It might be a seller’s market, but buyers — even desperate buyers — often lack the imagination to see beyond a shaggy garden, ropey DIY, and faded architectural glories.
We want to sell fast with multiple offers. With just one leg out of their car, seize their imagination with a well-presented prospect for their future with your greatest financial asset.
Using plants, small specimens of trees, shrubs and plugs, cunningly dress up a driveway or entry door over one weekend. Stick to containers and you can heave off this handsome investment dressing when you move. Hanging baskets are a bit of a Marmite — at the very least don’t block a line of sight with a frothing Hyacinth Bucket special.
Ensure anything with a dangle to it is not physically in the way. Ask your garden centre to make you up something with repeat flowering varieties in tender perennials.
Trimmed into topiary shapes, box or olive trees in pairs can add a stately symmetry to even a bog-standard front door. Again — yours to whip out of there unless it’s asked for and specified at sale. Before viewings, check flowering varieties and nip out any dead growth.
If the lawn is close by the front facade and in dire shape, consider buying in some sods of grass and stitching in some repairs.
Lawn burn by animals can be addressed with specific feed/seed/seeding soil products including Westland Aftercut Patch Fix, €15.49. Just shake ‘n’ bake for a verdant return to velvety good health. If you have a month or so before the house hits the market, scarifying can be done with a wire rake to tear up any loose moss, followed by aeration (basically spiking the ground viciously with a garden fork) — brilliant and economical to wake up a jaded lawn. For a scatter of lawn seed, the ubiquitous Number 2 mix will suit most situations and includes rugged dwarf-perennial ryegrass and fescues, to grow densely at a moderate speed.
Stroll up to the house from the public approach and look at it, just as a paranoid buyer might do. Any failings from chipped slates to drunken ridge tiles will be easily noticed on the naked planes of the roof. Ask your agent if it’s worth employing a VAT-registered, fully insured roofer before any surveyor visits.
The rainwater system comprises your tiles, gutters, down-pipes and shores, so trace that over from roof to the grate. In poor shape, this will be the first of several signals to the viewer of your attention to detail in maintaining the house. Ensure any shores, drainage grilles and soak-aways at ground level are swept out and clear of accrued algae that would signal to the buyer’s surveyor that they are backing up.
An integral part of the facade, how is the paintwork on the facades, window frames, sills and entry doors? With wood, solvent-based products invariably lift, flake and bubble given enough time.
Sanding, staining and repainting is a tedious but highly effective fix for even old timber elements. Investigate any integrity issues with the framing and seals of windows and doors — the air tightness around these punctures in the house envelope will always interest a surveyor and will influence any obligatory BER. Choose a determined colour for the front door —strong, comforting, classic.
You can conjure an entertainment area that’s just about every garden, and set one out on a modest balcony. Garden furniture of some kind is an absolute must during the warmer months. This could be a full set of chairs and table, an inexpensive bistro set (€60-€80 from Argos for example), or a classic wooden bench set against a sunny wall. Ensure plastic furniture is clean and dry (power washing or a wipe down with a cream kitchen cleaner will lift most green gunk).
Sand and then stain timber furniture well in advance with a water-based micro-porous product like Cuprinol Garden Shades (around €12 per litre). Ronseal also offers an excellent Decking Reviver, that brightens the wood, while removing moss, mould and algae with a swift brush down. €22.99 for 5l.
Like many people during the past couple of years, Don Ó Donnacháin and Will Leal Gonçalves realised they could do their work just about anywhere.
Don, who teaches at Queen’s University Belfast, and Will, a trainee chef, moved to Dublin when more employees began to log in to their offices remotely during the pandemic.
The mountains, the coast, the mountains and the scenery — and of course the idea of a new way of life.
“The series gives the buyers a chance to explore the surroundings, take advice from locals and professionals, and decide if the reality lives up to the dream.”
Presenter Tessa Fleming meets Don and Will in the first episode, to be aired on Monday evening. “The couple love the west of Ireland so we brought them to west and north Connemrara for its spectacular mountain and lake views,” she says.
They begin the search in the Gaeltacht area of Carna, about 50km west of Galway city. The cameras follow the couple as they explore doer-uppers and properties with room if not for a pony then perhaps for a few goats and hens.
- Episode One will be broadcast on RTÉ One on Monday, June 27, at 8pm and will also be available on the RTÉ Player