Help to sell your home: 6 tips to get your garden ready for viewings
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The UK is a nation of garden lovers, and if repeated lockdowns have taught us anything over the past 15 months, it’s that having one, whether it’s a well-stocked veggie patch or a manicured lawn, is a real privilege.
A recent survey by Compost Direct revealed that, in the East of England, 82.5pc of properties listed on Rightmove came with their own gardens – a statistic that probably won’t come as a surprise to local buyers.
Gardening is well known to afford physical and mental health benefits, but it’s not just the green space which makes owning one so attractive – it’s also the potential it offers, and a good-sized garden opens up a wealth of opportunities to prospective buyers, even if you’re not particularly green-fingered yourself.
“With us all confined to our homes in various lockdowns, a property’s garden has become hugely more valuable,” says Jamie Minors, managing director of Minors & Brady estate agents, which has branches across Norfolk and Suffolk.
“What’s important is size, privacy, and ‘entertainment’ areas for our own uses – mainly man caves, converted sheds into bars and, of course, hot tubs.”
Getting your garden looking tip-top ahead of any viewings is an absolute must, if you're trying to sell your property - and especially so if your outdoor space has untapped potential.
Here are a few tips on how to make sure your garden, just like your house, is ready to view.
If you have one, your front garden will likely be the first thing new buyers see, so make sure you devote some time to bringing it up to scratch. A tidy, weed-free lawn, neat hedges and a well-defined path will look great in photos – even before viewers arrive – so keep it well-trimmed and cut away any overhanging shrubs or hedges to make access easy.
Make sure that any fences or walls you have are in good condition - and certainly still standing - as enclosed gardens are more sought-after for families and/or buyers with pets. In fact, if your garden is quite open, and overlooked by neighbours, it might be worth considering erecting some fences to help close it in.
For existing fences, a good lick of paint can work wonders – and you’ll be surprised at how much it can help improve the rest of the garden, too!
Set the scene
If your garden is big enough to allow you a table and chairs, and it’s a bright sunny day when you’re hosting viewings, then it’s a good idea to dress it up. Think of your garden like a room in your house and make it as welcoming as you can. Arrange the table and chairs, put out cushions, perhaps even place a bottle of wine and glasses nearby – it all helps to set the scene and encourage potential buyers to use their imaginations and envision themselves living there.
The same applies to large-scale kid’s toys, too. If you have a swing set or a play house, keep it out and well-placed to show what a nice family-friendly space your property offers.
Use all the space
For a lot of buyers, it’s not just what already exists at their potential new home, but what it could become, so it pays to be imaginative.
Do you have a barbecue and a slightly neglected patio? Why not dress it up as an outdoor kitchen? You could also transform a tired garden shed into a studio, garden room, reading nook or even a gym. It’s certainly cheaper than an extension and it rarely requires planning permission.
Keep it low maintenance
Unless they are particularly green-fingered or have a project in mind, most buyers don’t want to take on a demanding garden – it makes them anxious!
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Do what you can to make your garden look as low-maintenance as possible, which might mean getting rid of some of the more dominant design features, or at least offering to.
While colour appeals to the eyes, and no doubt creates a more enticing space, don’t go to extremes - just like your décor choices, garden design is very much down to personal taste. Having said that, if you do want to add some colour then hydrangeas, dahlias, lavender and most shade-loving shrubs are easy to care for and can help to create impact.
But if you can’t or don’t want to plant new shrubs into one of your flower beds then you could always add a few hanging baskets or potted plants. Not only will they be a great and colourful addition to the space, but they can move with you too once you’ve secured a buyer.
Finish off those little jobs
Take some time out to look at the details. Decking, paths, steps and PVC facings often need washing more frequently than we’d like to admit – especially after all the grime and grit of a harsh winter. Re-painting the garage door or shed and tidying up the letterbox probably won’t go unnoticed, either.
Keep it tidy
We can all be guilty of letting our gardens go – or should that be grow? – during the winter months, but if you’re looking to sell then a good tidy up really can work wonders. Rake away any debris from underneath trees, cut back any plants that are past their best and remove any bulky items – such as discarded garden toys, tools or unused furniture – to help emphasise the space.
And, once you’ve done it once, keep on top of it. A little bit of work here and there could save a mad panic ahead of viewings.
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