Attractive landscaping can go a long way in adding curb appeal to a home and making it more enticing to potential buyers.

HOMEFINDER: Putting a little spring in your home’s step

Sprucing up exteriors and gardens can help maximize buyer interest

Kent Deans says it’s all about first impressions.

While spring and the season’s natural beauty, sunshine and foliage can make this a great time to sell, that thought is also on the minds of other potential sellers, said Deans, a real estate agent serving the West Shore for 40 years.

“A lot of people want to wait to get their flowers planted, but the problem is when you do that there is a lot more competition,” he said. “People are waiting to put their houses out in the spring (because) it will look nicer.”

While there are more houses on the market for potential buyers to look through when the weather is nicer, he suggested some tips to consider as the sun begins to cut back the cold and rain of Greater Victoria’s winter.

“Make sure you get rid of all winter waste (outside), cut your lawn, get rid of weeds, but don’t wait,” he said. “If you are going to wait (until spring) make sure you do plant lots of nice flowers and have it all cleaned up.”

Many buyers on the market are on the lookout for a new home in spring before school is out, so they have time to peruse the market and close the deal in time for summer, Deans said. This way they aren’t forcing their children to adjust to a new school and they have time to get into their new homes over the summer. Sometimes, the first thing these buyers see can make or break a sale.

“A lot of people can’t envision what it’s going to look like if it isn’t already cleaned up,” he said. “If you don’t do anything else, make sure the front door and front doorstep is nicely painted.”

For those with a green thumb, pansies are a particularly good choice now because they fare well in slightly colder conditions.

If you have a small garden or greenery throughout the front and back yard, keep it maintained and if you have a sundeck, keep it free of clutter, especially items which some homeowners are accustomed to seeing on their own properties and don’t notice anymore.

In general, Deans said, less is more and too much of certain things can unintentionally sway buyers the wrong way. An example is an outdoor composting area in one’s yard, which may not always come to sellers’ minds to clean up.

“Composting is good, but the main thing is to have it tidy and looking good,” he said. “(Always) consider the first impression when you drive up to the home.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Q: What can I do with all of my yard waste?

Backyard composting is a great way to help the environment by diverting garbage from landfills, while boosting soil structure without chemicals. It also provides healthy nutrition to your garden, lawn and plants and can save you money, minimizing the amount of fertilizer you purchase.

However, there are considerations you need to be aware of if you have  backyard composting and happen to be in the market to sell.

Do your best to have a good spot in your backyard that will see at least a few hours of sunlight during the day and has good drainage, and is easily accessible for you to empty contents into. Just as importantly, ensure it is situated where you are easily able to take compost out and use in your garden, without being too high or too challenging to get to.

While composting is great, a poorly maintained area where compost is not  harvested regularly (approximately once every 2-3 months), can hurt more than it helps. It can promote problems including rats, raccoons and other unwanted pests and appear dirty and unkempt, even for an outdoor compost.

If your home is on the market or you’re getting ready to list and you don’t want to add too much to your composter, a number of West Shore municipalities have a program for residents to drop off or have their yard waste picked up to be broken down at a larger site. For more information, check out your municipality’s website for what yard waste programs are offered in your area.

Composting can be both good for the earth and be a great addition to your yard, but keeping it tidy and in good condition is a must, especially when you have your house on the market.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE March 21/16  COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 696 / 734 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, MARCH 2015

» 946 / 1,448 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, MARCH 2015

» 2,597 / 3,769 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, MARCH 2015

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