A guide to gardens
When it comes to buying property, one of the first things which will go on the majority of wish lists is a garden.
We love our gardens in the UK. Despite the weather, we tend to spend a lot of time in them – and often quite a lot of money.
So it’s surprising that, although a bit of lawn, space for a barbecue, a shed or a greenhouse are often seen as desirable, so many of us think no further. Homes which go on our viewing lists all have one and, sometimes, it’s all we need to know.
However, just like the rest of the house, there are quite a few things about gardens which can make them both more and less desirable – so how about a few pointers before you make an offer?
What’s In It For Me?
It may look lovely; the lawn may be neatly mowed and the edges of the flower beds may be neat and tidy. But what plants, trees and shrubs are lurking in the garden? Do they need a lot of love and care to keep them in good condition? How often is that hedge going to need trimming to keep it manageable? If there’s a tree out there, the roots can suck all the rainwater out of the soil when it rains leaving little for anything else to grow. In fact, if it’s big enough, the roots could even undermine the foundations of the property so make sure your survey covers the risk.
Trees Can Be The Root Of Your Problems
A tree may be attractive, offer both character and shade to a property or even a little privacy. However, if you’re looking at a house with a tree outside and thinking it’ll have to go, be aware removing one isn’t always simple. It may be subject to a Tree Preservation Order which might prevent you from either felling it or even cutting it back. Check with the local authority first.
For some, the thought of being able to make their mark in the garden is an attractive one, particularly if the vendor hasn’t done a great deal with the space available. However, the costs of landscaping or even clearing an overgrown plot can be eye-watering and won’t always add a great deal to the value of a home. So, if you’re thinking of starting from scratch, make sure you’ve got a good idea of the likely costs first.
Where’s The Sun?
Estate agents will often make a point of mentioning the garden is south-facing – and with good reason. It’s much harder to grow anything in a patch of land which doesn’t see much of the sun and, although there may be days when you’re glad of a bit of shade, they’re few and far between in the UK. Most smart phones have a compass app so it might be wise to check it just before you begin a viewing or have a look at the orientation of the property on Google Maps.
Access All Areas
A lot of homes will have gates which allow access from the front of the property to the rear – but not all of them. Sometimes, the only way into the back garden is through the house which, although more secure, can make life a little difficult if you were considering using the space for storage for larger things like the wheelie bins or bikes or if there are lawns which need cutting both front and back.
What Lies Next Door
If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet, it’s not a bad idea to have a peek over the fence at what there is to see in the neighbour’s garden. A trampoline or a paddling pool will tell you they have children, which won’t necessarily be your cup of tea if you’re looking for a quiet spot to work from home or retire. A dog run suggests there might be one left to bark outside, a motorbike or car in bits outside a hobby shed may indicate the potential for noise from power tools. None are necessarily a guarantee of noise nuisance of course. If everything else about the property you’re viewing suits you to a tee, it may be worth a risk – but it’s still probably best to check or even ask the vendor for an insight. Remember, the property market might be all about “buyer beware” but, just the same, a vendor is obliged to answer questions honestly and failure to do so can lead to legal recourse.
Hopefully, we’ve given you enough pointers to help but, if there’s anything else you think we might be able to guide you on, why not have a browse through our earlier blogs, give us a call or drop us a line? We’d love to assist if we can.
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