Maximizing the resale value of your home with strategic landscaping.

Last week we talked about strategic renovations to maximize the value of your home, this week we're going to talk about strategic landscaping...

When planning renovations, don't overlook the value of your yard. Nothing adds more immediate curb appeal than attractive landscaping. Choosing the right plan will definitely make your home more salable. But even if you're not planning to sell anytime soon, you can enjoy the benefits of enhanced landscaping and be confident they have lasting value - according to a recent SmartMoney article, the right landscaping can add up to 15% to a home's value.

Here are some landscaping strategies that offer the highest return:

* Concentrate on the entryway of your house - that's what buyers see first. Replace worn-out stairways with decorative concrete blocks. Make it staggered or curved for extra impact, and edge it with raised planters. Continue the raised planters along the front of your home to enhance drainage and tie the landscaping into the architecture.

* Xeriscaping your yard - a style of landscaping that requires little irrigation or maintenance - is inexpensive to do, saves ongoing costs and appeals to today's time-squeezed buyers.

* Adding a deck is an inexpensive way to increase the apparent floor space of your home. Make outdoor and indoor space blend seamlessly by using French doors and indoor-style light fixtures and furnishings. The deck shouldn't be more than one-third of the square footage of your home's main floor.

* Replace hard-to-maintain slopes in your yard with terraces that feature plantings or mini patios with furniture.

* Add lush vegetation, but don't go overboard. Everyone - including you! - enjoys green, leafy surroundings. But few buyers - including you! - like high-maintenance gardens. Choose hardy perennials and shrubs, and use ground cover planting to reduce weeding and watering.

To cover the cost of a strategic landscaping investment, talk to me today. Chances are you already have enough equity in your home to pay for everything - and with today's low mortgage rates, you'll probably end up with lower mortgage payments too!

Your trusted mortgage advisor,

Jeff Kerwin


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