Tag Archives: garden

A garden outside a house with a lot of flowers and plants

On HomeTruths we have talked about how seasonal photography can make your advert look dated and out of season. What if you also make big changes to your home, and don’t change the photography? A fatal error! While it is a little illogical to do major renovation work while your home is on the market, several things can happen – you might withdraw from the market for some time, and take a six month hiatus, as an example.

During that time, you do a little renovation work; the living room gets painted, you put in a veranda in the garden. The lawn is starting to frustrate you, so you add stones instead to save you having to mow each weekend. You forget about moving, and enjoy your hassle free garden and clean living room.

And then the estate agent rings. Are you going to go back on the market?

Yes, of course you are. The break is over; you’re ready for new buyers and a fresh outlook.

Your property gets put back into the estate agents window and online, and you eagerly wait for new potential buyers to flock to your front door. But wait…have you told the agent that you’ve altered your home? Even just a little change – a painted room, or a new front door – means the photography needs to be adjusted too. If not, your buyers will wonder if they have walked in to the neighbour’s home, and you’ll be presented with awkward questions. “Didn’t you have a garden?!

Don’t forget to let your agent know the specifics. If you make changes while your home is on the market too, buyers need to know what they’re coming to see.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

Gardens generally look awful at this time of year; the grass is patchy, the flower beds are covered in leaves, and your patio is covered in some slimy stuff that you’re sure wasn’t there last year. In addition, family gardens may be scattered with unloved toys, a rusty barbecue, a whirligig showing signs of wear and the discarded Christmas tree, which you haven’t got round to taking to the tip yet.

But it’s spring time! The buyers are back, and they are raring to view; your house is on their list, so with only a few days’ notice, what can you do to make your garden look its best once again? Follow my 10 point action plan to help your garden really sell your house:

1.  Take out anything that is letting your garden down; toys, rubbish, dead plants, washing line, dog chews; anything and everything that wouldn’t be there if your garden was in a gardening magazine!  Throw it, give it away, or hide it in your shed or garage.

2.  Clean every single plant pot, plant holder, window box, bird table, and anything that needs the winter dullness replacing with spring shine.

3.  Now get out your gardening tools, and turn your attention to the flower beds; turn them over well, getting rid of any weeds, old plants, any debris, and cover with a layer of good quality bark chippings, so you don’t have to keep doing it.

4.  Pruning is next: take your secateurs to your trees and bushes, to make sure they look neat and tidy, with no straggling ends.  If you’re not sure a shrub is adding anything to your garden, perhaps because it’s too old and looking a bit sorry for itself, maybe it’s time to send it to the garden in the sky.  Be brutal, your garden will thank you for it.

5.  Hire a power washer, and clean off your brickwork, patio slabs, paths, decking and anything else that needs a good scrub down.

6.  Re-paint and re-stain anything you think might look better with a refresh; your garden gate, fence, shed, all would look much better if given some tlc.

7.  Now is the fun part!  Go to your local garden centre or DIY store and treat your garden to lots of colour; don’t go mad with lots of different colours; try to stick to two or three key and complementary colours and buy plants for pots, bedding plants for your beds, and some nice new pots to dress your patio and paths.

8.  If there’s room, a bay tree, or shaped conifer, look very smart when placed either side of your front door, and really help to define your entrance.

9.  Look critically at your patio furniture; is it good enough to stay?  If it’s of a good quality, and can be successfully spruced up, then spend some elbow grease bringing it back to its former glory.  If on the other hand it’s broken, split or otherwise just not salvageable, get rid of it and replace it with a nice new set.  The value it will add to your garden will be many times your investment.

10. Open your parasol; is it green with mould and on a skew?  Time to replace it then.  Unless it’s blowing a gale, have it up for viewings, to help your viewers imagine themselves sitting there in our oh so fragile English summer.

And there you have it – follow these ten steps and your viewers will be wowed into an offer!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

A house near the lake with a lot of trees

First impressions count for a lot in the property market, and the garden can often get neglected. Here on Home Truths we think the outdoor presentation of your property is vital, after all, it’s what catches a potential buyer’s attention. A lot of people take care of their garden in the summer only to skip maintaining it as the colder months approach. Yet if your home is on the market, keeping your garden tidy in the autumn and winter is just as important.

