Whether you have a balcony or a full backyard, a renovation that makes the most of your outdoor space can help to sell a property. An unloved outdoor space is rarely itself a deal breaker for a property sale but it can leave potential buyers with a bad impression. A well thought-out outdoor renovation, however, can completely transform how people see themselves in the space.
Image source: Inside Out
First impressions – Start with the entryway to the property. If you have a front yard, make sure it is tidy and the path to the front door clear. A lick of paint won’t go astray if you have time to spruce up the fences, door frame and door. Consider whether older balustrades just need a coat of paint or need to be replaced altogether. Beware of wood rot, for example in the floor of your front porch; you need to replace affected areas. A nice-looking mailbox is inexpensive and makes a positive impression so if you have one that’s a bit drab, consider changing it. Apartment owners usually have a strata-appointed gardener maintain the outdoor areas. If there’s anything specific you want them to attend to, you can contact your strata manager to discuss what duties can be prioritised.
Cover up – Whether you have a balcony, deck or yard, a covered area shielded from the sun and protected from the rain is always a plus. If you have quite a big yard to work with, a covered area with an outdoor table and chairs as well as uncovered areas like a garden and lawn work well as different zones.
The entertainer – The biggest change I’ve seen in property over the past few years is a buyer preference for kitchens that flow into living and dining areas inside and out. Buyers like to see themselves entertaining there, and they are more likely to consider your property if you already have the access and amenities. If you have a closed-in kitchen, or if your outdoor area is difficult to access from your living/dining space, consider knocking down a wall. It might cost tens of thousands of dollars to open it up, but this change will add hundreds of thousands onto the sale price. The buyers that appreciate this arrangement tend to be families because it makes it more affordable to entertain at home, plus children can run around the backyard while parents supervise from inside the house.
Garden variety – Mature gardens are worth a lot of money so if you’re thinking of renovating the whole house, do the garden as soon as possible (preferably first!) so by the time you finish, the plants are somewhat established. Use plants to soften some of the harder structures like fences and deck edges and do your research to find plants that suit your locations climate. The larger and less established the yard, the more you’ll need professional help so if you can afford it, bring in a landscaper.
- Level up: Level land is worth more than slopes so if you have a chance to buy some space by underpinning, it will make a huge difference.
- Make a splash: A nice, clean swimming pool enhances a property so if you have the space and your location has the right climate, it’s worth installing, keeping or updating one. If you have a tiny backyard however, it’s best to have a generous entertainment space.
- Take the heat: It’s amazing how many people forget they can still entertain outdoors in winter. You can’t ‘sell’ a portable outdoor heater, but you can extend the gas lines to the entertainment area and market that to buyers.
The key to a good outdoor area is to make it easy for potential buyers to see themselves in the space. In addition to basic sprucing like paint jobs and tidying up, think about how you can enhance potential buyers fantasies about living and enjoying themselves in your property.
Written by Mark Foy
Mark Foy is one of our resident experts and a director of Belle Property Surry Hills in Sydney.