You’re about to list your property for sale and you realise your al fresco is missing its ‘market mojo’.
Those old Besser bricks and the mouldy Laserlite just aren’t going to cut it. So, what can you do to put the pizzazz back into your pergola without it costing you an arm and a leg?
Pulse Property Group director Di Addenbrooke said it was important to carefully prepare outdoor areas for the market while at the same time making sure money wasn’t spent on things that buyers placed no value on.
She said experienced real estate agents were best placed to advise on what could be spruced up and tweaked to achieve a more successful sale.
“When you think you’re ready to sell, stand outside your property and pretend you’re a buyer,” Di said. “Ask yourself what it really looks like. What is your first impression? Can you picture yourself enjoying the al fresco area on a Sunday afternoon?
“Or better still, ask a friend to cast a critical eye over your preparations.”
And when you have your “to-do” list sorted, make sure you also ask yourself what distractions need to be removed, she said.
“The last thing you want is to have a potential buyer on-site, but they’re distracted,” she said. “It doesn’t take much to remove the negatives and the unsightly.
“It’s amazing how in a buyer’s mind a well-cared-for outdoor space can push up the value of a property.”
Pulse Property Group listings with well-presented outdoor areas have done particularly well over the holiday period, Di said.
The team at Pulse Property Group has come up with a list of outdoor essentials and ideas to help you get your property looking market-ready.
Shine a light: Swap cool white patio and garden lighting for a warmer glow and make sure all outlets and power points are in working order. Consider adding a lantern string ($10 Kmart) to the underside of a colourful, striped outdoor parasol (Bunnings $8) and popping it above a corner seat or small outdoor setting. Lanterns (Target $10) can also add atmosphere to bland spaces.
Seeing green: Add green leafy plants in bold, glazed tubs (Freedom, $5), rattan or macramé hanging baskets (Target, $6) overflowing with sweet potato vine or string of pearl foliage, or retro-style geraniums in galvanised pots (Ikea, $6). Depending on the style of your outdoor space, one of these is sure to make your al fresco feel cool and welcoming.
Cushion cosy: Designers have pushed the boundaries of outdoor upholstery to create exquisite, weatherproof cushions to suit every al fresco space. But you don’t have to spend a fortune. For a quick freshen up, find a roll of cheap tropical fabric (Spotlight $10/metre) and cover your existing (and very tired) cushions, or there are some on-trend inexpensive readymade styles (Kmart $8 – Botanical and Native prints) available to suit most outdoor areas.
All fired up: If you already have a fire pit, make sure it has been cleaned and reset. If you don’t have one, then consider installing one (Bunnings, from $20) if you have space and an area that suits. Nothing beats the heat of a fire and the lure of a dancing flame and an outdoor area that presents a potential buyer with lifestyle possibilities will always be a winner.
No junk: Get rid of dirty, old toys, broken trampolines, rickety chairs and that rusty old spade and toothless rake that have been propped up against your shed for the last six weeks. All junk is a distraction to potential buyers.
Be seated: Make sure your outdoor furniture is clean or even freshly painted. Tighten the screws, check for cobwebs and pop a book and a couple of magazines on the table – a gentle reminder to potential buyers of how they can relax in the outdoor space. Also, if your property is a Strata or overwhelmed by a second story next door, then you should strategically position large planters or a decorative screen to ensure privacy. And if you have a Laserlite or Perspex roof, don’t forget to scrub it with warm soapy water.
Paint the town: If your al fresco hasn’t had any love for some time then a fresh lick of paint can make a world of difference. Stick to neutral colours – they appeal to more people and they will make the space look bigger and brighter.
Branch out: Trim trees and bushes to get rid of dead and old growth. It will let in more sunlight and do away with winter’s dreary grey. Also make sure the garden beds and lawn are free of leaves, weeds and little pet surprises ahead of any home opens. It’s also a good idea to refresh the mulch (choose a colour that complements your outdoor area) ahead of your first home open. Also, make sure your grass is mowed (mmmm, nothing beats the smell of fresh lawn clippings!) and all your reticulation is in working order. While you’re in the garden also check that the birdbath and/or bird feeder is clean and freshly filled.
Sharing is caring: If your home is an apartment or Strata, make sure the property’s common areas are tidy. Check common gates, gardens, paths and driveways and get permission from your strata manager to tidy and repair shared spaces.