Sunday 13th of June 2021

5 ways to improve your property’s ‘verge appeal’ this Spring

A recent survey found the majority of property buyers take just 10 seconds to decide whether they like a property from the outside, with an unkempt exterior and a BMW on the drive quoted as being off-putting.

Whilst the equestrian property buyer might be less fussed about what brand horsebox is parked at the yard (as long as it’s included in the sale), equestrian properties are not immune to needing a bit of TLC. If you’re looking at selling your property or just want to give it a new lease of life this Spring, Louise Harrison, Associate Director at Savills Country Department in London who also leads the Savills Equestrian team, shares her five tips for improving your property’s ‘verge’ appeal for 2016:


North Aston Manor - stables

North Aston Manor, Oxfordshire has beautiful stables and is set in just over 18 acres. Guide Price £8,750,000

Repairing joinery

Have a look around, whether it’s a broken gate at the end of the drive or your top stable doors which were damaged by storms in the winter months, Spring is a great time to repair them and lift the value and appeal of your property. The good news is that these repairs are often small and simple to do yourself, or ask a local joiner.

Painting doors and windows

Once your joinery repairs are done, it’s probably time for a lick of paint. I’d always suggest that ‘ex decs’ or external decorations are carried out on a strict five year cycle, this not only protects the woodwork, making it last longer but makes your property look like new again – a win win in my book! And remember when faced with the task or the local decorators quote, the cost of replacing everything is a lot more, so best to look after it now and reap the rewards when it lasts a few years more.

Chenies - fencing

Chenies, Hertfordshire is an outstanding family home with 9 stables and about 28 acres. Guide Price Excess £3,250,000

Repairs to paddock fencing

Paddocks with broken rails not only look tired and messy but they can be dangerous. Although many of our four legged friends enjoy testing our fences to the limit, whether it’s the ex-racer cribbing on the top rail or the ponies who prefer to rub up against them, the next few months are the best time to strengthen and improve the look of your fences.

Top tip? Use treated materials which will fair better against the weather and last longer and save you from many hours creosoting.

Rid muddy gateways and other boggy areas

As the ground dries up and you treat your horses mud fever for the last time, vow to try and prevent the same problem next year.

Whether you go whole hog and invest in drainage, adding hardcore and putting stone in your gateways and boggy areas around water troughs, or would prefer a lower cost option, for example purchasing road planings or screening (from about £20/ton), it is worthwhile. Less ailments to treat and grooming to do, more grazing and a more pleasant turn out experience for you.

Cornhill House - driveway

Cornhill House, Northumberland, comprises a Grade II Listed house with stables, manège, paddocks and stunning panoramic views. Offers over £1,000,000

Make 2016 the year you fix the driveway

Lucky enough to own a driveway? Then please please give it the love it deserves. Driveways which resemble the moon with crater like pot-holes are possibly my biggest gripe and a real turn off for buyers.

If a buyer isn’t put off when arriving at the house and falls in love with the property having forgotten about the pot-holed drive, you can rest assured that they will be reminded about it all the way out! If you have experienced the bumpy drive and honed your own brace position, you will probably also have a list of vehicle repairs as long as your arm – last month I added a flat tyre to my driveway damages.

Sadly I don’t think there’s a quick / cheap fix for repairing a driveway as a bodge job rarely lasts but, first impressions count and it is easily one of the best ways you can improve the appeal of your property.

The Result?

If you are keeping your property this year, then you will be able to kick back, guilt free and enjoy your newly restored home and balmy evenings riding throughout the summer months (weather conditions not guaranteed). 

If you are looking to sell, then it’s worth knowing that research carried out by Barclays found nearly half of homebuyers would offer 20% less than the asking price if they thought a property had an untidy exterior.

If the same applied to an equestrian property, where there was an asking price of £1million, the discount would be £200k – the cost of a top of the range new horse box (with slide out sides of course) or an indoor school for next winter. Now there’s a thought…

Louise Harrison, Savills

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