I am about the furthest you can get from being a green thumb. Even as a vegetarian I categorize veggies as ‘green’ or ‘not-green’ colored. I was a meat three times a day guy until I gave it up 10 years ago. Although I’m a green guy I am pretty far from those elitist only-eat-organic-god-forbid-I-have-a-carrot-that-wasn’t-grown-fair-trade-by-Uraguan-farmers-within-10-miles-of-my-house people. Clearly gardening is not my thing.
However I am decent at spotting trends especially when the world of green intersects with real estate investing. Here’s what’s happened recently:
- I’m constantly thinking about what green features are worth most to prospective buyers.
- I built a small vegetable garden in our backyard (see pic) for my wife, Kelly.
- Every time we’ve had people over recently (2 kids under 6 yrs old so lots of play-dates, birthday parties, etc.) our friends always comment on how they love the garden.
Based on my observations over the last six months I really think that an organic garden could add value to an investment property. I’ve never tested it (I will) but after numerous positive comments, etc. I believe it to be true. It’s funny but it really is one of the first things anyone mentions when they come to our house for the first time.
Here’s why I believe an organic garden would add value to your investment properties:
- It’s unique. Probably 1 in 25 houses in any neighborhood in the US (except Austin/Portland) has one.
- It’s eye-catching. With bright flowers and veggies it naturally spruces up any backyard.
- It costs less than $200 and 4 hours to build. I put mine together at midnight on Christmas Eve (after several glasses of wine) so I could surprise my wife the next morning.
- It screams ‘green!’ and leaves a positive connotation with a potential buyer.
Again, I have not tested this theory yet but will soon. If you’re interested in testing it as well, here’s what I’d do:
- Measure out the area and try to have at least 4 feet by 6 feet.
- Buy the lumber and get it cut at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
- Use wood screws (not nails) to put it together.
- Use good soil.
- Plant colorful veggies (tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc.).
- Plant marigolds, they keep bugs and insects away and look cool.
- That’s it. Very simple.
Unlike many other rehab decisions (Should I use marble counter-tops or bamboo floors?) this one won’t cost you much if it doesn’t work out. Overall I believe it will help you sell you property faster and be something that you potential buyers see as valuable.
If anyone has experience selling homes with organic gardens I’d love to hear from you in the comments. As I said, I only came to the realization after about the 100th comment (slow learner?) on our garden.
Could be interesting.