Tree planting adds to your curb appeal and pays dividends for the environment and your pocket.
A while back, I came across Money Smart Life’s post on his incredible rate of return. I chuckled evilly as I recalled how I have beaten his returns in my own virtually no risk scenario, although it did take me three years to do and the wealth involved here is “tied up”.
Let me first say that in order to make this same investment work for you, there are a few prerequisites.
#1 Do you own the land you live on?
#2 Do you live in the city or in a suburb?
If you answered YES to these, then it could be worth reviewing what you can do with a little bit of your land and just a few dollars.
Despite vaguely sounding like an infomercial, my claim of making some big bucks out of a few is true, though it would entail thinking a little bit outside of the box. So what is this investment about?
It’s about how I spent a mere $80 for something that is now valued at around $5,000 (or possibly higher) for a tidy return of 6,150%. What that thing is, is no other than my back yard’s most prominent tree: a large Curly Willow, which started out as a lowly sapling bought for tens of dollars. The sapling was but a wisp of a stick with some tendrils at the end. Today, proudly it stands, three years later, soon to be a commanding presence.
When we went to the nursery to choose ourselves a tree, we purchased something that looks like this, except with a dramatically skimpier crown (image credit: OCLandscape.com):
Here’s what it looked like this winter:
And now in the late spring:
So how did I get to thinking that this tree is worth $5,000? Well you can always get a tree appraised. I have a friend who is also a landscape designer (in California, the landscaping school of choice is Cal Poly, which apparently produces top graduates in this field) who tells me so. He told me how he charges at least $20,000 to install larger, mature trees on client projects.
In several more years, I’ve been told by appraisers that I’ll double that current value from $5,000 to $10,000. At its mature state at fifteen years old, this tree would be worth $20,000. But I won’t be seeing that money until after I sell my house as it’s going to be folded into our home valuation.
When I first heard how trees were priced this way — I mean, even a small Japanese Maple all of 5 feet tall can command up to $2,000 in the Bay Area — I couldn’t believe it. But after reading up on this, I figured this would be a great way to contribute to the value of a home, as overall curb appeal adds 20% more to a property’s value, rivaling returns made by adding a new bathroom or kitchen. What’s also terribly interesting is that a swimming pool recovers only 20% – 50% of its installation costs, while curb appeal will recoup 100% to 200% upon resale.
So with all this talk, do you wonder what makes these trees so costly when they’re fully grown?
The Value Of Mature Trees (Or Why They Cost So Much)
They’re difficult to replace.
If anyone tried to damage your tree, you can potentially file for a homeowner’s or property insurance claim and collect. Imagine having to do this!
Trees are an investment of time.
They are highly valued because they take a while to mature and to reach their full glorious potential.
They are used for aesthetics and curb appeal.
It adds a significant first impression to your home. You get to be known as the house with the so-and-so tree. This is the obvious reason why you’d like to have a tree to mark your territory.
They offer great shade and insulation for your home.
I used to live in a neighborhood that hardly had any trees because it was a new suburb. Let me tell you how I boiled and baked in the summer months forcing us to install central air conditioning to survive. When I visit other homes that are surrounded by more mature landscapes, there’s a noticeable change in temperature around the home, and I am all but envious they can get away without needing central air conditioning. They also insulate you from wind and snow.
They offer some recreation.
Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the outdoors right where you live? A big tree is a nice place to hang out to have yard picnics or just to relax. You can hang swings on your tree if it has larger, sturdier branches, or even build a tree house in the way numerous families have done.
They offer privacy and screening.
Even a fence is no longer enough sometimes. This is the main reason we have the tree where it is. I don’t see my neighbors sliding glass doors anymore.
Trees counter pollution.
What do I mean? Trees improve air quality, with one huge 30 foot tree providing an average household a clean source of air and enough oxygen for a whole day. Beyond providing the usual and expected green effect, trees also block noise and light.
They limit erosion.
If you live on a hill or on an area with slopes, then trees will help you keep your ground intact and prevent erosion and flooding.
If you’re keen on starting a planting project, check out a tree planting guide first for best results.
So yes, if you want to raise your home’s valuation on the cheap, you don’t need to build a swimming pool, install a patio, hot tub or gazebo. You can just spend the money on some organic items and watch your valuation grow along with your trees and plants.
Copyright © 2007 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.