“These are very uncertain times and if you are selling a property you need to make it stand out from the rest. Most decisions are made within three minutes of viewing a house and realistically you have approximately a ten minute opportunity to make a good impression. Often a garden is the first thing a prospective buyer sees and some people won’t even go over the threshold if the garden is overgrown and uncared for. An uncut lawn is like an unmade bed; it looks awful and suggests you can’t be bothered. Always mow the lawn, trim the edges and cut the hedges, it looks like someone cares. People have a warm and fluffy attitude toward gardeners, they are perceived as nice people who care about plants and the environment. This will translate to looking after the house too. A nice patio or deck helps as people like to imagine themselves sitting out in the garden with a glass of wine.”
The property guru warns against going overboard when preparing a house for sale, “Be careful not to overspend and don’t go too personal. My Dad spent 3 years and tens of thousands of pounds on creating his own version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon around his 3 bed-roomed bungalow in Warrington. The new owners just knocked it all down.”
“Doing stuff in a garden always seems disproportionately expensive compared to renovating a house. Ten thousand pounds will go a long way toward a new kitchen, bathroom and maybe a new boiler or roof repairs but it doesn’t seem to get much done outside. There is an enormous amount of labour involved in outdoor work. People usually want to change the bathroom and kitchen to suit their lifestyle but a new herbaceous border probably won’t be a priority for most!
Martin has however, invested in his own garden. “I spent a lot of money about 10 years ago creating a pond with a deck over it which I can sit on. I have got an Acer bed, I love Acers and a little bit of grass for the children to play on. I even got an extension for the Broadband connection so I can sit outside with my laptop. I have self-published a couple of children’s books which I wrote for my own children and whilst sitting in my own little haven, it’s a magical place. I have an engraved stone which says, “An hour in the garden and life’s troubles just melt away.”
You can get more of Martin’s top tips from his book, ‘Teach Yourself; Making Money from Property’ from www.martinroberts.co.uk. His website also has details of Property Selling workshops and his fabulous children’s books.