Date Published 03 February 2017
Although the most important thing that people are looking for when they view your property will undoubtedly be the house itself – another very important feature of your property sale, is the garden and outside space.
For some people, outside space is important for keeping their cars, or caravans, and a driveway or garage is essential, whereas for others, who perhaps only have one vehicle; off-road parking is not one of their 'must have' items. The majority of people are keen to have a garden of sorts, and even though not everyone who views your property will be green fingered, it is likely that they will be looking for an outside area where they might be able to entertain, or host barbeques in the summer.
Those with children are often looking for a property where it will be safe for the children to run around outside and let off some steam, whilst being in view of the house – this is something which becomes less essential if the property is located near to a public park, which in this area, we are very lucky to have several of.
A perfectly preened garden might be off-putting for some potential buyers who have little or no experience of gardening, but there are many people for whom a mature garden will be a definite bonus, and for some it might even be the thing which tips the balance in making a higher offer on your property.
If you are bringing your property to the market this spring, or indeed if your property is already on the market and you are wanting to ensure that it is looking at its best for viewers, here are our top tips for making sure your garden is in tip top condition, and a real asset to your property:
1. As soon as the lawns are ready for a cut – give them a trim. Make sure you don't set the level of the mower too low, as after the winter months, the lawn can often be a lot wetter than you'd expect, and churning up the lawn with the mower won't leave it looking very good.
2. Look after your lawns! This follows on from the first point – a lot of the time lawns and grassed areas can get really tatty over the winter – particularly areas which don't drain very well – muddy patches can really detract from the garden – as the spring goes on, consider sowing some grass seed, or if you're getting really distressed with it; put a few squares of turf down to improve the lawn.
3. It is a very common problem up and down the country that people are losing their front gardens. With more and more of us paving over front gardens to provide more parking space, it is less likely that you will have much of a front garden anymore. Some people are still lucky enough to have a small garden at the front of their house however, and if you are one of the few, do make the most of it! A front garden will be a potential buyer's first impression of your home – making sure that this is well maintained and well stocked with flowers will give them a good feeling about your home before they even walk through the door.
4. During the first few months of the year - if you don't have plenty of bulbs already planted, consider investing in some cheap bedding plants. Ideally tulips and daffodils planted in the autumn, will be coming through mid-February and throughout March and April, but if you haven't got these already in, you can pick up packs of very bright cheerful plants fairly cheaply, and the impact they will have is huge. Although it may seem to you that they will look as though they have been very obviously put in recently, the majority of people won't think too much about that, but they will go away with the impression that the garden looked pretty.
5. Trim back shrubs and unruly climbers. If you have the sort of garden that is well stocked with well-established plants, you will know that it doesn't take long for these to get out of control. Although it doesn't take much more than a morning with a good pair of secateurs to get these back under control; for an inexperienced gardener, it might just be a little too daunting, and might give them the impression that the garden is going to need a lot of upkeep which they might not want to take on. Trimming back will always give a really good impression of space, and will make the garden look a lot bigger than if the same plants are left unchecked.
6. Weed those flower beds – although it's probably the job that all gardeners least relish – it really does make a huge difference. Well-tended flower beds are a joy to behold, and will make it much easier for viewers to believe that the garden is low-maintenance.
7. If you have patio furniture, or indeed barbeques and children's play equipment in your garden, try to make sure they are in good repair. If you have a rotting garden table and chairs on the patio, it will make the whole area look rather sad and uncared for. Obviously don't go spending money on a whole new set – unless you will be planning to take it with you to your new property, but perhaps a lick of varnish would do the trick? Similarly broken fence panels should be repaired prior to viewings. If you have winter covers for your garden furniture, it's worth taking them off in advance of viewers coming around – being able to see more of the garden, rather than big blocks of plastic covers, will allow a viewer to imagine their own outdoor living in your property.
8. If you have doors which open out onto the garden from your house, and the weather is warm enough, leave the doors open during viewings. It's lovely for viewers to think that they can walk straight out of the house and into the garden – it's a great way for them to be able to imagine how they would live in the property. If you are worried about dirty shoes coming back into the house, and the garden is still a little wet underfoot, maybe buy a cheap doormat to put just outside so that they can wipe their feet before coming back in.
9. Last but not least – bring some of the outdoors inside… one of the easiest and cheapest ways to really make your house feel like an inviting home, is to have flowers in the property. You don't need to go totally overboard – no viewer is expecting an Elton John budget flower order to be festooned throughout the house, but a simple bunch of daffodils in a nice jug on the kitchen table, or some fresh flowers picked from the garden can make the world of difference and can have a really cheering effect on even the gloomiest of days.
If you would like more handy hints and tips on selling your property – do give us a call on 01442 248671.