By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe active gardeners and gardening authors living in Spain for twenty five years.
Recently even people who have dropped their asking price by even fifty percent don’t get a sniff and when sales are achieved it is often a well thought out and maintained garden that tips the scales.
But is that is surprising? No for two reasons. Firstly the main reason many people think of coming to Spain is the possibility of living outside for most of the year. Secondly many expatriate gardens are not designed for outdoor living and do not look appealing especially in the winter. Recognise that a well thought garden can result in the exquisitely designed decorated and furnished house only being used for a few hours a day from Spring to Autumn and for entire days only on the colder wetter days of winter . So we highlight some of the garden related things you can do now to present your property as an attractive proposition.
BASIC TIDYING NEEDS
As with the interior of the house potential buyers will be attracted by a tidy uncluttered garden that suggests that maintenance will be manageable with or without the help of a gardener.
So as a minimum ensure that the following are done and maintained so that a good image is presented at all times to unexpected potential buyers.
1.Ensure that the swimming pool and jacuzzi are kept pristine even if you normally give it little winter attention.
2. Keep all paths and terraces swept and edging plants trimmed neatly back. If the surfaces look a little dirty and mossy clean them with a pressure hose.
3. Re-point damaged surfaces and the facing of garden walls, and repaint garden walls.
4. Prune back straggly plants and deadhead plants that continue to flower.
5. Complete the major winter cutback as soon as possible explaining to potential buyers that you are doing it to improve the shape sizes and spring/summer flowering potential of plants. What to do is explained in Chapter 6.9 of ‘Your Garden in Spain’.
6. Tidy the garden shed , clean tools and remove smelly out of date and or leaking chemical products.
7. Check that the watering system is working effectively. Turn of unnecessary tubes and drip jets and stop leaks..
8. Clean up potted plants and their pots/containers.
9. Tidy the area around the compost heap.
Beyond a tidy garden what sort of things might be attractive to potential buyers recognising that some will look for simplicity and minimalism and others a more complex holistic style of garden. In many cases the former being non gardeners and the latter gardening enthusiasts.
1. All year round colour.
2. All year round perfume.
3. Well framed vistas beyond the garden and strategically placed seats.
4. Sheltered winter sunny spots and shade under trees for hot sunny days.
5. Large terraces for entertaining and an outside kitchen. 6. An interesting network of paths and internal vistas.
7. As well as flowering plants shrubs and trees a collection of fruit trees and the facilities for a comprehensive herb collection and the growing of some vegetables especially if the potential buyers are doing this in the UK or other northern European countries.
8. Plants and shrubs that don’t require lots of watering.
9. High thick hedges for privacy and security.
10. Colourful and tidy window boxes and containers.
fountains or waterfalls.
11.The sound of water and sight of fish adding a touch of nature in an urban as well as rural situation.
12. Have evidence of reasonable water bills
A FRIENDLY HANDOVER KIT
As a final touch in the negotiations indicate that you plan a special moving in kit to smooth the take over. We suggest you include the following.
1. A month by month resume of the essential maintenance that you have been carrying out and the gardeners tasks if you employ one.
2. A copy of ‘Your Garden in Spain – From planning to planting and maintenance’ to help them soon understand how different gardening in Spain is to gardening in Northern Europe.
We hope the above ideas speed your property sales.
Clodagh and Dicks books
© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe www.gardeninginspain.com January 2010.