Because first impressions count, say the experts. By Hannah Stephenson.
Looking to sell your house this summer? First impressions count for a lot, so it may be time to spruce up your front garden.
Some 68% of home buyers think ‘kerb appeal’ is important when buying a home, according to a HomeOwners Alliance survey. A well-maintained front garden, pathways and fences were highlighted as important, in addition to a well-painted frontage.
“A few small changes could make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Take a day to clean your windows, mow the lawn and get rid of any weeds,” Mitchell suggests. “Repainting your front door, adding new hardware (a letterbox, number, and knocker) and freshening up any fencing can really make a difference to potential buyers.”
Agent Chris Husson-Martin adds: “If prospective purchasers are greeted by an overgrown patch of brambles and dead or dying plants, they will immediately assume the house is similarly presented.”
Want to maximise your home’s kerb appeal? Morris Hankinson, Director of Hopes Grove Nurseries (hopesgrovenurseries.co.uk), offers the following tips…
1. Get your lawn in order
“If you have an area of lawn, then this is one of the quickest and easiest fixes, as it can transform the appearance of your outdoor space. Keep your grass neatly – and regularly – cut,” says Hankinson.
“If it’s been looking long and unloved after the winter, cutting it may expose some bald patches – don’t buy expensive turf to fill the gaps because a scattering of grass seed ‘scratched in’ with a rake and watered will germinate and cover them quickly now we have some warmer weather.
“Keep the edges of the lawn neatly trimmed and delineated. Sharp edges are another easy quick win, focusing the eye away from less perfect horticultural aspects.”
2. Tidy up your beds
“With a tidy lawn, any messy flowerbeds will now come into clear view. Take out weeds, dead plants, old foliage, and prune back overhanging or overgrown shrubs. Plug any gaps with some new plants. Finally, consider adding a decorative mulch, such as bark or cocoa shells for a proper show garden finish.”
3. Buy seeds, not plants
“If you’re not in a huge rush to sell, now that the soil is warming up, gaps in your flowerbeds could be filled with some hardy annual bedding plants – these can be planted as seeds directly into your beds and borders.
“Only £10 or less spent on a few packets of seed could be enough to keep your garden plugged with colour for most of the summer,” adds Hankinson. “Go for easy and fast types such as cornflowers, love in the mist, calendula and the best of all ground-covering space fillers –nasturtiums.”
4. Source plants economically
“Check for discounted plants in nurseries and garden centres. Enthusiasts often sell their surplus from roadside stalls, church or school fetes, horticultural society sales and boot fairs. The key is not to be too fussy, if it looks good, healthy and is cheap then it will do a turn.”
5. Spruce up woodwork
“Tired-looking fences can give the impression of poor maintenance and discourage a potential buyer (or encourage them to put forward a cheeky offer). Get them all painted if they need it to bring your garden up to a good standard. Go darker with the colour and any planting or features you have will pop out with this effective dark backdrop.”
6. Clean, tidy and dress a paved area
“If you have a paved area, get it scrubbed or power-washed off and remove any leaves, weeds, algae and moss. Tidy up any messy potted plants and anything else that looks out of place. Refresh the pots with new plants if they need it. If you don’t have pots then get some to brighten it up,” Hankinson suggests.
“Go for small groups of smaller pots, set them at different levels for best effect – maybe one on the ground, one on a brick and the third on another upturned pot. They can be very effective and will be a lot cheaper than a few larger ones.”
7. Use recycled accessories
“This really is a good mindset to get into – at its simplest, it could be planting up an old pair of wellies or saucepans with some cheerful flowers or herbs. At the other extreme, perhaps a seating area constructed from upcycled waste pallets. Let your imagination take hold – the only rule here is it should be free, or almost free.”
8. Keep it simple
“Remember that you are selling, not staying. Nothing overly ambitious is required here, just good quality window dressing. Show your property in its very best light, without splashing out on a new water feature or decking.”
9. Do it yourself
Finally, Hankinson’s best piece of money-saving advice: tackle these tasks yourself. “If you employ an individual or company to carry out your garden jobs, labour will certainly be the largest part of the cost – and therefore the biggest saving is you!”