RE: “Thinking Outside the Box” article

Well, it’s about time someone in the real estate business published an article on how important the “Outside” of a home adds to the sellability of a home. I have been preaching this for years to most of my panicky clients. Most people these days aren’t looking for a newly remodeled interior. There is a huge difference in your taste from a potential “certain neighborhood” type of buyer. Things they are going to change themselves after buying, to suit them. However, the outside of a well maintained, simply crafted, maintenance free exterior, sells the home faster. So many folks now, are wanting the outside to already be done, a place to go out and relax after work. They want their friends who come the first time to have that, “WOW”, attitude when they first pull up in the driveway. Then the interior tour of, “This is what we are going to do in here”. I don’t get many people asking for my services, to replant in a newly acquired home, but a ton who want to balance or totally refurbish it, because they just don’t get what the previous owner was trying, (or not trying) to do. Ever watch “Malcolm in the Middle”? Ever see the front yard? Would you even stop, if a for sale sign was in the yard? Don’t think so. But if it was a soothing, inviting, maintained front yard, you would. Then going inside, your mindset on the entry is already in the ,”OK, let’s see what we would do in here” attitude, no matter what it looked like. You’re gonna tear out a wall somewhere anyway, or add a something right here…

Most of my calls, are for late season, put the fire out calls. This is dying, whats this thing, I don’t understand how this water garden works, can I eat this… I actually have to turn down people because it gets so busy, and I don’t like that.

That’s why I am glad that article hit the Richmond Times Dispatch this week. I am starting early this year, like now. I have even gotten into balcony gardens for apartment and townhouse folks. Small, compact, vertical gardens that they thought impossible.  Years ago, when I was in full go with my water garden business, realtors were giving me as a gift to their clients, both selling and buying. $80.00 well spent for two hours of actual fun. We discussed live goods both interior and exterior, irrigation system timing, water feature systems, garden beds and potted plants. Everything from maintenance of current to what they might want to add later, and when. Feeding, pruning, Maintenance. As they learn, after a few visits, they don’t need me anymore, I am happy, because they get it. I don’t do the work, I put their exterior life into perspective. If they want to add a patio, build a raised veggie garden, create an edible landscape, or just want to know how and when, we go through it all. Some of these people still just want to give me a holler seasonally, just to make sure.

It just makes good sense, to educate people these days, considering the media has to set general timing to fertilize, for example. We are in Richmond, Va., zone 7A, we don’t fall under most commercials, some things die when it’s fed at the wrong time here..

I am certified thru the Univ. of Ga. as a Horticultural Specialist, member of the Va. Lakes and Watershed Management Assoc., Chesapeake Bay Club at Solomons Island, Maryland, and VNLA. I participate in the Maymont Educational Branch when invited, and have taught “Grandparent Gardening” lectures for Gray Matters continuing adult education forums through Boomer Magazine. I love talking gardening “Outside the Box”.

Realtors should get in tune with the “after market” of the sale of a home, not forget the client. I would bet that there is a huge percentage of new buyers, that drastically changed something inside the home, that the seller spent money on to impress. Seller should have fixed the exterior, instead, and asked for more.