Report: Outside Remodeling Projects Pay Off

May 24, 2018

Tackling a project to spruce up a property’s outside may be a wise investment for both residential and commercial property owners, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ and National Association of Landscape Professionals’ 2018 Remodeling Report: Outdoor Features. The outdoors doesn't require a major overhaul to see a strong return either financially or in homeowner enjoyment. 

The outdoor project that produces the most substantial financial payout at resale is standard lawn care service. That alone recovers 267 percent of the project cost at resale, according to the report, which analyzed 13 outdoor residential projects and 10 commercial projects, based on REALTORS® responses of value. Landscape maintenance and tree care, both of which recovered 100 percent of the cost at resale, are also among the highest payback outdoor projects. Installing an irrigation system recouped 86 percent of the cost, according to the report.

“REALTORS® understand that a home’s first impression is its curb appeal, so when it comes time to sell, a well-manicured yard can be just as important as any indoor remodel,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “Even homeowners with no immediate plans to sell can gain more enjoyment and satisfaction from their home by taking on a project to revive their outdoor spaces.” 

As for which outdoor projects can bring the most enjoyment to homeowners, a fire feature and irrigation system tied for first place in the survey. Eighty-three percent of homeowners who installed a fire feature said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project, and 69 percent of homeowners who installed an irrigation system said they feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project. Other appealing projects included: a new wood deck, a water feature, statement landscaping, and an overall landscaping upgrade. 

“This report validates that landscaping is an investment worth making, offering the immediate benefits of increased enjoyment of your property, as well as desirable long-term value that holds if or when it comes time to sell,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at NALP. “From lawn and tree care to installing a new fire or water feature or landscape lighting, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enhance your landscape and to reap the benefits these upgrades provide.”

Further, 43 percent of REALTORS® surveyed said they suggested that a commercial client improve the curb appeal of a property before listing it for sale. The most frequently recommended projects were for standard lawn care, completing a landscape management service, and an overall landscape upgrade. 

“It is not just homeowners that need to think about curb appeal when it comes time to sell; a beautiful exterior is just as important for commercial property owners,” says Mendenhall. “In fact, 81 percent of REALTORS® said they believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer.”