Turns out there’s more truth to the “Giving Tree” than you may think. Planting a tree isn’t just about getting more shade — it can save you money.
With Americans looking for new ways to cut costs and increase their savings, few would consider planting a tree as a way to save cash. Sure, trees can be beautiful and good for the environment, but they cost time and money, two things in short supply for many cash-strapped homeowners. But that initial investment will quickly pay you back and then some. From lowering your utility bills to increasing your property value, there are a bunch of reasons why you should consider planting a tree this spring.
How You Can Sap Money Out of a Tree
1.Cut Your Utility Bill with the Tree’s Shade
Outside of the mortgage, one of the biggest costs of owning a home is that of heating and cooling the house. With warm summers and cold winters common in many parts of the country, keeping you comfortable in your home can cost big bucks. Even in regions where there isn’t extreme weather, it can be costly to maintain the proper temperature of a home. Trees can help with that.
In the summer a tree provides shade that can cool the home down by a lot. According to the American Power Association, well-placed landscaping is one of many ways to cut the cooling bill in half. Plant trees in strategic places and your entire home can be shaded in the summer months. In the winter, trees can block wind from getting in the home. Thus, planting trees can lower the cost to heat your house anywhere from 20% to 50%.
Homeowners considering planting a tree have to do their homework. Not every tree is going to thrive in every region. The last thing you want to do is end up wasting money when you are trying to save.
2. Increase the Value of Your Home
Home buyers like trees; the bigger the better. There is a reason tree-lined streets are at the top of many a home buyer’s list. Not only do they provide shade but they can be a beautiful backdrop, particularly in the fall and spring.
For homeowners planning on selling their home down the road, well-positioned trees can go a long way in boosting the value of their property. And I mean that they can save money in the thousands of dollars rather than hundreds of dollars’ range. In Portland, Oregon, for example, property values jump on average by $8,000 thanks to trees and nice landscaping. What’s more, other studies have shown that the value of a home can increase anywhere from 7% to 19% if the house is on a well-landscaped property with mature trees.
It doesn’t hurt that these home improvements give you top dollars in return-on-investment (ROI). Some ROI estimates even give you more money back than you put in. Spend the cash on landscaping and trees to enjoy it now and get paid back later in the form of a higher property value.
3. Sell Your Home Faster
Homeowners know that time is money, and the longer a property stays on the market, the more it will cost them. After all, while you’re trying to sell your home, you still have to maintain it, which means paying the utility bills, keeping the lawn watered and cut, and otherwise making sure the property is up to snuff. Add the extras that come with selling a home and having it on the market for too long can cost owners a lot of money.
In a seller’s market, it won’t matter that much if you have great curb appeal, but in a buyers’ market, it can make all the difference in the world. After all, buyers like plants and will pay top dollar for homes that have a lot of mature trees. It can be the deciding factor for someone choosing your home over that of the competitor around the block. It can even spark a bidding war in a seller’s market.
With home buyers putting a higher value on a well-landscaped home with lots of trees, it can get you more than the asking price. And all it may take is buying and planting a $200 tree.
4. Improves your Health
Healthcare expenditures are costing the US billions of dollars each year, with countless people struggling to pay for their medicine and/or doctor’s visits. Many are foregoing treatment simply because they can’t afford it. That is having devastating effects on both the individual and the nation as a whole. People are getting sicker, requiring more care, which is taxing the country’s healthcare system. That, in turn, results in rising costs being passed on to the consumers who often can’t afford to get proper care. While a tree isn’t going to do the job of a doctor or medication, it can improve someone’s health both mentally and physically.
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, exposure to a forest (and thus trees) can improve our immune system as we breathe in fresh air. Being around trees also reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and can uplift our moods. Either exercising around trees or looking at them can also reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Those health benefits can mean fewer trips to the doctor and drug stores to fill prescriptions, reducing your annual healthcare costs. Not to mention you’ll feel better both physically and mentally.
5. Play your Role in Protecting the Environment
An environment teetering on the brink of environmental annihilation will cost the world and the nation untold amounts of money and misery. The impact on human life will be devastating as storms and droughts get more severe and communities around the United States struggle with the impacts of global warming. Planting a tree may not solve the world’s environmental problems but you will be doing your small part to fight climate change and protect the planet for our future generations.
Trees can reduce the air temperature, they can act as a natural air conditioner and cleanser, create an ecosystem to provide a home and food for birds, and absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases — and that’s just scratching the surface. Without trees, we would have no life, so planting more is imperative.
Planting a tree isn’t going to cure world hunger or solve the climate change crisis, but it can save you some money. Whether you are looking to reduce your utility bills or you want to boost your property value, a tree can help meet those goals.
Planting trees and spending time with them can also go a long way in boosting your physical and mental health, saving you money on healthcare costs, all while enhancing your state of mind and thus your relationships.
This blog was contributed by Zoe Stodge. Zoe is a real estate broker with a special love for smartly-designed homes. Her passion for architecture and home-design has given her an edge that has helped her clients sell their homes very quickly and left new homeowners in love with their property.