Could Your Listing’s Landscape Be Too Perfect?

September 11, 2019

There’s a such thing as having your curb appeal that appears too good. It could even scare off some buyers.

“I see many home buyers looking for yards that don’t require a lot of maintenance,” Monica Kemp, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and a staging professional in Leesburg, Va., told realtor.com®. “It can be generational—a lot of younger, first-time buyers don’t want to be home all day gardening or dealing with the lawn.”

A large landscape filled with perfectly manicured, abundant flower beds may appear as too much work with upkeep for some potential home shoppers.

“A beautiful garden is more of a benefit to sellers than a deterrent, but there’s definitely a percentage of buyers in the marketplace that don’t feel comfortable with that amount of landscaping,” Andrea Duane, a real estate pros with Coldwell Banker in El Dorado Hills, Calif., told realtor.com®. “It may feel daunting because they’ve never owned a home before or they just don’t have a green thumb.”

That’s why some real estate and staging pros are recommending that sellers tout in the marketing if they have an in-ground irrigation system or easy-to-care plants in their landscape. Also, they may recommend homeowners declutter involved landscapes prior to putting their home up for sale. Divide overgrown plants, scale back plants that require a lot of care (move them to pots to take with you), and watch what type of plants you add. Perennial plants that grow back year after year can be a great selling point in a landscape, Kemp says. On the other hand, annuals—which may be more colorful—only last a year. Some buyers may view them as high-maintenance to maintain in a landscape.

“Annuals can really make your house look nice, but I wouldn't do an entire yardful—maybe just along your walkways, with some planters on your front stoop, or by the slider doors on your back deck, just for pops of color,” Kemp says.

For sellers with involved landscapes, they may want to leave some notes to the new owners on how to most efficiently care for it. Sellers also may want to draw up a garden plan so buyers can see the plant varieties and what times of year they tend to blossom, Kemp says. Include the names of flowers and seasonal care tips.