External space can often be a weak spot when it comes to selling property. Flaking paint, cracked paving stones, a garden that looks difficult to maintain, a shed that’s falling to pieces – none of these things are going to give your potential buyer the right impression. So when you’re putting together your budget for moving, don’t forget to set aside some cash for external repairs and decoration. It doesn’t always have to be expensive – in fact, a lot can be achieved for relatively little – but it is definitely worth it…
Doors, Walls and Windows
Firstly, take a look at these main elements. Do walls need to be repainted, or are there cracks in the plaster that can be easily repaired? Doors should be freshly painted (in a relatively sensible colour), as should window frames and windowsills. Any broken window panes or loose putty should be addressed. Small things can improve a first impression - like making sure that all windows have been recently washed, and that door fixings are clean.
Roofs and Guttering
An entirely new roof may be out of the question or indeed unnecessary; but if there are a few loose or missing slates these should be replaced. Broken guttering gives the impression that there’s a good deal more work to be done, and grass growing from guttering might undermine buyers’ confidence in your attention to the property’s upkeep. All these things can be addressed very simply and without great cost to yourself.
Gardens, Balconies and Patios
Outside space is always a real advantage when it comes to selling a house or flat, so do make sure that you make the most of what you’ve got. For example, even the smallest of balconies can add value to a tiny apartment – the addition of plant pots or a barbecue, for example, will let your buyer envision what that space would add to their living experience, whether that be lazy Sunday barbecues or the ability to grow fresh herbs for cooking.
Grass should be freshly mown, borders trimmed and any flower beds weed-free. If you have paving make sure that it’s free from weeds and moss, and do ensure fences are in good repair. If your garden shed is on its last legs, it might be a better idea to take it down yourself rather than let the buyer dwell on the hassle of removing it.
If you have a larger garden, especially one with tall trees, make sure that they’ve been recently trimmed, and that any old specimens have been checked for health – and make sure that you let your buyer know that you’ve done this, so that any fears about falling trees in high storms can be allayed.
Look with fresh eyes
Remember that you’re presenting your property so that others can imagine how their life would be in it – you might have never used your outside space, but that doesn’t mean that others won’t, so give them the visual prompts they need to start thinking about your house as their future home.