Guild Blog: The Top 10 Ways to Add Value to your Garden

It is difficult for a garden to look beautiful in Winter however it can look tidy and have a little colour.
Ideas of jobs you could be doing – 

Generally tidy your garden –                                                                                    Get rid of the dead Christmas tree. 
Rake/sweep up any leaves left from Autumn. 
Cut back anything that you can, at this time of year. 
Tie back any loose branches or climbers. 
Make sure your bins look tidy. 
Kill any moss. 
Plant some winter colour – winter pansies, early flowering Spring bulbs etc

Now is the time to plan the changes you would like to make to your outside space in 2019 …

Before selling your home, most people try to spruce up their property by decluttering and doing a thorough clean. But many people forget the area that gives a first impression is the garden. We all like to get outside and enjoy a sunny summer afternoon, so make sure your garden looks appealing for a potential buyer. Here are some easy tips to follow to make your garden add value to your property. 

1. Spruce up the space 

Just like inside your home, some decluttering and garden maintenance can add value to your property. Always start with tidying and key maintenance. 

“Depending on their situation, buyers could see the garden as entertaining space, a hobby, the place where their children will play, space for their pets, a source of food or a combination of any or all of these, so it is crucial that sellers place as much importance on the presentation of the garden as they would on the presentation of the house,” says Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris in Cambridgeshire. “Good gardens can add value to a home and poorly kept gardens can detract from it.”

Susie Davies from Debbie Fortune Estate Agents in Somerset recommends maintaining the lawns. “A manicured lawn always enhances the appearance of a garden and makes it look bigger,” she says. 

Lee Hussell from Webbers in Devon has some practical advice. “The first place to start is to give your garden a good tidy up. Winters are never kind to our gardens and damage may have been caused to fences and trellis or maybe the larger shrubs and trees. Any dead growth can be cut back and fallen leaves and other debris can be removed and cleared away.”

2. Add some seasonal colour  

Once your garden is tidy, it is time to make it into a key selling point that potential buyers will love. 

“When showing your home, you want the buyers to visualise living there, so have pot plants filled with flowers to give it some colour and the lawn mowed to make it look tidy,” suggests Celeste Hannah from Hamilton Parkers in Hampshire. “First impressions count, and in the spring and summer months, you want to show your garden off to its full potential. This will definitely add perceived value and gives you a better chance to maximise the selling price.”

Pretty Garden with trees

3. Focus on what is seen first 

Struggling for time or budget? Start where your potential buyer will start and focus on this area. 

“Never forget kerb appeal, and, more relevant in the online age, photo appeal. The first impression really does count, so always start with the front garden,” says Martin Moore from Morris Marshall & Poole in Wales. 

4. Add a key selling point 

A well-maintained garden will make sure a buyer is not put off your property, but something more can make them want to buy your property above any others they have seen. 

“A nice summer house is a garden goal for many people,” says Phil Pritchard from Williams & Goodwin in North Wales. “It often feels like an extra room away from the main property and can be utilised as anything from a place to relax, an office, a man cave or a playroom for the children.” 

There are ways to maximise the impact of an existing summer house, too. “If you have a summer house, it is worth making sure the wood has been treated so that it is weather proof and you can easily give it a face lift by adding a touch of colour,” suggests Andrew Lodge from Andrew Lodge Estate Agents in Surrey. “There are so many good quality garden paints available in neutral tones.”

Don’t forget the impact that a child’s opinion may have on the decision makers, advises John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse in North Yorkshire. “Buyers may love the idea of a summerhouse or man cave, and of course children will be drawn to tree houses or play areas.” 

Simon Miller at Holroyd Miller suggests caution, though. “The truth is that some people like hot tubs or summer houses and some don’t. Additions of this kind shouldn’t be thought of in terms of re-sale, however, well looked-after and presented in the right way, they will certainly present something unique and a lifestyle image that potential buyers can see the value in.”

5. Add some shed-quarters 

Sheds are not only practical, but they are coming back into fashion. They can be used from anything as a useful place to store bikes and lawnmowers to a garden retreat. 

“By putting up a good-sized shed, you are adding a useful storage space for gardeners and families with outdoor furniture and even toys,” says Andrew Lodge. 

Many people choose to work from home, and an insulated shed could provide the perfect home office. John Newhouse says: “Additional space in the shape of pods, studios or cabins provide potential work space options for house hunters.” 

Painting a garden fence

6. A little paint goes a long way 

If you’re looking to spend less to add value to your property, don’t underestimate the impact of a good coat of paint on fences, sheds and other wood in the garden. 

