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The realtor did have us add landscapting touches that added color and curb appeal to the front yard. The new owners promptly ripped out half of the new plants, but the plants did their job.

It is critical when doing landscaping that you keep things very low effort for upkeep. I've had clients balk at having gardens to maintain. Use potted plants for your "improvements." It is easier for the buyer to imagine life without them.

I suspect, given your description, that your buyers bought the place in spite of the new plants, not because of. Very few buyers actually can see the potential behind what is in front of their face. You were fortunate. There is a fair amount of luck to this industry. The key is numbers...the more people you get to go through your home, the more likely you will find someone who wants it. Eliminate as many objections as possible.

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