When putting your home on the market, you want your house to have that “wow factor” that pulls buyers inside. A tidy lawn, neatly trimmed shrubbery and fresh mulch go a long way toward providing that essential curb appeal. But what about homeowners who just don’t have the time? How do you hire excellent landscapers to keep your house showing well until the day of closing?
Home sellers looking for extra curb appeal may need help with seeding a lawn or laying sod, trimming overgrown bushes, planting bushes or trees to fill in empty spots, and spreading fresh mulch in gardening beds.
A quality landscaper will discuss your options, provide drawings to scale, if necessary, and give you an estimate on the cost of materials and labor. Be sure to ask landscape contractors how much they will charge on a weekly or monthly basis to maintain the yard until the day of closing.
If you’re adding irrigation systems or adding or repairing any type of hardscape, be sure to ask about licensing or certification, which is required in some locales.
With both of these contractors, if substantial materials are needed, they will probably require a down payment to get started.
Finding a good landscaper or hardscape installer requires doing your homework — just as it does when you’re hiring any contractor to work in your home. Seek out personal referrals from friends, family, neighbors and coworkers, and then use the internet to vet the companies. Use sites like Home Advisor, Yelp, Trusted Pros and Angie’s List.
The Better Business Bureau is also a stalwart source of information, which you can find at www.bbb.org. Look for contractors who are part of the bureau’s “accredited” program, meaning they have agreed to the group’s standards for handling customers with integrity. You will also be able to see how long companies have been in business, their complaint histories and how they’ve handled them.
Longevity in business is a good sign, because poorly run businesses don’t last. A contractor in business for decades is doing something right.
Several online sites provide consumer reviews, but exercise caution when reading these. Comments, both pro and con, are often not verified for accuracy.
Obtain three written bids from contractors. The cheapest and most expensive bids are not necessarily indicators of which to choose. Be sure to get an estimate on how long the job should take. Ask yourself if you’ll be happy working closely with one of the contractors.