Real Estate Blog

Are there 50 shades of green in your neighborhood?

Dead Bermuda grass.
Dead Bermuda grass. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

Brown is the new green.

“It’s beautiful,” one of my sources said this week as California enters another summer drought. In case you’ve lost track, we’re in drought year No. 4.

In real estate, lush green lawns have been the norm and expected as buyers pull in to get the first look at what could possibly be their new dream home. That isn’t the case anymore.

Take a look around. Are there 50 shades of green in your neighborhood?

While buyers still expect lawns to be maintained, Realtors say, most understand that grass isn’t so green these days as California city governments limit the amount of watering homeowners are allowed.

“It’s a tough shift in perceptions, since we typically emphasize curb appeal with sellers,” said Laura Mather, a broker and Realtor with London Properties.” But it’s our new reality.”

Last year, Fresno reduced the number of watering days from three to two. To comply with Gov. Jerry Brown’s drought-fighting mandates this year, Fresno must use 28% less water compared to 2013.

Clovis residents have it harder. The city must reduce its water use by 36%. Residents were ordered in April to reduce watering to two days. Violators could be fined.

Realtor Jason Farris, of Guarantee Real Estate, has had sellers rush to get their home on the market while the grass is still somewhat green, he said. Some are using gray water to help maintain the lawn, he said.

“Buyers are much more aware and understanding today than they were even weeks ago,” Farris said. “People are really beginning to get it.”