Too much garden? to proceed FSBO?

carol23_gwApril 10, 2009

We have recently put in an offer on a home in another state. The offer was accepted and we will settle in May. Our current property here in PA has extensive gardens. It also has a backyard wildlife habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation.

I made a point to keep some lawn and work around the perimeters mostly. Will gardens scare off most buyers?

Another question - if homes are selling quickly here in my township, what chances might I have of selling the home myself ? Our municipality has the lowest property taxes in the county, is convenient but not too close to interstate system, and has an excellent school district.

The house interior will be painted and de-cluttered. I plan on digging some of my smaller and most rare plants. That will be finished before the house is on the market.

There is an acrylic greenhouse in the back garden area. An interested party will disassemble it. I'm thinking the odds of a potential buyer wanting a greenhouse are minuscule.

Your thoughts? Thank you for any feedback.

Our last home we sold ( 20 years ago ) with a 1% attorney commission. The attorney screened offers and handled settlement. He had previously worked in real estate.

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There will be a certain percentage of buyer who will love the gardens and a certain percentage who won't. It's like selling a historic old house. Some people love them some don't.
I'd be advertising within the garden community, maybe even think about putting the house on a garden tour with the for sale sign up and clearly visible and flyers readily available for those who might be interested.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 3:58PM
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My old house had gardens all over, I had close to 200 roses, collect iris & daylilies, lilies. We dug what we could, even taking one of our favorite trees a Lavender Twist redbud but had to leave my other redbud (which had sentimental value..

It took a large moving truck just to move the plants. We leave about 30-40 roses. I've driven by twice plus still talk to people that live there, they all hate to tell me that my beautiful yard/gardens are shot. They don't even cut the grass.

Take anything that you can, take pieces (or leave pieces) of everything. IMO, to replace it all is going to cost a small fortune. Then if the next owner isn't a gardener it won't hurt as bad when you find out everything is dead.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 4:21PM
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I'm a gardener, so I'd LOVE a greenhouse and extensive gardens. But to be sure, some people won't care about them.

But if bulbs are blooming along with early perennials, that would certainly add to the curb appeal. Even if the prospective buyers aren't gardeners, a garden is an attractive part of a landscape. Certainly, more attractive than shrubs pruned into balls, etc.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 7:51PM
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I'm also a gardener & would love to have a greenhouse & established plantings. But, as blueheron noted...there are those who prefer green meatballs. Then, there are those who get creative with their pruning...the link below should make the gardeners on the forum chuckle!


Here is a link that might be useful: How Not To Prune...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 9:15PM
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I'm listing my house next month. My gardens are over 30 years old. We planted every tree and shrub. We turned every garden and have roses, lilies, peonies, clematis, etc.

So many memories surround these gardens, it is beyond me to leave them behind - but I must. I love my house, but my gardens hold my heart.

I hope you sell to a gardener.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 11:06PM
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Funny. I JUST came inside from digging up a small magnolia our daughter planted as a "twig" 15 years ago that has an (the only item in the exclusion clause) statement in our purchase and sales contract with the buyers!
Everything else in yard is staying but I just came in from dividing various favorites that the new owners won't miss. The broker told us the buyers were not gardeners so I am quietly dividing favorites to bring with me.
It's hard to predict if your gardens will scare people off ("Too much work") or attract. It's kinda like selling a house with a pool- an attraction for some- a turn off to others. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 10:10AM
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Jane, I hope you sell to a gardener too.

You might want to go to Help me find - click on search, then a drop down search what. They do roses, clematis & peonies. You might want to see what you love that can't be replaced any more. That was what dictated what I took.

Someone gave me old peonies that I can't ID, so I took some of those. A few roses I was going to leave ended up going because I can't buy them any more.

I would look up the clematis. That's easy to take a piece of.

Then, there are those who get creative with their pruning...the link below should make the gardeners on the forum chuckle!

OMG Tricia! The bad hair day picture is pretty common here. Makes me sick to see them do that.

I've been riding around looking at flowering trees, you wouldn't believe how many people planted flowering pears under wires along the street. Sure it looks pretty now, but in another year or 2 those trees are going to eat the lines, then they will prune them like the bad hair day. :(

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 10:16AM
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We sold our home FSBO. It was at the start of the bad market (late 2007). Our property had extensive gardens, too.