“Adding value to your home through the garden doesn’t have to break the bank. If you have decking or a perimeter fence, you could freshen it up with a coat of paint. If the garden is presentable it will be more attractive to viewers and could increase the price a potential buyer is willing to pay for your home,” suggests Jared Thomas from Emsleys Estate Agents in West Yorkshire. 

7. Think about the patio 

“We recommend investing in good quality patio, paving or decking,” says Andrew Lodge. “Having a professional job done will enhance the overall appearance of your outside space. Decent sized patio and decking areas add value as they are great for entertaining and alfresco dining. Adding some good lighting outside will also enable people to make the most of the garden on those long summer nights.”

8. Style your garden with furniture 

You wouldn’t show a room to a potential buyer without any furniture in it, so why show a garden without a table and chairs? 

“Depending on the size of the garden and who it will appeal to, ensure that the lawns are cut or the terrace is swept and ideally have the garden furniture set up so buyers can imagine themselves sitting out enjoying an al fresco evening,” said John Newhouse. 

small dog in garden

9. Secure the garden 

If the people viewing the house have pets, they will want to see a garden that is fully secured to avoid an escaped dog. 

“It is important that you invest in secure fencing, walls or gates,” advises Andrew Lodge. “People like to feel secure in their gardens so that they can relax. It also makes the garden more appealing to those with young children and pets.”

10. Make it private 

If your home is overlooked by other homes or gardens, it’s a good idea to give the idea of privacy to the garden. If it isn’t too expensive, add hedges or trees in key spots. It will make the potential buyers be able to imagine themselves enjoying a peaceful afternoon outside in the summer. 

Susie Davies advises that ornamental trees have a pleasing, aesthetic effect in a garden. 

Are you looking for a new home with a beautiful garden? Contact a Guild Member today to start your property search. 

Top Tips for Protecting your Home in the Winter

Top Tips for Protecting your Home in Winter

  • Check the roof Have any broken or missing tiles or slates replaced and other damage repaired.  Keeping the rain out is one of the most important things you can do.
  • Clear out the gutters. Clear out leaves, moss and debris from rainwater gutters, downpipes and gullies.  Reset any displaced joints.
  • Check the roof insulation. Birds, squirrels, rats and mice can displace the insulation in the roof, and so can we when rummaging about. Check the insulation and consider increasing it, as this could help keep down your heating bill. It needs to be at least 10-11 inches (270mm) thick of insulation.
  • Boiler Serviced. Have the boiler and heating serviced and check that all thermostats and programmers are working and set at a sensible temperature. And when the house is unoccupied, turn the temperature down. Again this will save on heating bills.
  • Don’t get too cold. If you have a large old brick or stone house with thick walls, don’t let the structure get too cold as it will take a lot of energy to rebuild a comfortable temperature. Doing so may cause condensation on the walls, which sometimes results in mould and spores. These can prove a hazard particularly for those with breathing difficulties and should be avoided.
  • Draught proofing.  As to keeping the heat in your home, ensure outside doors and the windows fit well and consider fitting draught proofing strips where there are gaps between the frames.  Keep doors inside the house closed to reduce heat loss from unnecessary air circulation.
  • Don’t forget the curtains. Draw them after dark and use thicker ones if windows are single-glazed.
  • South facing windows. Keep south-facing curtains open during the day to take advantage of the sunshine, which will help heat the house.
  • Check the woodwork. Check the woodwork on windows and repair now if necessary. Otherwise, there will be a risk of penetrating damp affecting the interior of the house.
  • Check the paintwork. Check the paintwork on the window frames and redecorate before the weather deteriorates.  Thorough preparation of the surfaces and use of good quality paint is key to providing a durable finish.
  • Bleed your radiators. A great way to warm up your home is to bleed your radiators. This releases any trapped air, allowing hot water to fill every part of your radiator and warm your home more efficiently.
  • Find your stopcock. Make sure you know where your water stopcock is located. If you suffer a burst pipe you’ll be happy you found it in advance!
  • Create a power-cut kit. Be prepared for the possible winter power cuts by putting together a power-cut kit i.e. torches / blankets etc.
  • Sweep your chimneys. If your chimneys are in use, make sure that they get swept every year. This will remove the build up of dirt and grime from your chimney walls.
  • Smoke Alarm Check. Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are in full working order.
  • Emergency Numbers. Keep a list of useful numbers handy in case of emergency. Include your plumber, gas installer, electrician and doctor

 

AND IF YOU ARE AWAY FROM YOUR HOME….

