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FEATURED | March 29, 2019


What can you do to add value to your home, make it more attractive to buyers, and increase your enjoyment while you live there?  Hardscaping!  The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) teamed up to research and create the 2018 Remodeling Impact Report:  Outdoor Features.  In it, they explore the outdoor residential features that are most likely to add value to a home and those that are most attractive to buyers.  Put them together, and you can set your priorities for your spring (summer, fall) outdoor projects.


What’s Hardscaping?  Landscaping generally relates to the living things (plants, shrubs, trees, grass) and the terrain (berms, flowerbeds, changes in elevation) in your yard.  Hardscaping is a part of the landscape but refers to created features like fences, decks, lighting, and fire pits.  A hardscape could be a gravel path or an outdoor kitchen.  It might be as simple as a small wooden deck or as elaborate as a brick pizza oven near an Italian fountain with a lighted pergola and seating for 10.  Your limits are your imagination, the available space, the style of your property, and, as always, your budget.


Deck It!  Or patio it.  Decks and patios are two of the top hardscape projects, both for buyer appeal and value added to the property.  Who doesn’t want a dedicated outdoor space for grilling, sitting, eating, entertaining and just plain hanging out?  Add a shade structure to make those hot days more pleasant, and maybe a fire pit for cooler evenings.  S’mores optional.


Light Up The Night.  Dramatic or subtle, lighting will add a new dimension to your nightlife outdoors.  You can use it to safely guide guests on a path, or make trees and shrubs into works of art.  Consider solar powered lighting to save energy, and motion-sensor lights for both security and power savings.  Be considerate of your neighbors, and don’t forget to shield your lights to protect our dark skies.  Stars are the original (and best) night-lights.


Watering Made Easy.  An irrigation system makes it simple for you to water your lawn, vegetable beds, and containers.  You can opt for an extensive underground system or a DIY drip layout.  Timers will keep your watering on a regular schedule, but be sure to override them if you have plenty of rain.  If you live in an area where it freezes in winter, you will probably need to drain/disconnect the system to avoid broken pipes and leaky faucets.  If you’re considering an underground installation, it’s crucial to work with a reputable contractor who understands your climate and your landscape.


To Pool Or Not To Pool.  Adding a pool may be more trouble than it’s worth, and you are unlikely to recoup the cost when you sell.  However, there are some parts of the country, and some neighborhoods, where pools are an expected feature and your home’s resale value might be lower if you don’t have one.  Do your research so you understand all of the costs beyond the pool construction (such as maintenance, insurance, fencing, water) and talk to a trusted Realtor® to see how a pool fits with your area.  If you just have to have one, enjoy every cool dip and fun splash.  That will be reward enough.


Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?  Poet Robert Frost thought not, but the neighbor in the famous poem “Mending Wall” was in favor of fences.  Your answer probably depends on what’s on either side of the fence.  You may need to keep kids and dogs safely separated.  You may want privacy for your hot tub, or prefer to shield your view of your neighbor’s backyard “art.”  Make sure you follow any neighborhood or municipal rules, and consider your neighbors’ views, too.  They might be happy to share some of the cost to achieve a good-looking fence on their side, too.  That could make very good neighbors, and a happy home for you.

We have closed on 2 other houses in NJ and these loans were with renowned well established banks; however First Choice exceeded every expectation through out the loan process. The team is knowledgeable, provided personal service (not answering to a robot). They were on top of things and helped secure a loan in record time. -Ashwini D. | Marlboro, NJ | 1.24.2018
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