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A well maintained lawn can add to your home value.

In Home Financing Advice
Couple gardening together

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a well maintained lawn and landscape can add 5 to 7 percent to a property’s value. Considering the power of curb appeal on home sales, this came as little surprise. Still, how does one achieve a magnificent landscape without sacrificing every Saturday, and sometimes Wednesdays, of the growing season?

You might consider employing a lawn care service. When doing so, heed the following advice from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):

Talk with neighbors who have used a lawn care service. Inquire specifically about the quality of service. Was service adjusted for weather conditions? In other words, after spurts of heavy rainfall and aggressive growth, did the service respond accordingly? How would your neighbor rate customer service?

Shop around and obtain estimates. The lowest estimate may not necessarily provide all the services you need. Remember that each lawn is different and that your lawn does not necessarily need the same treatment as your neighbor’s lawn. Our lawn is pocked with small peaks and valleys. Commercial, riding mowers leave an uneven cut, so it was important for us to hire a service that would use a push mower.

Make sure you are getting “custom” service. Even the best lawns have weeds and pests. Ask to see evidence of specific and real problems before you agree to any treatment. The service we employ leaves evidence of insects in sealed plastic bags for our inspection. Further, a written report describes areas where pests are prevalent for our investigation. Check to see if the company is licensed with the state. Licensing often requires employees to have special training, especially those who apply pesticides to lawns. Ask what specific lawn care training the employees have. Check with your local consumer affairs office or BBB to learn if any complaints have been lodged against the company. Find out if the company has liability insurance to cover any accidents that might happen while work is being performed in your yard or while pesticides are being applied.

Once you have chosen a lawn care service, secure the deal with a written contract. Peruse the contract carefully; know what specific services and lawn problems are covered and what are not: Are there extra charges for special services, such as fertilizing, disease control, or reseeding? Is the work guaranteed? If it is, get the guarantee (or warranty) in writing. Know when the guarantee expires, and what is included and excluded. What is the cancellation policy? Must you renew annually or is service scheduled indefinitely? Many lawn care service contracts require written notice to cancel.

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