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5 Outdoor Improvements That Can Increase Your Home's Value

With historically low interest rates in place for the foreseeable future and a continued shortage of available housing inventory, if you’ve been thinking about putting your home on the market, there may be no time like the present.

While your home’s value is largely determined by square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and comparable sales in your neighborhood, there are certain steps you can take to help nudge the selling price up a bit. And there’s no better place to start than outside in order to elevate that all important curb appeal. Here are five yard and garden improvements, recommended by Consumer Reports, that can boost your home’s resale value:

Improve your landscaping. A yard that’s overgrown with unruly hedges, crowded trees and rampant weeds and grasses can be an instant turn-off to would-be buyers. Take the time to spruce up your yard by trimming back shrubs and cutting off dying tree branches, paying particular attention to plantings that may be obstructing your ground-floor windows. Add some brightly colored flowers—or succulents if you’re in a drought-prone area—and a layer of dark-brown mulch, then keep the grass mowed and tidy, and you’ll have a landscape that attracts buyers and raises the listing price.

Plant a tree. Don’t underestimate the value of a healthy, mature tree on your property. Even newly planted sapling trees—when well-planted and neatly surrounded by mulch—can attract buyers.

Paint your front door. This simple strategy often has the best return on investment. For the cost of a can of good, semi-gloss paint, you can draw considerably more attention to your home and potentially increase its value. Choose a vibrant color or go with black, which is reported to add thousands of dollars to a home’s selling price! Then frame your new front door with bright annuals or elegant evergreens planted in attractive containers…and don’t forget a fresh, new welcome mat.

Add lighting. Nothing frames your home better than tasteful and strategically placed outdoor lighting… the term even garners more attention in listing descriptions! You can choose from simple solar lights to adorn pathways or garden beds, or have lights professionally installed to showcase your home’s facade or patio area. Great lighting will make your home stand apart and provide a sense of warmth and welcoming.

Update your outdoor living space. These days, as people spend more time at home, decks, patios and porches have become an important extension of our living space. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make sure your outdoor area is enhanced with comfortable, clean furniture, attractive accessories like outdoor rugs, and perhaps even special features like a pergola or firepit. Be sure to take staging into account and add an outdoor table setting, a few magazines and pretty potted plants.

These outdoor home improvements don’t have to cost a lot, but they could pay off in dividends. Talk to a real estate professional to find out which of these strategies might be most effective for the sale of your home.