While sheltering in place, more homeowners are taking on house projects. Stores that offer gardening supplies and building materials are weathering COVID-19, as retail sales of building materials, gardening equipment, and supply stores (paint and wallpaper stores and hardware stores) were up 7% in March compared to a year ago, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
“This is a good time for home owners because gardening, yard improvements, and minor home renovation or simple do-it-yourself projects (deck) improve curbside appeal and reflect the kind of care and maintenance that home owners put into their homes, both external and internal,” notes Scholastica Cororaton, research economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, at the Economists’ Outlook blog. “Attractive gardens, a clean yard, freshly coated fences, mended pathways will make a home attractive to buyers, in the time of and after the coronavirus social distancing period.”
Past surveys show the importance of curb appeal when selling. Seventy-four percent of REALTORS® often suggest that their sellers complete a landscape maintenance program before selling, and 17% cited tending to the exterior as a selling point, according to NAR’s 2018 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features.
A landscape maintenance program could include applying mulch, mowing, pruning shrubs, and planting, with some 60 perennials and annuals to choose from. The 2018 NAR survey estimated a cost of $3,000, but expected a 100% recovery of that cost from resale.