Here are some of the things you can do to keep your garden tidy throughout autumn and winter:

Give your lawn a good sweep

If you leave a dense layer of leaves on your lawn, they will kill the grass underneath, resulting in problems in the spring. If your garden is regularly covered in leaves, one of the best things you can do is to make a leaf mould. Alan Titchmarsh recommends stowing damp leaves away for a year in a black bin liner until they become a crumbly brown mould that is ready to use.

Early autumn is also the best time for lawn care—sow fresh seeds on bare patches, trim plants, and remove invasive weeds.

Start sowing plants for the cooler months

Since growth slows in autumn and almost stops completely during winter, early autumn is the best time to get rid of those ugly, empty containers and reuse them with plants that grow in the colder weather like pansies and viola, bulbs like grape hyacinths, and shrubs like euonymus, evergreen sedges, and evergreen ferns.

You can also start growing some winter vegetables. Good winter vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, all of which flourish in the cooler temperatures.

Onions, shallots, and leeks are also great choices, and these can be planted in the garden in autumn ready for an early spring harvest.

Apart from getting started with planting, The Telegraph also suggests you start moving tender plants like canna, citrus, and young olives indoors or to covered areas. Less hardy plants need winter protection, so make sure you have covering materials like fleece.

Feed your plants and improve your soil

Autumn days are your last chance to add fertiliser into potted plants before the cold months begin. iNews state that it’s best to use low-nitrogen fertilisers, to avoid soft growth that will make your plants more vulnerable to disease and frost. These kinds of fertilisers promote robust frost-resistant growth, perfect for winter.

Autumn is also the most important season to improve your soil. Besides adding fertiliser, adding organic material like compost, shredded leaves, and organic nutrients help provide the soil microbes with food, and protect the soil from being too bare during winter.

Sort out your pond, fountain, and bird feeders

If you have water installations like ponds or fountains, now is the best time to scoop out leaves that may have blown into them. Remove any pond plants that have died, too, to prevent them from rotting and sinking to the bottom, which can upset the ecological balance of the pond. If your garden pond does not contain any fish, you can cover it with plywood or a tarp. Don’t forget to turn off the pumps and filters for the winter, as they can freeze and damage the equipment. Take down bird boxes and empty them as old nesting materials, unfertilised eggs, and other debris that may carry diseases. Make sure you also clean out feeders and regularly refill them.

Clean your garden shed, sharpen your tools, and check your fences

Don’t think maintaining a garden ends with the plants and soil. Your shed is still part of your garden. Keep it neat and tidy by sorting through your tools, cleaning them, and repairing or replacing any that have become damaged.

Don’t forget your fences, too. Check for any shifting in the soil, cracks, or any insect infestation. If any of these are present, it is best to replace your fence with pressure-treated panels to prevent any damage in the future. The bulk of the garden fences showcased on Screwfix come with a manufacturer’s guarantee, which shows how modern fences are much better equipped to last longer. Besides ensuring your fences are made of good-quality materials, make sure you pick a design that will complement your garden and potentially increase the value of your home.

Like the old adage says, first impressions last. And if the first thing a potential homebuyer sees is a poorly kept lawn, a rotten fence, and a patchy garden, the top quality designed interior of your home could be irrelevant.

AUTHOR BIO: Emerson Rosenzweig is a marketer by profession and is based in Bristol, UK. Having grown up with a passion for all things landscaping and gardening, Emerson appreciates the importance of maintaining a beautiful garden not just for boosting property value, but also for health and wellness. When he’s not at work or tending to his garden, Emerson enjoys visiting the national arboretum and going for long runs.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

Backgammon board game set on a storage box stool in front of the fireplace

Selling a house in the wintertime is never easy.  Your garden is looking far from its best, dogs and children are wont to bring in mud and leaves, and everything looks so grey.   I’ve put together a list of 10 Top Tips to help you market your home more successfully during a typical soggy English winter:

1. Have a strict rule with boots and shoes – off at the front door then away out of sight.

2. Have your carpets cleaned if necessary to make sure they are looking their best.

3. Keep muddy wet dogs out of the house – in the car or with a neighbour. A non-doggy lover will be very sensitive to any aromas of wet dog.

4. Have your outside hard areas professionally cleaned.  Getting rid of leaves and debris, and power-washing any grubby areas will really help your garden look well cared for.

