Monday, September 13, 2010

Cutting Down Trees As a Strategy to Sell a Home?

Several homes in my neighborhood have recently gone up for sale, including my immediate neighbor to the west. That home is on a huge corner lot shaded by big trees. It had been owned by an elderly woman who I suspect has passed away. As her house faced toward another street, I rarely saw her the entire time I've lived in my house.

I came home one day recently to find that the three trees in the front lawn, which seemed perfectly healthy, had been cut down. Next thing I know, there was a "For Sale" sign stuck in the yard. I was baffled why they thought it was a good idea to cut those trees down before putting the house up for sale.

The other day, I met a client out at her modular home on the far Westside to look at damages that had resulted when she had the home moved onto the lot. The lot had one big tree shading it. The tree was perfectly healthy, but my client was upset because she had wanted the mover to cut it down. She was concerned that the tree was going to die and fall on her house. The client is pushing 75. I didn't have the heart to tell her that the tree would probably live many, many years longer than she would. Also cutting that tree would lower the value of her home.

As I've done a lot of real estate law, I have a decent sense of the valuation of houses. People like trees and shade. Unless a tree is dying or is too close to a structure, it shouldn't be cut down. What are these people thinking?


Unigov said...

I would definitely cut down laughably overgrown shrubs near the house, but I'd need a good reason to take out a healthy tree.

I cut a healthy sweet gum tree because I was sick of the thousands of little balls it spawned, which isn't a very good reason but unless you've scopped up bags of little spiney balls you haven't lived. Also cut some down trees in back (of varying health) because the canopy was so dense the lawn would not grow, and with the slope of the land, it created a swamp. So now I have a usable back yard instead of a dark swamp.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I agree Unigov for your reason to cut trees. I bet cutting the three trees in the front lawn of my neighbor's corner house reduced the value of the home by $20,000.