6 Landscaping Trends That Can Help Increase The Value of Your Home

The following is a guest post by Zach Edwards

Whether you’re thinking about putting your home on the market or just want to be prepared, you’re looking for the best possible price. A clean, fresh place with a comfortable vibe, both inside and out, draws prospective buyers. And since the first thing to catch their eye is your landscaping, that’s the place to start. Landscaping focuses on the lawn, trees, and plants in your yard, but architectural features also increase the value of your home.

Landscape Maintenance Program​


Curb appeal is the name of the game when you’re sprucing up your home. A vibrant green lawn is what buyers want to see. A landscape maintenance program covers the basics to keep your lawn looking its best. This includes mowing, edging and trimming, fertilization, pest control, and leaf removal. The National Association of Realtors lists landscape maintenance as a priority when selling your home, with a return on investment, or ROI, of 100%. You can do it yourself if you are diligent, but it may be more cost-effective to hire a lawn care professional who knows how to keep your yard in tip-top shape.

Landscape Upgrade


Since you’re going to be taking meticulous care of your lawn, why not do an overall landscape upgrade? This can include switching up your front walkway from concrete to natural flagstone, adding large stone planters, mulching with landscaping bark, and putting in flowering shrubs and a tree or two. The estimated cost of these projects is $6000, with a return of around $5000. That’s an ROI of 83%. And in a drought-prone area, take those upgrades a step further and help protect your property from fire. Surround your home with hardscaping, use fire-resistant plants and trees, and space them 5 to 30-feet away from your home.

Outdoor Living Spaces


The pandemic of the last couple of years forced many of us to spend more time at home. So today’s buyers are focused on comfort and livability. Putting in a patio, or refurbishing an existing one, attracts buyers and increases your home’s value. An outdoor kitchen and entertaining area extends your living space.

Set up cozy chairs and sofas made specifically for the outdoors. Add some colorful throw pillows, and don’t forget an outdoor table to center the space. A well-designed patio with comfortable features has an ROI of up to 80% and adds 8-10% to a home’s value.

Fire Pit

While you’re busy making the outdoors all cozy and comfy, don’t forget a fire pit. Nights around the fire, toasting marshmallows, or just chatting with family and friends create lasting memories and add an air of relaxation to your yard. Gas pits will add more value to your home due to ease of use, but wood-burning pits also boost the value. Both have pros and cons, and you’ll need to do some research to see which works best for you. Adding a fire feature to your landscaping provides an ROI of about 70%.

Outdoor Lighting


Once you create a cozy outdoor living space, you want to be able to use it at night. That’s where outdoor lighting comes into play. When deciding how to incorporate it into the landscaping, consider where light is needed for safety and security, as well as any features you want to highlight. Don’t overdo it. You want to enhance your yard at night, not blind your guests with spotlights. Outdoor lighting done right can add up to 10% to your home’s value.

Automated Sprinkler System

Automating your sprinkler system not only adds home value, it gives you one less thing to worry about and helps conserve water! You can come home knowing that part of your yard maintenance is already done. Or you can travel without worrying about whether your lawn is getting enough water.

While installing an irrigation system can be costly, you can recoup that money in the long-term. Monthly water bills will likely decrease, as sprinklers come on only during optimal times of the day and use just the right amount of water. Cost estimates for a 3000 square foot lawn are around $3500. With an estimated cost recovery at $3000, that’s an ROI of 86%.

Making these landscaping improvements increases the odds for a faster sale and a better price. Buyers want to move in and relax, not have to make the changes themselves.


Zach Edwards is a lifestyle and landscape and design writer. He has refurbished a number of older homes and commercial buildings with a focus on spaces for entertaining.


Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog 

Congratulations to ND Housing Award Winner Kym Enlow

Agency recognizes partners who promote affordable homeownership

BISMARCK, ND –North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) recently recognized nine of its partners with Champion of Affordable Housing Awards for their outstanding promotion and delivery of its homeownership programs.

“Homeownership is traditionally one of the most coveted goals of individuals and families,” said NDHFA Executive Director Dave Flohr. “Through our Champion Awards, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency honors the housing professionals who partner with the agency, promote our programs, and help to make homeownership affordable.”

NDHFA’s FirstHome™ program provides low- to moderate-income buyers with low-cost mortgages, and down payment and closing cost assistance. Single parents, veterans, and families with disabled or elderly households members can qualify for similar help through HomeAccess. The agency’s North Dakota Roots program assists households who require down payment assistance to buy again or whose income exceeds the limits of the agency’s standard programs. The program can also be used to refinance residential real estate loans.

Two loan officers, Debby Wisdom of Dakota Community Bank & Trust in Mandan and Lisa Thuner of Town & Country Credit Union in Minot each received a Homeownership Performance Award, recognition for the volume and quality of loans produced. NDHFA also presented three real estate agents with the same award, Aruna G. Hagen of Advantage Realtors in West Fargo, Kym Enlow of Coldwell Banker in Grand Forks, and Karen Johnston of George & Associates Realty in Watford City.

Bremer Bank, Bravera Bank and The Union Bank all received NDHFA’s Award of Excellence for best practices and outstanding delivery of the agency’s homeownership programs. Unify Home Lending Inc. was honored with a Rising Star award, recognition of a financial institution new to our program for a significant increase in loan volume over the previous year.

“Historically low interest rates and a limited inventory made the housing market very competitive this past year,” said Flohr. “North Dakota Housing Finance Agency helped 1,548 individuals and families to successfully purchase a home in 2021, all of the buyers learning about our homeownership programs from one of our outstanding housing partners.”

