Thinking of renovating your outdoor space? This is what buyers want

(Article by Francois Venter, Director, Jawitz Properties)
The summer is here and it’s a good time for potential sellers to do some maintenance or renovations to their homes. Various Jawitz Properties agents across the Western Cape were surveyed as to how important a garden is, as well as what they have seen recent buyers are looking for when it comes to outdoor space.

While one can’t conclude as a blanket statement that a beautiful garden will influence a higher selling price, it is usually the case that a beautiful garden comes with a beautiful, well-maintained home, which will naturally attract a higher price. If your garden is in a bad state, buyers instinctively conclude that the rest of your house can’t be very well maintained and therefore perceive it to be less valuable. It was also mentioned that buyers tend to offer less than the asking price for a home if they plan to renovate and re-do the garden.

Home for sale in Constantia, Cape Town

The majority of buyers do, however, look for an established garden space but the requirements differ depending on the buyer. Large gardens mean a lot of upkeep but some buyers may be avid gardeners. Buyers with children want space for them to run around outside, while some retired buyers may look for smaller gardens for limited maintenance, and others may not want a garden at all. In the City Bowl, for example, where gardens are a luxury, the general attraction is more towards small, manageable child-friendly gardens. Due to the density of the area and high demand, which influence the price per m2, a large garden on a large plot would be very expensive to acquire. You also find that quaint outdoor spaces with a view or small spaces that can facilitate a braai are popular with buyers in the area.

This dovetails into the most desired feature across the province - all buyers want outdoor entertainment space. Whether it be enough room for a dining table, or just a corner braai, there is nothing better than enjoying the summer outdoors at home.

Adequate security is high on the list of buyer preferences as well, while swimming pools are not as popular as you may think. A pool is a bonus to some, but the maintenance involved is tedious and some buyers are simply not interested in the hassle. If you do have a pool, however, it is important to keep it in good condition to attract buyers. Recently, a property in the Northern Suburbs’ green pool was bringing down the overall appeal, with barely any offers. Listed at just under R1.5million, once the pool had been cleaned up, it went on to receive plenty of buyer attention and sold.

5 Bedroom House for sale in Wierdapark, Centurion

Another aspect to consider is that some buyers can’t afford to re-do the outdoor space on a property as the bond repayments weigh heavily on their budget. If you are selling and able to provide a well-kept home and garden, it will go a long way. 

In terms of garden features, buyers feel upmarket properties should come with an irrigation system, though it doesn’t matter if the system is automated or manual. Across the board in fact, an irrigation system or borehole are favourable.

There is however, a trend towards low-key gardens with a focus on water features and paving, which reduces the need for maintenance. If a garden has scope to plant herbs or veggies, buyers favour that as well.

The Southern Suburbs and in particular Constanita and Bishopscourt, lush gardens, much like the lush greenery across the area, come standard.

Jawitz reports that around 95% of buyers in Constantia, for example, look for a garden boasting large, level lawn areas that are well maintained.  This part of the Cape is of course synonymous with ERF sizes starting from 1,350m2 to 2000m2, up to 4000m2 and some even upwards of 8,000m2. While a lot of the gardens here are already beautifully maintained, those that need a little work are certainly not undesirable. Some buyers are prepared to remove trees to change a space, or add some landscaping to their own taste.

High walls, or borders of a property boasting large trees and shrubbery thus boosting privacy are also sought after features.

Here you may even find buyers looking for a tennis court, or the space to add one. 
While garden and outdoor spaces and designs are subject to taste, the best advice you can take from this when working on your property this summer, is to keep it looking as neat and attractive as you can. This will complement your house and help it to sell when the time comes.

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