5. Put away your garden furniture if it is plastic or wood; if it’s metal, you can leave it out so long as it doesn’t look too forlorn.  Make sure tables and chairs are arranged nicely, and store your parasol away for next year.

6. Place lots of bird feeders around your garden at strategic areas, outside windows.  Your viewers will be enchanted to see all the wild birds feeding on them.

7. Keep your home warm and cosy at all times, ready for a viewing.  If you have a real fire, keep it laid ready for lighting, and have all your side lamps lit throughout the house.  Don’t shut your curtains until at least 8pm, to give any drive-by viewers the chance to see how welcoming your home looks from outside.

8. Stop all viewings over Christmas; your home never looks its best covered in Christmas decorations with your living room dominated by the tree.  At the very least, it will give you a break whilst you’ve got so much to do.

9. Offer viewers a hot drink and a comforting treat, like a piece of homemade gingerbread.

10. If possible, dress beds with darker coloured bedding sets, and drape with blankets and quilts for a super cosy look.

Follow these ten tips and you could be moved by the time the snowdrops appear!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

A flower vase with candles on top of a table and a fireplace behind it

Trying to launch your home to the market during winter can be tricky. Buyers have Christmas on their minds, and keeping your home looking its best during this time is a challenge.

One of the first hurdles you’ll encounter for a winter launch is the photography. No one’s garden looks at its best at this time of year, and trying to make sure it looks attractive to buyers through photography is definitely difficult. Here are my top tips to make sure your winter photography looks good enough to attract viewings:

  • Use a professional – your agent may try to reassure you that he can take your photographs himself and save you some money, but it’s a false economy. Photographing properties is a specialist skill, and in the wintertime, even more so. Grey skies, bare branches, lack of light – these are all challenges for a professional photographer, never mind an eager amateur. From only around £300, you can make sure that your house and garden look pretty and appealing, so it’s well worth the investment.
  • Your outdoor images need to show as much greenery as possible – bare trees and bushes are not going to look great. Evergreen foliage is best, or your lawn, if it is still green.
  • Avoid photographing your garden in the snow, frost or rain. Low sunlight can look gorgeous, but it’s best left to the professionals to capture.
  • Don’t include any seasonal flowers in your images (unless you want to repeat the exercise in three months!). Snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses will all pinpoint how long you’ve been on the market within a few weeks, and may give your buyer a bad impression if your house is still on the market in the summer.
  • Inside, keep it looking as cosy as possible. Have all your lamps lit, and the fire too, if you have one.
  • Don’t ever have Christmas decorations in your property photographs – it will be distracting not to mention easily dateable!

Stick to these simple rules and your images will be good enough to tempt buyers to brave the rain and view!

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.

A garden with wilted plants and trees except for the green grass that lights up the place

Where do your viewings end? After you’ve shown them round the house, do you then take them into the garden?  The problem is with doing this, is that as they are already in their garden, possibly in sight of their car, it’s very easy to say goodbye and for them to simply go at that point.  what you really want them to do, is to have another look around the house alone, to give them chance to talk to one another in private, and ask their partner, “what do you think?’.

The answer, is to plan the viewing in advance. Decide where you want to start – I’d always advise the best downstairs room in the house, to create the maximum first impact (leave all the doors closed by the way, so they don’t wander into rooms in the ‘wrong’ order) – then plan the tour of the rest of the house in the most natural order.  Upstairs, it’s sometimes a good idea to show the bedrooms in reverse order, so not only does the master bedroom feel bigger by comparison, but you also end the house tour on a high note.  Then take them out into the garden, but come back in the same door you went out of.  If this is a patio door, you may find you need to ask them to take their shoes off, or leave slip covers by the door, so they don’t trail mud inside on a wet day.  Then go back into the best room downstairs, and say “why don’t you go and have a look around again by yourselves”; very few people will refuse this offer, and you could add “I’ll be waiting in the kitchen when you’re done but don’t hurry” so they know they can take their time, and that you won’t be following them round, so they are free to talk in private.

So, avoid the garden close; instead, take control of the viewing, make sure it lasts at least 20 minutes to half an hour and you will have much more chance of your viewers having the time and space to fall in love with your home.  Just as you once did.

If you’d like my help to sell your home more effectively, please answer a few short questions here and if I think I can help you, I’ll be in touch.