roots of the grass penetrate deeper, and use fertilizer in the fall and spring to ensure the grass has all the nutrients it needs to thrive. Managing the pH levels can also ensure an adequately healthy green.
Trees, Bushes, and Shrubs
You can also make the property more attractive by planting major additions like trees, shrubs, and bushes. There are countless varieties to choose from here, so make sure you opt for something both attractive and easy to manage. Many types of hedges can frame a house picturesquely, and only require trimming a few times a year. When planting trees, make sure to give them plenty of space, and add mulch to help them stand out on the property.
Flowers are exceptional for boosting the curb appeal of the property because they’re very colorful, and most people find them attractive. Again, you’ll have many choices here, both in terms of the species of flowers you can grow and your options for where to plant them.
For example, you could add space for a flower bed at the front of the home, planting rows of different flowers in the same area, or you could use flowers to frame the edges of the property. Consider your color balance carefully; you don’t want too many different colors competing for the same space, and you’ll want to find colors that complement the color of the home’s exterior.
Vegetables and Herbs
You may also want to add a space to plant vegetables and herbs, which your tenants can use to cook fresh, healthy dinners. They require more attendance, so the value of this addition will vary from tenant to tenant, but it can be a powerful incentive for anyone with a green thumb. Consider adding a raised bed in the backyard of the property (if one exists), or designating a small patch of land for edible plants.
Balcony, Roof, and Porch Space
If your rental property doesn’t have much yard space to work with, or if you don’t have a space for flower beds, don’t worry; you can get creative with how you display plants. For example, if the home has a porch, you could use hanging baskets as a way to display flowers and make the property look more inviting. You can also make use of the roof of the building for a community garden, or a balcony for more herbs and flowers.
Investing in better plant life for your property will grant you several benefits; you’ll be able to fill vacancies faster, your tenants will be happier and more likely to stay around longer, and your neighborhood will improve as well. But are there any downsides to this strategy?
- It takes time to care for your lawn, unless you spend the money to hire a professional landscaper. Depending on the current condition of the property, it can take several hours a week, for many weeks, to get the property in shape for a showing. If you’ve already got your hands full with other areas of landlord responsibility, this could be too much to handle.
- If you choose to hire a landscaper to do everything for you, the costs can escalate quickly. Even if you’re doing all the work yourself, you’ll still need to buy the plants, seeds, fertilizer, water, mulch, and other supplies necessary to get the work done. Still, the money factor isn’t a deal killer, since your work should come with a positive return on investment (ROI).
- Good landscaping work doesn’t last forever; bushes and hedges can get overgrown, flowers can wilt, and vegetables can fall victim to pests. You’ll need to revisit the property and maintain your hard work if you want it to keep looking good. That’s a major investment of time and effort on an ongoing basis that you may not be willing to provide. And if you miss a couple of weeks of maintenance, the property may end up looking worse than it did to begin with.
- Tenant demographics. Not everyone will respond to the presence of plants and beautiful landscaping equally. Some people may have allergies to flowers that makes them actively desire less plant life, and some simply don’t spent much time outdoors. However, the vast majority of potential tenants for your property will appreciate the extra work.
If you’re interested in improving the curb appeal of your property, reducing the duration of your vacancies, and decreasing the number of hours you have to spend managing the property yourself, consider working with a property management firm. Contact Green Residential today to learn more about how we can improve your property’s profitability.