Jason Roth and his family of three looked at houses throughout Long Island for two years before his real estate agent took him to the Woodbury ranch home he finally bought earlier this year.
"The lawn made us fall in love with the property," Roth says. "I could see my son running around. There was a barbecue in place. I could see my family in there."
Even with a playground area and a pool, the half-acre property still included plenty of green.
Roth isn't alone in falling in love with the lawn before the house. In fact, Stacy Zigman, a Long Island real estate agent with Re/Max Central Properties in East Meadow, says she sees it all the time.
"Curb appeal can sell a home on its own," Zigman says. "Of course, the house must match the needs and desires of the buyers as well, but an attractive and visually pleasing lawn can draw a buyer in to view a home they might not normally consider."
The lawn is, after all, one of the first features a potential buyer sees when he or she drives up for a look.
"Whether the home sits on a half-acre property or a 50-by-100-foot lot, a well-groomed lawn can reflect the care or neglect a seller has for his or her entire property," Zigman says.
How much value a lawn brings to a home depends on the property itself and where the property is located, says Arleen Goscinski, a certified appraiser based in East Northport. "Property does matter and a great lawn does matter -- that could be quite a bit depending on the area, but there isn't a percentage depending on the area," she says.
A nicely manicured lawn was what initially attracted John Kelley, 48, a printing company sales representative, to the home he bought in Lake Grove last year. "When you have a lawn that's green and well-manicured, and it has the landscaping that matches it, it draws you into the house," Kelley says. "When I pulled up, it made me want to go inside to see the house."
Still, if a lawn isn't naturally perfect, there are things that a homeowner could easily do to improve the salability or even just the everyday curb appeal of it, says Steve Baker, a real estate agent and president of Lynda Baker Realty Corp. in Dix Hills.
Even if the lawn is not in great shape, trimming the shrubs, cutting the grass and staging the outdoor entertaining area with seating, flowers and other inviting pieces is a worthwhile investment, Baker says.
"If the property has any deficiency in size or slope, then a beautiful lawn could help people overlook other drawbacks," he says.
Features: Four bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms
What makes its lawn great This meticulously maintained, lush lawn has been landscaped so that it has plenty of bushes and flowers -- but still enough room for the owners' children and dogs to play. The trees by the fences provide some shade and plenty of hiding spaces.
Listing agent: Joyce Styne and Susan Cherney, Laffey Fine Homes, 800-478-2940
SPRAWLING GRAND HOME
Huntington Bay $1,150,000
Features: Five bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms; part of Bay Crest, which has a private beach association
What makes its lawn great After a long day on the bay and the beach, the sellers love to come home and enjoy the simplicity of the tree swing on the lawn. They sip lemonade on the grand covered porch while they watch their kids frolic on the great lawn. Children have been catching lightning bugs on this lawn since the 1920s.
Listing agent: Donna Spinoso-Gelb, Signature Premier Properties, 631-812-4520
EXPANSIVE FARM HOME
Features: Four bedrooms, four bathrooms, pool
What makes its lawn great The sellers spend lots of time sitting on their large front porch, which looks out onto pasture and farmland.
Listing agent: Marie Beninati, Beninati Associates, 631-765-5333