DO YOU WANT to sell your house this summer? The first impression counts.
According to a survey by the HomeOwners Alliance, 68% of home buyers believe that notch appeal is important when buying a home. A well-kept front yard, pathways and fences were highlighted as important alongside a well-painted facade.
“You only get one chance to make a first impression, and by sprucing up your front yard you can maximize the wow effect,” says Sam Mitchell, CEO of online real estate agency Strike.
“A few small changes could make your home more attractive to potential buyers. Take a day to wash your windows, mow the lawn, and pull weeds,” suggests Mitchell. “Repainting your front door, adding new hardware (mailbox, house number and door knocker) and freshening up fences can really make a difference to potential buyers.”
Hamptons agent Chris Husson-Martin adds, “When prospective buyers are greeted by an overgrown bed of thornbushes and dead or dying plants, they will immediately assume the home will be presented similarly.” Want to maximize your home’s appeal?
Morris Hankinson, Director of Hopes Grove Nurseries (hopesgrovenurseries.co.uk), offers the following tips:
“If you have a lawn, this is one of the quickest and easiest solutions as it can change the look of your outdoor space. Keep your grass trimmed neatly—and regularly,” says Hankinson.
“If it’s been looking long and unloved after winter, pruning can expose some bald spots. Don’t buy expensive sod to fill in the gaps as grass seed ‘scraped’ with a rake and watered will quickly germinate and cover them now we have slightly warmer weather.
“Keep the edges of the lawn neatly trimmed and delineated. Sharp edges are another quick win that distracts from less than perfect gardening aspects.”
“Now, with a tidy lawn, all the untidy flower beds come out clearly. Remove weeds, dead plants, old foliage and trim overhanging or overgrown shrubs. Fill in any gaps with some new plants. Finally, consider adding a decorative mulch like bark or cocoa husks for a fitting finish to the show garden.
“If you’re not in a hurry to sell, gaps in your flower beds could be filled with some hardy annual bedding plants now that the ground is warming – these can be planted directly into your beds and borders as seeds.
“Opt for easy and quick varieties like cornflower, love in a fog, marigold, and the best of all groundcover space fillers – nasturtium.”
“Keep an eye out for discounted plants at nurseries and garden centers. Enthusiasts often sell their surplus at street stalls, church or school fairs, garden society sales, and boat shows. The key is not to be too picky, if it looks good, is healthy and cheap then there will be a turnaround.”
“Tired looking fences can give the impression of poor maintenance and discourage a potential buyer (or encourage them to make a cheeky bid). Let them all paint when they need it to bring your garden up to a good standard. Go darker with the color and any plants or elements you have will stand out with that effective dark background.”
“If you have a paved area, have it scrubbed or washed down and all leaves, weeds, algae and moss removed. Clean up any messy potted plants and anything else that looks out of place. Refresh the pots with new plants when they need it. If you don’t have pots, get some to lighten them up,” suggests Hankinson.
“Choose small clusters of smaller pots and place them on different tiers for best effect – maybe one on the ground, one on a brick, and the third on another inverted pot. They can be very effective and are a lot cheaper than some bigger ones.”
“That’s really good thinking – at its simplest, it might be planting some happy flowers or herbs on an old pair of rubber boots or cooking pots. At the other extreme, perhaps, would be a seating area made from upcycled waste pallets. Use your imagination – the only rule here is that it should be free or almost free.”
“Remember, you sell, don’t stay. Nothing overly ambitious is required here, just quality window dressing. Show your property in its very best light without sacrificing a new water feature or patio.”
Finally, Hankinson’s top saving tip: do these tasks yourself. “If you hire an individual or a company to do your yard work, the labor will certainly be the largest part of the cost – and therefore you are the biggest savings!”