As you prepare your home for resale, you take every measure possible to ensure you receive the best price. You make repairs, upgrade appliances and add a fresh coat of paint.
But as you pull the weeds and trim your bushes, you can't help but wonder what you should do about that large tree in your yard. It's old, far older than the house, and the tree would need a lot of pruning to trim it back into shape.
Should you even bother with the time and effort of caring for your tree? Or should you remove the tree altogether to increase your property value?
Advantages of Trees
In many cases, mature trees add to your property value, often by as much as 7 to 19 percent. And since trees take at least 5 to 7 years to mature, many homeowners prefer to buy properties with well-established trees rather than wait for new lots to grow new trees.
In addition to improving overall value, trees offer the following benefits:
They Save on Heating and Cooling
Trees shield your home from the elements, preventing wind, rain, snow and sun from wreaking havoc on your siding and eaves. And during the summer, shaded areas enjoy temperatures almost 11 to 25 degrees lower than unshaded areas.
As a result, your heating and cooling systems won't have to work as hard to counteract outdoor seasons. Future buyers will definitely want to learn more about how they can save money every month.
They Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
Few things feel more relaxing than sitting under a sheltering tree and listening to the wind rustle the leaves. And studies show that spending just five minutes around trees or green spaces improves your health. You may experience a better immune system, a lower blood pressure and reduced stress when you spend more time in nature.
But that's not all.
According to researchers, people who live near trees report lower levels of anxiety and depression than their asphalt and concrete counterparts. So don't hesitate to talk to future homeowners about how your tree will give them a boost.
Disadvantages of Trees
Of course, not all trees live up to their potential. When trees interrupt the landscape, or if they grow unchecked in the yard, they could negate the above advantages and even hurt your resale value.
They Create a Health Hazard
Unfortunately, dead and dying limbs and branches pose a health risk. As brittle boughs break in the wind, they could come crashing down with a great deal of force. Anyone walking under or near the tree could suffer a severe injury.
And if the tree grows too closely to electrical lines or to the house, you may have to pay for expensive electrical and roof repairs.
They Damage Plumbing and Foundations
Although you don't see them, tree roots spread wide and dig deep into the earth. In some cases, these roots extend horizontally 3 times the tree's height. And as the roots search out water sources to sustain the tree during drought, they'll burrow in and through the hardest surfaces.
If your tree sits too close to your house, the roots could weaken the foundation and cause the entire home to shift and buckle. And if the tree sits too close to a septic system or sewer line, the roots could clog and obstruct the pipes, resulting in unpleasant backups and overflows.
Have a Troublesome Tree?
Although trees offer a lot of benefits, some trees do require removal to improve the safety and value of your home. If you have a tree that undermines your home's foundation or obstructs an otherwise gorgeous view of the countryside, talk to a professional arborist. He or she may recommend trimming branches to improve its appearance or removing the tree entirely.