  • Leave your heating on for at least an hour a day while you are away from home
  • In severe weather, or if severe weather is forecast, you should leave your heating on day and night at your usual temperature setting
  • Check that loft insulation is laid over, and under pipes in the loft
  • Consider asking a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away. This will mean that, if you do suffer a burst pipe, it will be detected as soon as possible. Make sure that they know where the stop tap is located.
  • If high winds are forecast, make sure objects such as garden furniture or ladders are fully secured

 

Guild Blog: How can you tell if an area has good community spirit?

Both Ripon and Thirsk have shown true Community Spirit over October and November with the Halloween Pumpkin Trail and the Commemoration of 100 years since the end of The Great War.  Check out our page to see what the local area has been getting up to … https://joplings.com/lifestyle-magazine-silhouette-soldiers-by-john-durkin/

 

Buying a property and moving to a new area can be a daunting prospect. There is nothing that will make your new house feel like a home like making new friends and getting involved in local events. Being involved in the community can bring a sense of belonging, fill your social calendar, and make it easy to find friends. But how can you tell if an area has a good community spirit before you move there?

 

Visit local community centres

Take time to visit local community centres, sports clubs, church halls, cafés, and local shops to see what’s going on. Find the notice boards for information on local groups and events.

Meet local people

Talk to the local people on the high street. If they are happy to stop and help a stranger, it’s a sign that the community is open, friendly and trusting.

Check local social media pages

A lot of community planning has now moved online. Try searching for Facebook groups and small websites with the name of the town or village. Look at how active the pages are to see if people are engaged.

Research local events

Pick up a local newspaper to find out about upcoming local events. Plus, it’s a good way to find out about the crime rate in the area.

Contact us

Speak to the local Guild Member, as they will know the area like the back of their hand and will have a finger on the pulse of local activities. Be sure to quiz them during a property viewing, or pop in to see them when you’re in the area.

The Guild is a network of the best 800 independent estate agents around the country. Find out why you should choose them to sell your home. Click here to find your closest Guild Member.

 

Guild Blog: Buying and Selling Over Christmas

Should I put my home on the market now or wait until after Christmas?

 

Many people think that trying to move house over the festive period is a mistake, but that is no longer the case. People have more free time and motivation to make a change in the New Year, so it can be a great time to buy and sell. Guild agents share their top tips.

 

Make your property visible online 

If you are selling, your home needs to be listed and visible on all the major property portals (like Rightmove) over Christmas. People have more free time and will start to browse properties online over the festive season.

Ailsa Mather from Andrew Coulson says: “We are listing a number of properties now because statistically, property portals show that there is a substantial spike on Boxing Day. We appreciate Christmas is a busy time for families, so we operate a ‘Do Not Disturb’ policy, that is clicking the property on the market just before Christmas but refraining from viewings until after the New Year.”

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller agrees that sellers need to take advantage of this busy time. “Once Christmas Day is done and Boxing Day leftovers eaten, what do people looking for a New Year move do? Start looking for a new home. Don’t miss the opportunity to sell your house during the holidays; what could be nicer than viewing a very festive home?”

Rightmove say that Boxing Day is their busiest all year, and Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris agrees that it is equally busy in their office.

“Statistics have shown over recent years that the busiest days of the year for internet traffic on property portals are the days immediately following Christmas and Boxing Day. Our own evidence appears to confirm this phenomenon, showing that during the period from Christmas Eve 2016 up to and including New Year’s Day, we received over 130 telephone calls and 170 email leads from property portals. We even received calls and emails on Christmas Day.”

But why is this period so busy? Stuart Mills from Rickman Properties has an idea. “The reason? All those lovely new phones and iPads. It is also one of the few holidays that the family will be all together and most likely at home. This means that any discussions about a move can be had, viewings can be done with all the decision makers present, adults and children, and with a coming New Year, what better than a new home?” he asks.

Winter weather 

Spring is a popular time to buy and sell, but winter has its benefits, too.

“Sometimes stepping into a bright, warm, cosy home on a bitterly cold day or drizzly evening can have just as positive an effect as viewing a property on a warm summer day,” said Ben Whiting from Victorstone.

Abby Wheeler from Keats Estate Agents agrees.

“If you walk into a property in the depths of winter, when the sky is moody and the nights are drawing in at 4pm and you still love it, imagine how much you will love it in the summer? If in winter you can see yourself living there, it’s a keeper.”

She has some tips for winter viewings, too. “Always arrange viewings in the daylight. If you arrange a viewing after work at 6pm, you won’t get the true experience of the property, especially if there are grounds to explore. It is important to view them before the night draws in.”

