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Five ways to spruce up your property exterior for added value

First impressions are crucial for properties, particularly when it comes to selling or renting them out. If you have an ugly facade, then you're shooting yourself in the foot.

That initial photo that goes onto the listings website, and the way that prospective buyers see your home as they drive past or come for an inspection, will really affect your ability to sell or lease the home.

1) A clear pathway

If you don't already have a path to the front door of your property then it's time to put one in. A pathway provides the eye somewhere to go, helps bring in a sense of welcome to a property and draws the buyer in. It also assists homes where the front door isn't in the middle of the home, or where the property is turned sideways on a block. Minimise confusion and give them less to think about when they view your home.

While this could be done with cement, a quick fix is to use nice pavers, that can be picked up from Bunnings or a local garden centre, to provide the suggestion of a path. This will save you time, and money, and can be done in a way that suits the house. Plain, square pavers will look appropriate for a modern house, while circular or off-sized pavers can work well for something a little more rustic.

If you already have a path, it might just be in need of paving paint or a thorough tidying up, which brings us to point two.

2) Clean, clean and more cleaning

A lot of problems can be solved with a really thorough cleaning. While this isn't anyone's favourite task, cleaning properly can save you a lot in money that you might otherwise have spent sprucing the place up.

Get yourself a pressure hose cleaner and set about thoroughly washing down paths, driveways and even the walls of your property. Be sure to check the instructions to make sure the pressure will not do damage to any specific materials you have on your property, but the majority of the time it will do marvellous things for your home.

Get out a bucket and make sure to clean the windows and the front door. Leave it sparkling.

3) Garden furniture

A lot can be done with a simple bit of furniture. If you have a lot of space in your front, or even a nice cosy area, a few pieces of garden furniture could show a buyer or renter how they might use the space. It may be a bench on the porch or a table and chairs tucked away, but anything that shows the space as functional is worthwhile.

Also don't forget solar lights that can help provide a bit of an uptick for the property for buyers who will drive past in the evening (and keen buyers certainly will), or lights that can provide a bit extra for an overcast showing.

Lastly, some shiny new features can also do well. A gleaming house number, knocker, door mat, and perhaps a new handle can help show off your home. Consider a new mailbox as well - a small investment that can provide a major boost. These can be purchased fairly cheaply, without looking it.

Remember to consider who is purchasing or likely to rent. A dog kennel, or children's play equipment, may also show how an area is useable, but it must suit your target demographic.

4) Gardening

Less is more for your front yard. If you have overgrown shrubbery, weeds and lawn - it's time to cut it back. Reducing bushes in the front garden may also open up the front windows, and thus the inside of the house, to some natural light. You should be able to do much of the manual labour in this respect yourself - mainly requiring pulling out the uglier plants.

Some of your nicer plants may, however, just need moving. If you haven't got green thumbs, then it might be worth handing over a few hundred dollars to a landscaper for some expertise in planting and placement. Getting a couple of pot plants for your front door, or to plant around focal areas - as well as to inject colour - can be the boost you need.

This is worth doing a few weeks, if not a month or so, in advance to provide the plants time to grow in to their new surroundings and for any lawn issues - such as bare patches - to be attended to. Ensure regular watering over this time.

5) Fencing

If you haven't got an exterior fence, or if yours is fairly worn, it may be the last thing on your list to focus on - however, it isn't the last thing potential buyers look at. Families with children and pets, or who may want them in the future, look very kindly on fencing. Similarly, they give a sense of security to homes that is also desirable. If you're offering your property to renters with pets, this is also worth a look.

Fix your fencing, or look to install some, for an added tick on buyers' and renters' lists.

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