We had one couple who talked about paving over the yard and putting a volleyball court in and some loved the gardens. Luckily, we sold to a couple who wanted to keep them up. :)

Is the interior of your house as nice as the outside? I'd look at some comps, compare them to your place and think about listing FSBO if it is and your area is in demand. We saved big $$$.

We were lucky that our city had an active FSBO business going on. There was one big website dedicated to that manner of selling. They were inexpensive and took professional pictures of our house and yard.

Good luck to you! I miss our gardens but at least have the knowledge that they're being well taken care of.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 11:23AM
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Gwent, how do you dig up a Magnolia? Mine was planted 30 yrs ago as a Mother's Day gift from my 3-yr old daughter.

There were very few trees when we bought our house. These trees were all planted by us as twigs years ago. The Golden Rain Tree was a little branch in a bag, $5.00. The Silver Maple (behind the Golden Rain) was a little, free twig given out during a Arbor Day Parade 30 yrs ago.

Roselv, my husband is the rose-lover who has about 100 bushes. This is one of my favorite, I call it 'baby pink.'

I apologize to all the non-gardeners. I'm getting too sentimental...time to move on.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 9:26PM
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Beautiful photos! The magnolia I am moving is much smaller than yours pictured- only 4 " tall but a pretty strong taproot! I hope it survives the transplant!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:09PM
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Jane, lovely photos! Triciae, I love the "How Not to Prune" pictures! lol!

I see so many trees mulched like volcanoes instead of doughnuts. I want to stop the car, get out, and pull the mulch from around the

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 6:01PM
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I'm not a gardener, would never do the upkeep.
Won't buyers that like the garden but don't want the upkeep themselves hire a gardener?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 8:11PM
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Cmarlin20, yes you can have a gardener to mow the lawn, weed and blow leaves, but usually you plant your own flowers, etc.

We have a gardener to do the above, but we buy, plant and take care of our plants. My gardener doesn't distinguish a weed from a petunia. He's not allowed anywhere near our flower-beds.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 12:54AM
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Thanks, everyone, for the advice. I will be digging the most unusual plants in my collection of twenty + years. I had two garden tours last year - Local chapter of NARGS and Garden Conservancy. It's too time consuming for me to manage the garden this year for tours. I do all work myself.

As far as mourning over the garden lost, I won't be doing that. The only sad part to me is leaving the wild birds behind as it's unlikely new owners will bother with bird baths, feed and habitat for nesting.

As soon as the cherry tree flowers, I'll post photos of the front of the property and ask if the garden scares off most of you. This is part of the front garden:

Here's a view of parts of the back garden which will look different once the trees leaf out.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:32PM
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I'm a gardener so I think your gardens would be an asset--as Jane_NY indicated you should try to market your home toward gardeners. The fact that you have front/back lawn will make the garden seem less overwhelming. We have no lawn in the front yard, only garden, and although people say it looks nice they also seem to think it takes tons of work (which it doesn't) :-)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:55AM
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What a lovely garden! My only suggestion would be to perhaps edit out a few of the ornaments/decorative items (tho I adore them). Just as we are told to "declutter" inside, you might find people can focus on your gardens better if there were fewer ornaments? Just an idea.
What a wow yard!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 2:39PM
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I will be removing all ornaments, tuteurs, trellises , etc before the house is for sale. There will be only a bird bath and a feeder. It will look uncluttered that way. I agree. Furthermore there won't be an opportunity for others to pilfer things which I've collected or crafted over the years -including hammered copper leaves. Much of my plant collection is native Clematis which will be dug and transported to the new home and garden before the house is up for sale here.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 2:50PM
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I also think that the gardens should be as pristine as possible (just like the inside of the house) so there isn't even the merest hint of needed upkeep.

I went so far as to sweep the leaves out of the street gutters before showings way back in 1999 when we were on the market in the Fall. If potential buyers had any idea of how many leaves those dozen or so chestnut oaks dropped, they'd have run screaming!

Same thing for the house in Florida we sold last year. My gardens were fairly extensive and a lot of work during the wet season. I made darn sure there wasn't a leaf out of place during showings. You have to "make it look easy" IMO.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 9:26PM
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