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Outdoor Lighting Add to Property Value?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by JimLewis, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,840

    I know realize it's probably a point that is up for debate. I don't mean to debate the point, really.

    I just wanted to know if anyone has ever run across an article or study that says that outdoor lighting adds to property value. If so, could you point me toward that article? Thanks!

    Here are a few articles I found so far:




    This one mentions Steve Parrot:
  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    I had put something of substance here, and then decided better of it.

    Don't know of any specific articles or studies
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  3. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,744

    Wow, if that isn't a teaser.
  4. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Posts: 1,196

    I did some research on this topic, and couldn't find any articles backed by studies - only opinions. I even contacted the Real Estate associations, but they had no idea.

    The affect of good landscaping on home prices is more often discussed, but again, no numbers.
  5. LLC RI

    LLC RI LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    I read this thread and thought I'd chime in. Although I haven't taken the time just now to look for any specific articles, I will provide with my expert opinion which has accumulated in my brain over the last near quarter century that I have been doing landscape lighting.

    As is commonly known, a well designed landscape around a home does add value. Two comparably sized and equipped houses side by side, one has a nice well groomed landscape with quality landscaping, lush plantings and a thick green lawn - the other has basic builder installed foundation plants and a half green lawn, which one garners the better curb appeal and likely the better value?... Clearly the one with better landscaping. Now, take that same house with the nice landscaping and add nice lighting, the curb appeal and intrinsic value goes up some more.

    Landscape lighting can also be an effective tool at selling a home, which in effect, also increases the value. About 15 years ago, I had a client who had a big fancy house and we did a lot of lighting. He built a new house and was moving but having trouble selling his house. I went and did a full lighting service, even cleaned the lanterns and put new 'candle' tubes. We took pictures of the property at night and they used a few of those pictures in their real estate advertising for the home. Home sold soon after. Did the lighting do it? Who knows.

    When a homeowner sits down with an agent to create the listing for selling their home and they mention that the home features a professionally designed landscape lighting system, which will provide beauty, safety and security, my dime is on that the value of the home will be impacted. If even the perceived value, still some value increase.

    I remember when we used to say that exterior improvements, ie, landscaping, had the potential to add up to double their cost to the property value. My spin on this to a potential client was that I once new a lady who spent 20 grand on window treatments but the new buyers didn't like them, so that investment didn't yield any return for the owner. In contrast, how can anyone argue with well designed and effective landscape lighting?

    So to answer your original question, I'm guessing no one did a study on this to yield any concrete answers. However, this might be a good topic that the AOLP tackles. Polling real estate data and trying to see if there is a noticeable differential in selling prices of homes with or without landscape lighting. That task will not be easy however, because there would be so many variables in what kind of lighting, professional or DIY, etc. A good experiment would be to list a house with no lighting on the market. Have open houses day and night and take offers. Next, install a quality lighting system. Repeat your open houses by day and night, emphasizing the night one. Entertain offers and see if there's a higher trend for the landscape lighting house.

    Logic and common sense would dictate that there is a upward value trend for homes with landscape lighting as opposed to without. When you come down to it, when we sell these systems, we use logic to dictate what to light, how to light it, and why light it, thus, using logic to suggest to our clients that their investment in landscape lighting will provide them with value added upon selling their home.

    I've never had a client contact me telling of how their homes' value decreased because I put lighting in.

  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,840

    I agree that it's something the AOLP should look into doing a study on. I'm not sure that polling Real Estate Agents is the best way to go about that, though. Half of them really seem to be fairly clueless in general. And even with the other half, I'm not sure they often get to see what the homes they are selling look like at night time. Most of the time, you're showing a house during the day time. Also, I'm not sure most real estate agents would even make the delineation between a real pro lighting system and a Home Depot jobby that the homeowner did themselves. I think they tend to write "This home has Professional Outdoor Lighting" even when the lighting system is crap, just because that's what they always do - exaggerate everything.

    My neighbor has a house for sale and -- I kid you not -- the listing says, "Swimming pool and hot tub". Well, the swimming pool is a $259 above-ground jobby that's all leaning over on all sides and filled with rainwater, moss, scum, and other nastiness. It's more of a liability than a plus. Because the only thing anyone is going to be able to do with that piece of crap is dismantle it and take it to the dump and pay $60 to get rid of it. Hot tub is in similar condition. But they didn't even bother to really take any of this into consideration. They just want people to look at the house.

    When they sold me my house they said it had a "professional underground sprinkler system". And I wasn't able to check it out too much during the walk through. It looked professional enough. Had valve boxes in the right place, I saw heads placed throughout the property, a controller set up, etc. It didn't take me long that next spring to realize it was a total home-owner built piece of crap. Backflow was the wrong kind, installed incorrectly, valves were no good, pipes cracked all over, mis-sized pipe, etc. I had to install a totally new system.

    My point is realtors don't really know. They're just trying to get you to buy the house.

    I think a really good study should be done. But you'd have to do it on the basis of checking to see whether homes with really pro installed lighting systems actually SOLD for more than homes without. That'd be tough to quantify exactly. But it could be done. I'm surprised the AOLP hasn't already looked into it.
  7. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    Because real estate values have proven to be so volatile in some markets, lighting probably adds value or is expected in some places and not in others. I've seen bidding wars for perfectly good homes that end up being razed and new ones built in their places simply because of location: quality school district, views, etc.
    Lighting was probably not a factor.
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Consider the difference between perceived value and real value. When a property is appraised, will landscape lighting increase the value of the appraisal? IMO, no it won't. Will it increase the perceived value of the property ... depends. Properties are rarely shown at night, so any perceived value landscape lighting might convey is lost. However should the property be shown at night, then there exists the possibility of potential buyers perceiving value, even if there is no real value in terms of the appraisal. While pictures may help, it is not the same as seeing it with your own eyes. If you want to know with certainty yes or no, then ask an appraiser.

    That said, a mature, healthy and well maintained landscape, with or without lighting, will increase the value of the property.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,840

    I think it would be interesting to see how a really good outdoor lighting installation affected home value. It would probably have to be a higher end home in a higher end community. I don't know that lighting alone on a regular mid-range home in your average sub-division would really matter too much. But in nicer estates, I think it could add value - even add to sale value - because it's something that is more expected, or at least valued, in a home like that.

    Probably also really depends on the area of the country. I know there are some areas I travel to (like Palm Springs, CA) where professional outdoor lighting seems to be standard on most homes. So it seems to be very highly valued in an area like that. While other areas like Portland, OR seem to not have a high percentage of homes with professional outdoor lighting. Which is nice because it's a wide-open market here. But it's also a harder sell because it's not as typical or valued unless you're in a really high end estate. Nevertheless, we seem to have finally hit a niche. Just this month alone we've sold 4 big lighting jobs.
  10. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,744

    Hey Kiril, good to have you on the Lighting Forum. That was a very reasoned and balanced response.

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