The second most valuable hidden gem, say real estate agents, isn’t hidden at all; it is “great landscaping.” It is pretty hard to hide well-sculpted bushes and plantings but, perhaps, the notion here is that sellers don’t really factor into their list price the value of their landscaping. For a buyer, beautiful landscaping can be a two-edged sword –- like cheap initiation fees at a golf club followed by expensive monthly dues. Using our own experience again as buyers, the exterior of our current house showed exquisitely when we made an offer on it 21 years ago. The prior owners were British and, stereotypes aside, you know how the English feel about their gardens. Ours was/is filled with azaleas and other plantings that make for a colorful spring and summer. The problem is that the grounds require constant tending, and I am not a gardener; and although my wife enjoys pruning and the like, we do travel during the growing season, and gardeners are expensive. “Great landscaping” may be a hidden gem to some, but for me it requires selling some of the family jewels to finance the upkeep.
“Green upgrades,” such as solar panels and special insulation, also are considered a hidden gem of value by about 75% of the real estate professionals surveyed. I would venture they are more sensitive about the environment than their customers are. In almost 10 years of working with hundreds of customers and readers of this blog site, I have had exactly one inquiry about “green” building principles in a golf community. The environment and global warming are important issues, to be sure, but the only green of interest to those searching for a golf home in the southeast seems to be those you putt on.