 

Motivated to move 

Those people who are looking to move in December and January are committed to moving quickly. It’s a great idea to make the most of this.

Richard Stovold from Seymours said: “Although there are downsides to house hunting over the festive season, the benefits can outweigh the drawbacks. Houses that are available for sale over the Christmas period have often either been on the market for a while or are very new to the market. This means that sellers are likely to be eager to secure a sale, giving buyers greater control as they find themselves in a much better bargaining position.”

Simon Davies from Norman F Brown completely agrees.

“The December and the Christmas period is a great time to try to sell your property as the quality of the buyer is higher than at any other time of the year,” he said. “If someone is out house hunting around Christmastime, it generally means they are motivated to buy quickly. The speculative, non-motivated viewings decrease as people are busy preparing for Santa and won’t go out to view unless they must. There also tends to be less properties for sale around this time of year and therefore less competition to compete against for a buyer’s attention.”

Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden agrees that there is a much higher number of motivated buyers and sellers, and the ‘the viewing to sale ratio’ is much higher at other times of year. “From a buyer’s point of view, there is not so much competition and the sellers are probably motivated to move,” he said.

Think about photography 

If you’re thinking of making the most of the Christmas attention, it’s a good idea to think ahead. “Try and instruct your agent prior to putting up any Christmas decorations,” says Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund. “This prevents the photos from looking dated if it doesn’t sell instantly.”

 

Ready for the New Year rush 

In the New Year, there will be a rush of people looking to buy and sell. Why not beat the rush by getting your sale registered or getting to know the market in December?

“January 2nd is one of the busiest days for us at Drivers & Norris,” said Steve Barron. “There aren’t likely to be too many viewings happening over the Christmas period, but it’s nevertheless a great time to get some viewings lined-up for the New Year.

“Many sellers hold off until after the New Year and miss out on the busy online searching that takes place between Christmas and New Year. Additionally, because there are fewer sellers listing their property over Christmas, those who do benefit from having less competition than they typically would have in the New Year or spring.”

Don’t underestimate the time that it takes for your home to go on the market, either.

Steve Wiggins from Bond Residential said: “Given the time it takes for an estate agent to prepare the marketing material for a property including taking photos, preparing floorplans and commissioning an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), we advise our clients to actually start the process now so that they are ahead of the competition and ready to take advantage of these peak periods.”

It is a great time to develop a strategy with your Guild agent to make sure your home launches to market in the best possible way.

“We are currently running a ‘do not disturb’ campaign which means we are preparing properties to market with EPC, floor plan and images before the decorations go up and then launching them to market over the festive period,” explained John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse.

“We will then start arranging viewings in the New Year when the household returns to usual. In January 2017, we arranged more viewings on the first day back than in the whole of December,” he revealed.

It’s not essential to wait until spring to sell, agrees Celeste Hannah from Hamilton Parkers. “Most sellers wait until spring and then there is more supply and more competition,” she said. “Whereas over the Christmas season, there is less supply but still high demand. By selling your home over the Christmas season, you are more likely to achieve a better selling price than you would trying to sell against the flurry of stock in the spring market.

“My tip for house hunting over the Christmas season is to contact local agents and see what stock they have ready to launch over the festive period, as most agents hold back stock to launch over the Christmas holidays. This way you may get first refusal and will get to register your interest first.”

 

The property market is still active at Christmas 

Take our word for it: people are still looking to move, even on Christmas Eve.

“We have found that year on year we have improved with agreed sales figures in December,” said Laura Scott from Cooke & Co. “I am unsure if this is to do with investors in recent years trying to secure a bargain purchase, believing that anyone on the market at this festive time of year will be desperate to sell and more likely to accept an offer, but we have also seen a vast improvement with first time buyers agreeing sales too.”

Tim Goodwin from Williams & Goodwin says it is never too close to Christmas. “Having sold property at 4:30pm on Christmas Eve before now, I have no hesitation in recommending that potential sellers should place their property on the market sooner rather than later,” he says.

“I did have a viewing one year on December 20th, with the completion due the next day. The sole purpose of the viewing was to measure the oven to ensure it was big enough to fit the turkey in, so make sure you take your tape measure to the butchers as well as the viewing if looking to complete before Christmas Day.”

 

Are you thinking of buying or selling during the Christmas period?  Why not contact us on 01765 694800 or 01845 522680 for your Free Market Appraisal.

 

If you are thinking of moving this Christmas, why not look at what properties our Sales Department have on the market right now!