Most people would agree that even the most upscale homeowner association could benefit from some well-tended, well-cared-for green spaces. According to the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), landscaping adds real, measurable value to your home and your neighborhood. The right landscaping can increase the value of your home by 15 percent, allowing owners to recoup 100 to 200 percent of their investment in plants, maintenance, and labor. Landscaping is one of the first things prospective buyers' notice when they visit a home. Realtors estimate that 95 percent of home shoppers will not even get out of their car if a property lacks what industry pros call "curb appeal."
Know What To Ask
While the importance of neat lawns and attractive grounds may be a no-brainer, homeowners and associations are sometimes at a loss as to how to work with landscaping professionals to achieve the optimal result. When hiring a landscape company, it's important to ask questions about the business. It's important to get facts about the company's knowledge, experience and philosophy before hiring someone to maintain your association's property or your own green area.
The New Jersey Cooperator recently asked several New Jersey-based landscaping experts what they think are the most important questions an HOA should ask a landscape contractor to make sure the company and the community are a good fit.
1. How do you feel we can be most successful at achieving our community's landscape goals while maintaining a cost-effective approach?
According to Doug Wood, project director with The Brickman Group, Ltd., a landscaping firm based in Bound Brook, "When searching for a landscape contractor, most communities send out a bid package to a number of contractors and ask that they respond with their best price. While all communities have budgetary restrictions, this approach is not beneficial to either the community or the contractor.