Parties interested in NDHFA’s homeownership programs will find information online at www.ndhfa.org.

NDHFA is a self-supporting and mission-driven state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Drew H. Wrigley, oversees the agency.


Source: ND Housing (ndhfa.org)

Refresh Your Interior Design for the New Year

Switch it up in 2022 with little effort or cost: It’s fast, easy and satisfying.

Wish you could wave a magic wand and change up your décor? Well, the wand trick may not work, but reimagining things you already own in fresh and exciting ways can breathe new life back into lackluster interior designs. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of switching things up. Chances are you already have what it takes to refresh your décor. So stop taking your once-coveted finds for granted and have them speak to you again. Start by reconsidering where decorative items and furniture can relocate within your home – big change begins by making simple yet strategic moves.

Picture This. How many times have you passed by that painting on the wall without taking a second look? Then it’s time to let it live somewhere else. Imagine your art, framed pictures and mirrors in different rooms of your home. Try them out in areas of the house with corresponding color palettes. Soon you’ll have a newfound appreciation for those familiar – now repurposed – favorite pieces that will once again engage your attention.

Presto Chango.  A little to the left … now to the right. Play this game of musical chairs and sofa for a fresh new take on your furniture placement. By simply moving key objects around most any room, you’ll discover a brand new outlook on your interior design. A fresh perspective is sometimes all it takes to shake things up.

Pillow Talk. That cushy little bundle of comfort may not get much attention, but if you swap out your throw pillows for ones in a fresh pop of color or pattern, you’ll be amazed at the impact they can create. It’s an inexpensive way to introduce a renewed sense of aesthetics into a room and enliven all-too-familiar furniture. Accent pillows and throws can be the common thread that runs throughout an interior design to tie the color scheme together.

When it comes to design, not everything should stay the same forever. So be open to the possibility of change and start moving a few things around – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how things take on a fresh new look when you switch them up.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Is It Time to Rightsize Your Home?

Whether you’re an empty nester with unused rooms or need more space to raise your growing family, finding a home that fits your current lifestyle may be the best option.

Does your home still fit your needs or is it time to think about the benefits of buying a new one as you enter the next phase of your life? Whether you’re an empty nester with rooms that are no longer used or need more space to raise your growing family, rightsizing – finding a home that’s the ideal size for your current lifestyle – may be the best option.

Assess Your Living Space. Before deciding whether to rightsize, take stock of your everyday life and ask yourself a few questions, including:

  • Are some areas of the house, like formal living and dining rooms, rarely used?
  • Is a dedicated office a must?
  • Do you want a hobby area or kids’ playroom?
  • Is your kitchen too big or too small?
  • Is the garage the right size?
  • Do you prefer a large yard or a cozier outdoor living space?

Look to the Future. If you decide it’s time to make a move, consider your current lifestyle as well as potential changes in circumstances that could occur in the next few years to determine what size home is best. Maybe you’re planning to have more children, retire in a few years or anticipate an aging parent moving in with you. While you might not need extra space right away, you could in the near future.

Great Layout vs. Square Footage. Getting hung up on a property’s square footage could mean missing out on your dream home, especially in today’s highly competitive market. If a house or condo has the number of bedrooms, baths, kitchen and amenities you want, but its square footage is somewhat less than you envisioned, it still may be worth considering if it has a well-designed layout that uses space efficiently.

Review Your Finances.

Whether you’re looking to downsize or up-size, how much you can afford extends beyond monthly mortgage, tax and insurance payments. Relocating from a sizable residence to a condo or townhome – perhaps in a maintenance-free community with amenities – could mean significantly higher HOA fees and require you to buy new furniture that fits smaller spaces, while a bigger house will have higher utility costs and need additional furnishings to fill extra rooms.

Regardless of your reason for wanting to move, a Coldwell Banker agent has the tools and resources to help you sell your current home and find a new one that’s right for you.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

This Winter Is an Ideal Time to Sell Your Home

The market remains hot, but it’s still important to make sure your property appeals to buyers before listing. Check out a few easy steps you can take to help your home stand out and sell quickly.

If you’re thinking about listing your home in 2022, there’s no reason to wait until the spring, as low housing inventory and high demand continue in many parts of the country. Winter typically has been a slow time for real estate sales in most parts of the country, but as we kick off the new year, serious buyers likely will pick up where they left off in 2021, facing stiff competition for properties that are selling quickly and for high prices.

Despite the hot market, it’s still important to make sure your property appeals to buyers before listing. Here are a few easy steps you can take to make sure your home stands out.

Sort through holiday decorations. Make the dreaded annual ritual of taking down decorations more productive by using it to begin clearing out unwanted items as well. Before stuffing all your trimmings into plastic bins, take stock of everything you have – lights, ornaments, wreaths, figurines – then toss or donate those you no longer want.

Declutter and depersonalize. Decluttering is the key to making your house appear more spacious. Go through each room and decide which pieces of furniture and other things to keep, donate or put in storage, and remove family photos and personal knickknacks.

Boost curb appeal. You get only one chance to make a positive first impression. To make the exterior enticing, paint the front door, pressure-wash the driveway and patios, clean out gutters, trim shrubs and trees, and add greenery and fresh flowers to your entryway and front porch.

Deep clean. A spotless house will show buyers your property is well taken care of. Clean from top to bottom, including windows, window treatments, ceiling fans, baseboards, countertops, cabinets, flooring and appliances.

Repaint in neutral colors. A fresh coat of paint can make the interior feel new. To appeal to a broader audience, choose warm neutral colors, such as beige, tan, gold or gray.

These easy steps will make your property stand out, appeal to more buyers and sell quickly.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog