By Sandra Godwin
A healthy well-maintained lawn is essential for getting the best price, because vendors “never get a second chance to make a good first impression” on potential home buyers.
That is the advice from celebrity agent and auctioneer Damien Cooley, who will be familiar to regular viewers of popular Nine Network television series The Block.
Damien said the appeal of a residential property depended not only on price and marketing, but on how it made potential buyers feel.
“A family buyer buying a nice home in a good street buys on lifestyle and emotion,” he said. “Grass makes people feel good. Buyers can picture their kids playing on the lawn, family barbecues, slip and slides, Christmas lunches and more.”
Conversely, an overgrown or patchy yard could reflect underlying issues with the property.
“Does (a good lawn) add $100,000 in value? I highly doubt that, but anything to improve the way a buyer feels about a home is a good thing,” Damien said.
He was referring to a recent survey by Hort Innovation, which found 93 per cent of real estate agents recommended vendors improve their lawn before going to market.
According to the Survey, lawn was the most popular surface for family buyers (63 per cent), over decking (21 per cent), synthetic turf (7 per cent), paving (5 per cent) and concrete (3 per cent).
In a media release, Hort Innovation said about 40 per cent of the agents surveyed thought a nicely presented lawn could boost the value of a home by more than 20 per cent, and almost a quarter said it could add more than 30 per cent.
“Grass makes people feel good. Buyers can picture their kids playing on the lawn, family barbecues, slip and slides, Christmas lunches and more.”
Based on a national median house price of $550,000, that equates to an extra $110,000-$165,000.
LJ Hooker Palm Beach Principal, David Edwards said it was a different story at the top end of the market where properties with an attractive, level area of lawn could fetch double the price of a similar home perched on a hillside across the street.
David gave the example of Iluka Road on Sydney’s northern beaches, which has mostly very small 500-650 square metre waterfront blocks that typically sell for $8-$12 million.
Across the road and up the hill on a block with no lawn, the price falls to about $2 million.
“They’re looking at the same piece of water,” he said.
“But what the (more expensive properties) all have is level lawn to the beach.
“Our demographics are changing. People are living longer, they’ve got bad knees, bad hips and the extended family is getting larger and larger because people are living longer.
“So, you’ve got different generations and, once you talk level lawns, you’re talking about universal appeal. You’re talking about 100 per cent utility value to all types of property owners. It’s a very common theme.”
David said the Nation’s love affair with lawns was a hangover from the post-war era when many Australians aspired to own a house on a quarter-acre block, with space for backyard cricket, a Hills Hoist and a paling fence.
David gave the example of Iluka Road on Sydney’s northern beaches … Across the road and up the hill on a block with no lawn, the price falls to about $2 million.
“You can’t play cricket on the side of a hill,” he said.
Leifield Real Estate Founder, Owen Davis specialises in the investment property market and leasing and management of residential and commercial properties in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
Owen agreed that a well-maintained front lawn made a house more appealing but said it would be too difficult to quantify its impact on a property’s value.
Investors usually looked for a garden that was low maintenance and hardy, because tenants generally weren’t as meticulous as an owner occupier at looking after lawns.
“But it’s still best to have a healthy well-maintained lawn for resale purposes,” Owen said.
“You want to be able to appeal to the broader market, which would include owner occupiers, to get a quick sale and the best price possible.”