Adding value to your property

Adding value to your property

Adding value to your property


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Adding value to your propertyFirst impressions - make your property stand outSandra Batley - FlourishIf two similar neighbouring houses were for sale and one hada great designed garden, that one would sell faster. In fact, itis often literally the first thing potential buyers look at and aredrawn to.It may sound like common sense, but it wasn't thatlong ago that the garden was usually left until last orcompletely overlooked in preference for renovating the insideof the home for ways to add value… well these days thingsare a little different.Do your researchYour home might be your biggest asset, but it doesn'tnecessarily follow that the more money you invest in it, themore money you'll get in return. Before you embark on anyproject, you'll need to check out a few things first. Talk to theprofessionals. Depending on what you want to do, you mightneed advice from a landscape designer/architect (if it's astructural undertaking). Adding value is the new thing to do,but how best to spend your hard-earned cash is the question.Spending wiselyThe sky isn't the limit, so it's worth finding out what yourproperty is worth and its maximum value. Talk to your localreal estate agent. The trick is not to overspend and pay overthe odds on changes that won't be reflected in the eventualmarket price. Keep the scale and costs of any work inproportion to the overall value. This goes for all value addingprojects both inside and out for your home.stuck for ideas or need some inspiration.• Talk to real estate agents and your local council to get arun down on what's possible or impossible for yourproperty and relevant to the area you live in.Create extra space:• Clear some space. Prune or remove trees that have gottoo big for their space or are blocking out valuable light.Take trees out that may be taking up space for othermore valuable things such as a new patio area orextended lawn.• Patio or courtyards are best covered to provide shadeand protection from the rain. This will maximize thebenefits of living outdoors all year round.• Add extra parking space; if you have suitable space thisis also a very effective way to add value.• Open up or enlarge existing areas to create anentertainment area. Having outdoor living areas flowingeasily from the indoors is a highly effective way ofadding value.Which garden improvements pay offWhen it comes to your garden a couple of deck chairs, alemon tree and a bit of lawn just won't cut it these days. MoreKiwis want a comfortable outdoor living space, a retreat toentertain and relax in and are prepared to pay for it. Myclients frequently ask whether renovating their back yards willadd value to their property. In my experience, a lot of thegardens I have created and had built have been a majorcontributing factor in the marketing and selling of the housefor the owners. Getting a house valuation before and after thework is done will give you a good indication of the valueadded. In a recent television series, landscaping was placed4th out of 10 for top value adding projects. With land andhouse prices at a premium it's wise to maximize the outdoorarea and create exterior living spaces with street appeal,functionality and saleability which appeal to a wide audience.Here are some do's and don'ts when renovating youroutdoors;Do'sDo your homework:• Have a plan on paper, or at least in your head. It's easyto get carried away and tear down every tree and structureon the property.• Think the project through carefully. Employ the servicesof a landscape designer to get you started if you areGet smart and practical:There are some simple things you can do to lift the exterior ofyour home if you are on a tight budget. Even a little bit ofmoney can go a long way if you prioritize and opt for featuresthat are functional rather than purely aesthetic.• Re-plant existing garden beds with colourful plants tofreshen up a tired part of the garden. Do work with theenvironment you have and use native plants, as they areless expensive to maintain.• Plant trees for screening or privacy, this is a cost effectway of creating a living fence or screen.• Make sure letterboxes, fences, pathways andentranceways are spic and span. A lick of paintrevitalizes the dullest feature. Water-blast mossy decks,fences, dirty paths and driveways. Remember, no onelikes to see grubbiness inside or outside.• Create a stylish, welcoming entrance using superb potsand great looking plants.• Remove any plants that are past their used by date.continued...

• Screen off parts of the garden that will distract you fromthe good stuff, i.e. clotheslines, sheds and bad views.• Dress up existing courtyard spaces with stylish outdoorfurniture, feature pots and plants.• If you have a rental property, keep things very simple.You will need to strike a balance between creating aninviting, enjoyable space for your tenants to enjoy livingin and not giving them or yourself too much work to doto maintain it.Built structures:Functional hard landscaping features such as pergola's,decks, fencing and a carport-garage are some of the bestways maximize the use of the garden and add value. Deckscreate extensions of your living areas; outdoors, fencingprovides privacy and security and a garage provides securityand storage for your car etc. All are very valuable assets.These are however, usually high-ticket items so get a fewquotes first and see if it still fits within your budget. Getting agarage or carport built is likely to be a big job, so make sureyou've got the money and time to see it through. You couldsave on labour costs if you build it yourself. But remember, abotched job will end up devaluing rather than adding value.Consents and building permits will also be required for a lotof this work. Check with your local council for all regulations.Don'ts• Don't do anything you don't have the time or money tomaintain.• Swimming pools and spas won't add value; people seethem as a lot of work.• Don't focus on the backyard before the front. Createstreet appeal first. If the front of the house doesn't lookgood but the back is incredible, prospective buyersmight not ever get to the back.• Don't over plant. Plants cost money and don't underestimate lawn space. With diminishing house andgarden sizes families see a lot of benefit and value inhaving a nice lawn to enjoy.“ Don't do anything you don't have the time ormoney to maintain.”• Appeal to a wider audience. Do not add features that areluxury items only e.g. fireplaces, outdoor kitchens andelaborate water features.Quality landscape design and installation whether you DIY orget in the professionals will add value to your property andhelp it sell faster. In my experience it has been a successfuland rewarding process to go through.Sandra Batleywww.flourishgardens.co.nzThe design brief was to create a functional, private garden for the busy professional home owners of this Pt Chevalier home.The result was a gorgeous Sub-tropical retreat to entertain and relax in. This garden added significant value to their propertyand was one of the main selling features when it was put on the market to sell 4 years later.

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