Impact of landscape on SFH rental property

5 Replies

I bought a house that has low spots in the lawn where water pools (attracting mosquitos), more weeds than grass, and the front walkway, driveway, porch, and garden pavers look like Frankenstein's monster. Also, the fence surrounding the back yard is made from wire and wood with ivy taking over most of the back end. How much effort should I put into the landscape for a nice profit if I intend to rent this property out in the future? Considerations I have are grading the lawn, making the grass one uniform species, and possibly repairing/redoing the concrete areas and even extending the single lane driveway to make room for a second car. For the back fence I would consider replacing with a taller, wooden privacy fence (matching the adjacent neighbors) and possibly extending it forward along the sides of the house to make better use of the side yards by incorporating them into the back yard. It will be a 4 bedroom rental and I will most likely advertise to college students or military.

I have noticed that landscaping does affect rental price.  If the yard looks bad, it has a tendency to attract less than "great" tenants.  I allow pets in my rental and having the back yard fenced is a way to increase rental revenue.  

curb appeal is important but I would only do the things that could be done inexpensively. ie, instead of resolve every issue you identified, address the ones that cost very little or affect safety. For instance, unless the fence was falling down, I wouldn't replace it. Installing privacy fencing can cost thousands. A gallon of herbicide and some sweat equity can get the ivy off the fence. If the fence is ugly, leave the ivy (unless it's poison ivy)

The low spots in the yard can be filled a few buckets full of dirt at a time. That way it doesn't kill the grass (it'll grow up through an inch or two of dirt). So I wouldn't regrade the whole yard, just raise the low spots here and there. What's bad about the walkways? You don't like the looks of them or they're unsafe and a tripping hazard? If it's a safety issue, do something about it. And so forth and so on...

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Attractive rentals = attractive tenants. Your properties are tied to your reputation. You don't need to give the yard a full-blown makeover, but if it would bother you to rent your home, it will bother decent tenants as well. 

@Thomas Hundtoft @John Teachout Much of the landscape is already functional and safe. The backyard is enclosed and set for a dog. My plan for grading the lawn includes basically raising the low spots, not hiring a landscaper to do a legitimate grading procedure. The fence is simply ugly. As is the concrete. There are cracks and weeds need to be routinely removed. My question still stands about widening the driveway however. Would adding a parking spot increase curb appeal a great deal? Remember I may have at least 4 tenants in the house. I'd say there are currently 3 spots in front of the house already that are usually available.

I was doing a repair on one of our houses and noticed the tenants had put in flowers and some other bedding plants plus decorative mulch in some areas. That's a good sign of someone making the place their own...