Whatever the weather is doing, it’s clear to anyone who is contemplating selling their house that there’s still a chill wind blowing through the property market.
So what can you do to improve your chances of netting a buyer over someone who has a similar house for sale two streets away?
Well, once you’ve painted everything in sight magnolia, dotted vases of flowers all over the house, baked home-made bread and brewed a pot of fresh coffee, you might do well to turn your attention outside.
Demand for outdoor space is growing and a delightful garden could mean the difference between a disappointing near miss and a successful sale.
But where to start?
Keep it neat
Whether it’s the size of a postage stamp or a football pitch, nothing screams ‘dump’ so much as an untidy garden.
Prospective buyers will be less than impressed with your overgrown ‘nature reserve’. Keep on top of the mowing and trimming and this will also make your garden look bigger.
They may be an heirloom, they may have been a present from your nearest and dearest but garden gnomes and pink plastic flamingos need to migrate into the shed. Embrace minimalism, avoid tackiness and you’ll be on much safer territory.
Take a seat
You want your potential buyers to be able to imagine themselves enjoying the alfresco life in your garden. A few carefully chosen items of garden furniture - maybe a sun-lounger, a table and a couple of chairs - will give that relaxed, sociable feel.
Be practical. Tailor your garden to the people it’s aimed at. If yours is a family house create a garden with plenty of lawn space for children to play on. If it’s a bachelor pad that you’re selling, try to create a low-maintenance outdoor area.
Plastic toys, chewed dog bones and rusty bikes may be a fact of your family life but they won’t do you any favours left strewn all over the lawn. Build a shed or find somewhere to hide clutter. If you don't have a lot of space, then you can buy cheap garden storage units from DIY stores.
You can go green in your garden without necessarily having green fingers. Being eco-friendly outdoors is easy-peasy because you can recycle virtually everything. Set up a compost heap and impress potential buyers with how clued up you are on green issues.
Getting the WOW factor – fast
When a quick fix is required, clear a patch of weeds, invest in some colourful plants and shrubs, pop them in and water well. But don’t be fooled into buying lots of different varieties or your garden will end up looking like a dog’s dinner. Pansies, hydrangeas, peonies and chrysanthemums all make great border plants.
Get professional help!
If you don’t know your daisies from your deadly nightshade and all of the above just makes you despair then cut your losses and bring in the professionals.
It will help to keep the economy afloat and you can think of it as an investment in the future value of your home.