Get your property ‘MARKET READY’ for selling ‘POST LOCKDOWN’ and into 2021
If you own a property with land and are currently ‘furloughed’ or having to work from home during lockdown guidelines, it is likely that you have had plenty of things to occupy your time over the past 13 weeks just keeping ahead of outside chores, let alone keeping your horses, pets and children happy with the restrictive ‘stay at home conditions.
So other than getting your horses ‘super fit ’ with lots of flatwork and taking your dogs and children for endless walks, Equus have some other suggestions of how to make the most of your time.– You’ve guessed it – Why not get to grips with some of those boring property maintenance jobs you have been putting off and putting off – We can’t guarantee you will feel personally cleansed, but you will certainly go some way to making your property ‘market ready’ should you decide to sell in the future.
First impressions always count and unquestionably a well maintained, well presented property (inside and out) will be far more attractive to potential buyers than one that is not. It also tends to make for a much smoother and quicker sale as well as often adding £££s to the selling price.
Let’s start at the beginning!
The Entrance Driveway: This is a buyers first and last impression of your property so try and ensure that the gates open properly and are not hanging off the hinges, if gates are electric ensure they are operational. All fencing of the surrounding gardens/grounds is in reasonable / good condition and not in disrepair. Also, if there are any potholes in the driveway try to fill either with gravel or road planings so as not to be an obvious hazard to drive over. On reaching the house the next thing that potential buyers will see is the front garden and paths which can in winter look particularly drab. Make sure your front garden is up to scratch by sweeping paths, painting any weather-beaten walls and mowing the lawn.
Vehicle parking is very important when you have a country or equestrian lifestyle, so make sure the parking areas at your property are obvious so that the incoming viewer gets the full benefit of knowing what space they have for parking and garaging their vehicles, plus horse box and tractor. If you own a number of vehicles, if possible, it’s worth parking some of them in another location at the property so that the designated parking areas are not overcrowded.
De clutter so that they add valuable extra storage space or otherwise to the main residence. Best to get a skip or go to your nearest boot fair to get rid of the ‘hoarded’ items.
The Property Exterior
Make sure the property looks well maintained and cared for from the outside, with windows cleaned and walls freshly washed to remove any dirt. The first seconds upon arriving are very important in terms of impacting the buyer’s decision. Keep entryways clutter-free and clean. Remove any wellington boots etc. from the front door area so potential buyers won’t trip over them. Make sure there is a door mat present for visitors to wipe their shoes.
The Property Interior
Tackle DIY jobs by making sure all small maintenance jobs have been made prior to putting your house on the market – such as fixing leaky taps and painting over scuff marks on the walls as spruced up fresh internal décor and paintwork goes a long way to creating a comfort factor for buyers. Then de-clutter the whole of the property either by ordering a skip, going to the local tip or choosing the least popular or unused room in the house to store all of your non-essential kit.
Let there be light: With shorter days during the winter months, it is crucial to maintain a good level of lighting in your home to make it inviting for visitors. It's important that you make sure all your bulbs are working to show off your home at its best. Safety conscious buyers may also be impressed by outside lights and security lights, so invest in those if you are able. If you have a wood burner open fireplace or Rayburn / Aga - It’s the time of the year for making the most of these assets. There’s nothing like having a roaring fire going or the Aga cranked up in the kitchen to create a warming feel. Buyers should be able to envisage themselves living in your home, so it pays to make it as inviting as possible. Plus, allow time for the house to warm up. If you know you're going to be rushing home from work to oversee a viewing, it's a good idea to set the heating timer so it comes at least an hour before the buyer arrives. Smell is also important, so putting out a diffuser or some freshly cut flowers works really well.
Messy, cluttered gardens can put off buyers, and make the surrounding grounds seem a lot smaller than they are as well as looking like a lot of maintenance work is needed. The winter weather can also tire garden furniture, and make it look unsightly.
If possible, clear patio furniture away or ensure items are securely covered. It’s worth spending a few hours trimming bushes, removing fallen leaves and dead plants, and, weather permitting, mowing the lawn to ensure a tidy outdoor landscape. If you have a paved or decked terrace ensure the area is jet washed to remove moss etc. and avoid viewers slipping up when walking in this area. To encourage as much light into the property as possible it is important that you cut back any overhanging foliage and tree branches in front of windows and doors.
Making a working stable yard neat and tidy is an effort but an effort worth making. The following check list should be a good reminder of what’s needed to make the best impression of your equestrian facilities to incoming buyers:
Maintenance: stable doors and windows in working order, guttering / downpipes functional, new coat of paint or wood stain to refresh the look of stable yard, lights and water in working order.
Yard swept, stables mucked out, clutter free of rugs, buckets, grooming kit etc., tack/feed room tidy, dung heap removed/reduced/tidy.
Indoor or outdoor Riding Arena: surface harrowed, jumps etc. neatly stacked, floodlights working. All utility equipment such as tractor mowers, harrows, etc. stored away.
Paddocks: ensure fencing and gates are in reasonable order and if divided by electric fencing ensure the fields are properly divided and that the fencing works. Remove dung from paddocks and if the land next to the gate entrance/s is very poached/wet/muddy fill with wood bark or similar to create better entry / exit surface for the horses.
One final tip before concluding my ‘to do’ checklist
Let’s not forget that even though we all love our pets – sometimes they can be a distraction when buyers want to walk around the grounds/paddocks/stable yard /outbuildings etc. As a result, it’s worthwhile making sure that if you own dog or several dogs that they are either secured in their kennels or in an allocated room or outbuilding so as not to put off any viewers who are not necessarily ‘dog friendly’. The same applies to any other livestock (and even children) you think may want to ‘join in’ with you at viewings!
This article was written by Equus Director – Alisdair Brown
If you wish to get an up to date valuation of your property with land and receive advice about getting things ‘ship shape’ in readiness to sell in 2020 with Equus, we will be pleased to arrange to carry out a no obligation market appraisal.
For contact details of the Equus Partner for your area refer to the Home Page of our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.