May’s a time for rejoicing: the clouds are finally (finally!) dissipating, the days are growing longer, and – more practically – we’re now well and truly into a new tax year. All of which means it’s no surprise that the spring months see a big uptick in house sales.
This time last year saw an eight percent rise in the number of residential completions compared to the month before; from May to June 2016 the number of completions rose a further 23 percent. After a quiet first few months of the year, the property market heats up in May, and an already competitive market becomes even more so.
So how can you help improve your chances of a quick, successful sale? There are a wealth of guides online that suggest primping and preening everything in your home. But the smartest sellers get out into the garden – and are richly rewarded for it.
The front garden is the first impression any prospective buyer will have of a property, so it’s important to make sure it shines. Decorate it delicately with a collection of plants and flowers that will heighten the senses – consider it the outdoors equivalent of baking a fresh loaf of bread so that the smell wafts through your indoor rooms.
First start with the basics: wash any paths and flagstones, making sure they’re spick and span and free of weeds, mould or dust. First impressions really count, and an untidy garden gives off the impression of an unloved home. Hide your bins behind trellises, preferably ones well-spread with fast-growing climbers such as clematis or hydrangea. A multitude of sins can be hidden behind a green wall, and you’ll also be bang on trend with the vertical gardening craze.
If you have a pathway in your front or back garden, make sure to plant fragrant florals or scented plants by the gateway or the back door. Low lavender hedges, along which prospective buyers can run their hands to release their fragrance, can pique the senses and place people in a better mood as they cross the threshold of a home.
Likewise, it’s important to draw the eye towards the front door: placing colourful flowers like antirrhinum (snapdragons) at varying heights breaks up the garden and adds intrigue, while hanging baskets can provide drama in planting and are a relatively simple, low-maintenance attraction for the garden.
If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with a vast expanse of lawn, break it up with planting in grand, decorative pots, some paving stones that can provide a stepping stone path up your lawn, or simple free-standing stone water features. These bigger ticket, hard landscaping items involve significantly more outlay than a handful of flowers, but it’s important to be aware of the bigger picture: a £100 water feature could result in an extra £5,000 on your asking price.
On the day of any viewings, you’ll need to make sure the lawn is well-mown, flowers are deadheaded, and displays primped to show off their best side. It’s eminently possible to have a home sold before the buyer steps through the front door: all it takes is a little imagination, and some hard work, to create a garden they’ll want to own in an instant.