When you think about things that could be devaluing your home, you probably think of damp, subsistence, outdated décor, extensive repairs and removing features from a period property. But take a look outside. One of the crucial areas of your home that has the potential to add and also decrease value is your garden and outside space. So could your garden be devaluing your home?
Constantly in the press and described by the Environment Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant,” it’s no wonder that the sight of it near your home should cause you some major concern. It is estimated that £20bn has been knocked off the total value of the UK property market by Japanese Knotweed. You may not be aware that mortgage lenders are known to refuse loans to properties that have been affected by this weed.
It arrived in the UK in the 1850s, coming from a volcanic landscape where the harsh conditions can stem its spread. Growing up to 20cm every single day, it grows and spreads naturally in the UK at rapid rates and can even grow through driveways, tarmac, concrete and drains. With their bamboo-like purple-speckled zig zag stems, distinctive rhizome and shield-shaped leaves, the plant is identifiable all year round. It doesn’t need seed and spreads solely by vegetative means through either fragments of the stem or rhizome. Non-native plants such as Japanese Knotweed cannot be composted, mainly because they are so persistent: they will survive the composting process and normally infest the compost. According to the Environment Agency, it can take around three years to treat Japanese Knotweed effectively, as you need to ensure the underground rhizomes have become dormant.
When you sell your home, you need to inform future buyers if Japanese Knotweed has ever affected your property, even if it has been removed in the past. We always advise our clients to seek professional help with its removal, as DIY treatments can often make things worse and even speed up the spread of the plant. Although Japanese Knotweed is not explicitly referred to in the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, a community protection notice can be issued should it be found that you have not controlled or prevented the growth of this plant, thus causing serious problems for the local community.
Not everyone is gifted with a green finger, and many of us struggle to keep our gardens looking like something from the Chelsea Flower Show. Our attention to our outside spaces can be seasonal, such as making it look lovely when we use it in the summer months, and then neglecting it in the winter. When selling your home, seasons are irrelevant. Your garden is an extension of your home and just as you have put time and effort into making it ready for viewings, you need to do the same for your outside space. Signs of wear and tear can start to see pound signs falling off the value of your property. With some hard graft and a bit of creativity, you could start to see your home’s appeal increase and a higher asking price could be your reward. In fact, it could even be as much as a very welcome 20% of your home’s value.
If you are not a gardener, create a design that is low maintenance all year round. Also think about privacy, as this is often important to homebuyers as space. The trend for an outside room still remains, whether it’s for work, rest or play; a designer shed or a genius transformation; outbuildings are an affordable way to extend your living space as well as being a sought-after feature.
If you have space, an al fresco kitchen with an outdoor dining space is becoming increasingly popular. Long gone are the days when a portable BBQ would suffice. Don’t neglect your garden’s lighting, you can create something truly special when you consider how your outside space is lit, making an enjoyable space at night as well as in the day.
Your home has incredible potential to increase its value, all you have to do is simply look outside. It doesn’t matter what size of space you have; it’s about how it’s designed for modern-day living and assurances that you have managed any sign of invasive plants. Do you want advice on other ways you can add value to your home? Book a call with me today or call me on 01895527116