4 Tips for Working With the Pros on Curb Appeal

Landscaping can be pricey, but it can make a big
difference in creating curb appeal that attract buyers to the door.

“The condition of your lawn has a big
effect on the look and value of your home, whether you have a complicated
landscaping plan with water features and/or an expanse of grass and flowers,”
Angie Hicks, founder of service-ratings site Angie’s List, told the Chicago

If working with a landscaping
pro to boost your seller’s curb appeal, here are some tips to getting more for
your money.

Schedule consultations.
Contact several landscaping pros to arrange
appointments for them to visit the property and recommend what needs to be done
and your options. (For people to contact, check sites such as Yelp.com or
Kudzu.com.) Use them as consultants about what the property needs. Also for
smaller tasks, such as mowing, raking or weeding, you might try to find a
teenager who might offer a good deal, suggests Robert Krughoff, president of
Consumers’ Checkbook.

Get several price bids.
Request estimates on what you want done from at least three companies because
you may find big price differences among each. Krughoff cites an example of how
a tree-removal job could cost from $1,935 to $6,300 depending on the company. As
for lawn care, Consumers’ Checkbook found companies quoting ranges from $229 to

And just because a company is
pricier don’t assume you’ll get better results. Krughoff says the Consumers’
Checkbook has found no correlation between price and quality in lawn care and
tree services.

Watch for add-ons. Krughoff says
don’t be quick to say “yes” whenever a landscaper or lawn service recommends
various fertilizers, sprayings, and treatment. Make sure there’s a compelling
case on why it’s necessary, Krughoff says.

Don’t pay until the job is done.
If possible, pay nothing until the job is
completed so that you have more leverage in ensuring the job is done to your
satisfaction. Some companies may require a deposit. If so, pay with a credit
card, experts suggest. By using a credit card, you’ll be able to dispute the
charge with the credit card company if the service was incomplete or not done

Source: “Trimming Landscaping Costs,” Chicago Tribune (April 24, 2011)

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