Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to Sell Your Home: Interview with Landscape Designer Chris Cipriano

As I mentioned in my last past, I am writing a book on how to sell your home in this market and have been interviewing industry experts. The following is my interview with Landscape Designer Chris Cipriano.

1. What are the most popular features you install for your clients?

Installing urns loaded with flowers and custom fountains are incredibly popular and a great way to increase your home’s sales appeal. For those on the more creative side, installing an outdoor kitchen is a great way to differentiate your home and make it more unique to buyers. In terms of adding value, renovating an out of date swimming pool will provide favorable return on investment.

2. What are the most important features a homeowner can add to their property to add value?

It is incredibly important to have a professionally tuned outdoor landscape. Creating a natural and comfortable outdoor setting by adding the right combination of shrubs, trees, flowers and natural stone is certain to add value and an essential element of selling the home.

3. What are the biggest mistakes people do to detract value?

The biggest mistake people make is ignoring the outdoors. Too often, homeowners that want to sell their homes focus all their time, energy and money on fixing up and staging the indoors of the house. A poor outdoor landscape will negatively influence potential buyers before they even enter the home, thus detracting from the home’s value and appeal.

4. Describe the features that would give a home good “curb appeal.”

Curb appeal is essential. The view from the street is the first, last and most important impression on all potential buyers. If a home does not have curb appeal, potential buyers will drive right by without stopping to take a second look.

If you want loads of curb appeal, great layering of plants, trees and flowers is essential. Use groups of the same plant types to create a natural look, and be sure to install an abundance of color. Color sells!

5. When dealing on a budget, what elements on the property are the must-do’s to sell a home?

For those staging their outdoors on a budget, it is often just as important what they take away from their property as opposed to what they add. Make sure that all old equipment, tools and clutter are put away and that everything looks professional. Mow the lawn professionally and remove weeds and debris.

Pressure wash porches, decks and the siding to create a clean look for the buyer. Spruce up the gardens by adding a variety of color and install a few hanging plants to the front porch. It is also affordable, and incredibly beneficial, to fix up the front walk or install a new pathway leading to the front door.

Finally, install outdoor lighting that reveals your home’s most favorable characteristics, even in the dark. Remember, most people go house shopping after work when it is dark out. If they can’t see the home, they will pass it right by.

6. Describe a dream landscaped property.

A dream landscaped property would have all the latest features: a custom pool and fountain, a nice porch or deck, an outdoor kitchen, an entertainment area and a great assortment of shrubs, stones, greens, trees and flowers. It will look well thought out and natural at the same time.

7. Do you see any changes with what people want over the past 5 years?

Recently, homeowners have begun to look for more unique elements to add to their outdoors like kitchens, entertainment areas, cabanas, fountains and spas. With the down economy, more people are “staycationing” (staying at home instead of going on vacation). As a result, they try to create a vacation-like resort in their own backyards.

8. Are people spending the same, more or less (adjusted for inflation) than they were 5 years ago?

In general, homeowners are looking for value and prioritizing spending on luxury landscaping as compared to five years ago.

Due to the challenges in the real estate market, people are prioritizing curb appeal and spending more money on home staging services.

9. Are people interested in “green landscaping?”

Yes. A great new “green landscaping” technology are rain gardens.

The rain garden reduces rain runoff by filtering storm water and allowing it to soak into the ground as opposed to the tradition method of allowing it to flow into storm drains or seepage pits. By absorbing and filtering the water, rain gardens significantly reduce the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams.

10. Is there anything else you would like to add

When performed correctly, staging the outdoors will increase the value of your home and help it sell quicker on the open market. To ensure ROI, consider investing in a certified landscape architect’s home staging services.

I also happen to be a passionate gardener and my husband and I have been working on our property for several years. Here are some photographs:Property.


Chris Cipriano
Cipriano Landscape Design
43 Spring St
Ramsey, NJ 07446
Phone: 201-785-0800

1 comment:

Gita said...

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Available in stores spring 2009. $19.95 or from
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