3 MISTAKES that can cost you 28 percent of your sales price | Episode 33


What if your “curb appeal” was costing you 28 PERCENT OF YOUR SALES PRICE? You’d probably crack out a lawn mower, or weed eater, or a paint brush as fast as possible! I’m Carole Ellis. I’ll expose these three all-too-common curb appeal “improvement” errors today, in EPISODE 33.


The “improvements” you and your sellers are making to add curb appeal to your property could be costing you more than a quarter of your sales price! I’ll tell you all about these three common mistakes that most people actually think are improvements in just a minute, but first I want to make sure that you’re aware of something else that could be a “danger zone” if you’re buying in a certain VERY HOT MARKET down south. In one of the hottest residential markets in the country not on the west coast, developers are keeping a certain DANGEROUS SECRET about a lot of their new developments. They’re not legally obligated to reveal this information, and they’re not, but if you’re buying there or anywhere else that might have a certain water-related property damage issue, then you need to know what’s going on and what to look out for before you buy. Visit us online at and check out this “Danger Zone” article our News & Networking Section for the troubling details.

Now, back to saving you some serious cash when you put a property on the market. Here are some startling figures that may surprise you. According to Clemson University researchers, good curb appeal (basically, good landscaping) can translate to as much as a 28-percent home-value boost on just about any property. However, the same research revealed that three common landscaping practices that nearly every homeowner busts out when they are looking to improve their curb appeal fast for a sale can actually knock the wind right out of your home value. Before you bring in the flowers, or the mulch, or the decorative rocks and gravel, take a quick listen!

First of all, DON’T MESS WITH MULCH! This doesn’t mean don’t care for your trees and plant beds, but it does mean that the common practice of building a “mulch volcano,” you know, those huge mounds that go up the sides of the trees in your beds, is a big no-no. Michael Rigby, a Virginia arborist, noted that the practice is not only harmful to the trees, but it is also extremely common for landscapers to do this if they do not know enough about tree care. It will be up to you to avoid the volcano (and the associated root rot and aesthetic issues) in order to keep your landscaping looking good.

Second, use a light touch with new plantings. It may be tempting to throw a bunch of beautiful flowers, a new sapling or two, and some snazzy hedges into your yard in hopes of creating a quick-and-dirty gorgeous garden to attract buyers like bees, but in reality, overplanting usually results in a lot of dead stuff in your front yard because it makes it hard for ANYTHING to actually take root. Think carefully about what you’re planting and, in general, stick with the bright, colorful small stuff for a fast front-yard fix. It’s more likely to take hold and bloom for you – and it’s far less expensive than the big stuff anyway!

Third, go easy on the gravel! In areas of the country where water is scarce, using decorative rocks and gravel to landscape is an extremely popular way to cut down on the water needed to maintain a yard while creating a unique look. However, too much gravel will hurt the plants you do have (even cacti need a little dirt!) and most homeowners, while they may want lower water bills, will react better to a property with at least a little green out front. Remember that gravel basically acts like an oven, so it can actually bake your plants’ roots if you’re not careful. A light touch (and a little preemptive research) will go a long way toward keeping your home’s price tag high and your foliage intact.

Don’t want to spend the time doing your own preemptive research? Well, good news! I did it for you! I spent a little time reviewing a number of sources of botanical information and came up with a great list of drought-resistant plants (that is to say, the ones that might like gravel!) and made some quick-and-dirty notes for you on how to plant and care for them as well. If you want to keep your water bills low and your front yard lush, you can’t afford to miss this list. It’s in the REI Today Vault (if you hadn’t already guessed that) with this episode, 33, on the label. Head on over to to view it right now. Not yet a member? No worries! text REITODAY no spaces, no periods, to 33444 I’ll provide you with fast, immediate access to all sorts of great trainings, news coverage, interviews, and lot more timely information that will help make your investing safer, faster, and more profitable.

And remember, when you do that, you’ll also be able to GROW YOUR NETWORK by interacting with me and your fellow listeners to REI Today… so stop by to ask questions, make comments and network with other investors across the country. Text REITODAY no spaces no periods to 33444 or head over to right now.

REI Nation, thanks for listening in and always remember this:

Your best investment is your own education.

About the Author

Carole Ellis is the host of Real Estate Investing Today, a popular 9-minute daily podcast focused on educating real estate investors about the important topics that will make their investing SAFER, FASTER, and MORE PROFITABLE. She's also the editor of the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in and reporting on the real estate industry and, additionally, has written dozens of courses on the topic. Carole lives in Kennesaw with her husband, Bryan, and four children. She believes wholeheartedly that your best investment is always your OWN education.

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(2) comments

G13Man 3 years ago

people all love different flowers and plants
So do not waste money on this as the new occupant does not want to pay for what u want and planted …[plant what you want when u get to your new place !
bushes and shrubs next to a house is a fire hazard , and a place for an intruder to hide in wait ..
gravel and rocks are hard on the feet and scrapes ur children good when they trip/fall on them

then there are allergies ,

but do not worry , i tell friends to under bid houses with fresh plants …

Wow, G13Man, that’s harsh for those new-plant owners! How does it work? What a great inside tip, and thanks for reading! ~Carole

Daryl Gray 3 years ago

Is anyone able to reach the list of plants mentioned in this article? I either keep getting the “countdown to vault launch” window or I get inside the vault and click on Episode 33, then I get this same article again. Where is the list?
Hi Daryl, Here is the long link to the article: This is the article that is linked in the Vault, but I want to make sure you can get it directly!
I’ve contacted our tech team about the “Countdown” issue since that should be gone now that the vault is open. We’re uploading more content daily.
Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention, and thanks for listening! ~Carole

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