Spring is usually the busiest season for real estate sales in Australia, with the property market traditionally seeing an upswing in housing stock, auction clearance rates and selling prices.
If you’re thinking about selling this spring, it’s worth noting that you can potentially add thousands of dollars to your sale value by enhancing the outdoor aesthetic of your property. So how can you make improvements to outdoor spaces but that’ll bolster your selling price, but that won’t cost you an arm and a leg? Matt Leacy from Landart Landscapes shares his top 8 cost-efficient tips for getting your outdoor areas primed and ready for a maximum sale price this spring.
“Starting in winter is optimal if you want to maximise your results in spring,” Matt says. “New plantings, in particular, will need at least some time to mature, and you’ll get a lot more value out them aesthetically if you don’t leave them to the last minute.”
Matt adds “When planning the types of improvements you’re going to make outdoors, it’s worth keeping in mind the key outdoor property features that most prospective buyers will look for – and you can then strategically prioritise your budget, time and resources.
“Coming into a new property, most homebuyers are – at a bare minimum – going to want outdoor spaces and gardens that are relatively low-maintenance, well-presented and cost-efficient.”
Prioritise curb-side appeal
“If you’ve got limited budget and want to prioritise a few quick and key things, I’d always recommend focusing on the front garden or property entrance as this is where the first big impression on a prospective buyer is going to be made,” says Matt. “It sets the tone for what’s to come and allows you as the vendor to get on the front foot.”
Use plantings to blend the fence and soften its appearance from the street. This will also help to open the space up and disguise where the property starts and finishes – in effect making it appear as large as possible.
“You might also consider giving your front garden a little boost by introducing some small hedges or adding a potted plant near the front door – one on either side will help to create symmetry and balance,” says Matt. “This will help to inject a little extra greenery into the space, which is especially valuable if you’re selling an apartment or property with limited garden areas.”
“A hand sculptured pot in a neutral palette containing citrus, rosemary or lavender plants can also offer a really subtle and inviting aroma for potential buyers walking through the front door,” says Matt. “
Light it up
“Many property viewings occur in evenings and afternoons, so it’s important to be able to show off key outdoor areas in their best light,” says Matt. “As such, it’s often worth investing in some basic outdoor lighting if you don’t have it already.”
Love the lawn
“An overgrown or dead lawn screams high-maintenance to a potential buyer, so it’s really worth making sure that all of your lawns are trimmed, tidy and green for viewings,” says Matt.
Lawns should be a focus in winter if you’re planning on a spring sale because they can take significant time to improve, and they can also easily go from good to bad in the cooler months.
“You’ll need to do more work than usual on aerating the turf zone in winter,” Matt adds. “A motorised aerator can be effective for larger lawns, and a garden fork or a pair of spiked aerator shoes will do the trick for smaller lawns. You’ll also need to fertilise in the last month of winter to get it ready to go for spring.”
Mulch and tidy
“Similar to lawn maintenance, one of the most cost-effective and immediate things you can do to improve any outdoor space is completely remove weeds and keep all shrubs trimmed and tidy,” Matt says. “Cover all garden beds with mulch as this will bring uniformity into the garden and ensure that it looks cared for and loved.
Plant for quick colour
“Before putting a property on the market, you’re going to want to make sure that the gardens look as lush and visually stimulating as possible,” Matt says. “This often means injecting additional colour into the garden – and there are plenty of quick and inexpensive ways to do this in time for a spring sale.”
“You’re going to want to introduce plantings in winter that will flower in time for spring – the likes of gardenias, jasmine plus some fast-growing plants like dichondra, convolvulus and Euphorbia ‘Diamond frost’,” says Matt. “Ornamental grasses and Helichrysum also grow very quickly and can easily fill and bring vibrancy to a space. Succulents also won’t require a lot of care from the vendor when they’re trying to sell, and most potential buyers won’t have any major problems with them,” Matt adds.
“For pool owners, the most immediate thing to worry about is the pool filtration system,” Matt says. “Make sure that the system is adequate and working properly and – if that’s okay – it’s about keeping the water’s pH level balanced and removing leaves and any visible algae.”
‘If you are going to have a few weeks of open house and the pool needs constant cleaning and upkeep it may be worth investing in a robotic cleaner and programming it to come on delay, and especially before each open house. Be sure to remove for the inspections though’.
Gurney hard surfaces
“One of the quickest and simplest ways to improve the aesthetic of an outdoor spaces is to gurney hard surfaces to remove algae and mold so that they look fresh and new,” Matt says.
“You’ll usually find algae and mold on south-facing or low-light areas of the property – anywhere that doesn’t get a lot of sun or that has a lot of water running over it.”
Malibu-inspired pastels meets cacti in this gorgeous North Balgowlah garden: