Top Tips For A Gorgeous, Low Maintenance Garden

Garden

Nature is in high demand these days. Far from staring out at regiments of brick or concrete, tenants yearn for an open, green space at their property, even if it’s modest. As a landlord, you must never undervalue the hook of a garden, and what it can mean for people who love a tranquil spell in the sun.

It does, admittedly, take a measure of care to ensure the garden – however large or small – remains an enticing offer. To boost the appeal of your outdoor space, and reduce maintenance work, here are a few tricks for keeping it spruce and shapely…

 

Choose your plants wisely

Garden upkeep never ends – this much is true, but certain features can drain your time more than you may realise. Fast-growing plants, for instance, will throw the orderly character of your turf off-course, as they need to be trimmed every handful of weeks and can surprise you with changing, seasonal behaviour.

Nip the problem in the bud, so to speak, by planting flowers with less intense growing cycles. Quartz Rose, Thyme and Verbena are just some that develop steadily over the year (for hedges, we suggest yew or holly bush). Aim for ground cover plants, which stick close to the soil, limiting the intrusion of weeds. To make watering easier, put them in grouped containers at the flanks of the garden path, or just beyond the front door.

 

Invest in outdoor edging

Few things are more unsightly than a garden with different textures – grass, decking, flower beds, gravel – spreading over into one another. To guard against this, implement some edging materials where you want to form a distinction. They’re designed to keep turf in their own spot, or to neaten your pebble and paving lines.

Doing so means tenants won’t have to trim stray shoots from the boundaries of your arrangement. Stone wave edging is popular, especially when paired with a pond or a bird bath. Wooden ‘fixing pegs’, as they’re known, are a rustic choice that wall off your most delicate saplings. The latter also create height distinctions, literally raising the profile of any eye-catching shrubbery.

 

Make good use of mulch

Mulch is a wonder cure for backbreaking garden tasks. Think of it as a warm, invigorating blanket that protects and feeds your soil. It’ll aid plants when the winter frost arrives, saving you the trouble of buying and tending to a whole new batch. As it degrades, the ground will absorb its nutritional components, protecting the lawn from disease.

You can buy pre-prepared mulch, or use your own – the clippings from a mower (combined with any leave you manage to rake together) form a ready-made pile, which you can spread around key sections. The drainage attributes of your soil will increase too, as the grass won’t become waterlogged.

 

All of these solutions can help you create a gorgeous, low maintenance garden that your tenants will love. However, it’s only reasonable to admit that you – or any other landlord – may be struggling with property management as a whole. Contact Summermere to see how we can lend a hand to the appeal, maintenance and promotion of your portfolio in the North West.

How To Prepare Your Rental Property For Viewings

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Advertising has its limits. No matter how well your property is presented online, it has to suffer the biggest test of all: the viewing. Prospective tenants will be dying to see the space for themselves, weighing up the reality of an interior before they sign any kind of agreement…

What does this mean for landlords? Inevitably, it demands a little care and attention, as the property has to look and feel like a home. But this doesn’t require a huge investment of time and money – here are some tips to help you prepare for a successful viewing:

Make the entrance inviting

No-one likes to gawp over an ad online, only to arrive at a battered, flaking door and a grubby set of windows. As first impressions go, the entrance to the building will absorb a lot of those associations for what lies inside. Clean up the doorstep, give the entrance itself a lick of fresh paint, and (perhaps) stick two potted plants at either side for a naturally warm greeting.

Then, in the hallway, get rid of any clutter/old mail that’s clogging it up. A welcome mat can’t hurt, and shows you care about keeping the carpet free of dirt. Open all nearby windows a fraction to clear any stale air, whilst parting the curtain or blinds so light can filter through to the rooms.

Don’t block your best features

Are you in possession of a fireplace, or a bare-bricked interior wall? Great – don’t hide it! These sorts of unique, stately complements can sway a tenant towards the dotted line faster than they may realise. Whatever strange, impressive, or downright one-of-a-kind features you have, it’s best to draw attention to them.

You can, for instance, angle the furniture so it’s pointing subtly towards the fireplace area. Pillars and alcoves should be free of any items, either leaning on them or stuck to the surface (i.e. wall posters), to make them seem like a blank visual canvas.

Any wall art, trinkets and decorations that come with the property should be in a neat, appropriate display. Appliances, like washing machines and dryers, also shouldn’t be masked by anything, lest someone overlooks them.

Clean, clean, clean…

It’s a common sense concern, but dirt, dust and grime can accumulate practically anywhere in the property. Aside from those typical areas – bathroom tiles, living room rugs and doorway frames, to name a few – you must tackle the rest of the house’s hygienic sore spots.

By this, we’re referring to the inner condition of your oven, fridge and freezer, if you include them with the rental agreement. It’s well worth having a professional clean between lettings if your property is already vacant. Not only will it attract tenants, it will also set the benchmark for their own cleaning standards when looking after your property.

Now that you know what to ready yourself for, why not further the appeal of your portfolio with Summermere at the helm? Our letting agents can promote your investments in the local area, and handle the paperwork, character references and introductions that follow a rental enquiry. Call us today for more information…

Landlords: Are You Aware Of Your Obligations?

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The rental market continues to absorb more demand across the country, and new landlords are springing up everywhere, realising the value of a buy to let investment. Some, however, are unprepared for what the role entails. It isn’t as simple as handing someone the keys, stepping back, and watching the cash roll in…

Like any business, buy-to-let properties carry obligations with them. Such laws are designed to protect you (and your tenants) from any issues. So we’d like to clear the mist from your eyes, and show you what they are:

Electrical and gas safety

To keep the home warm and safe, you’ll need to get a Gas Safety Certificate for the boiler, vents and pipework. In terms of electrics, your appliances should have a CE industry badge, and you legally have to get a full house inspection every five years if more than one person lives there. It’s advisable to hire an electrician anyway, once a year, to check the switchboard is in good shape.

Checking the ‘right to rent’

You can face fines for granting rent to someone who doesn’t have permission to live in the country. Background checks must be done; UK nationals are fine, as are tenants who’ve received asylum or the ‘right to abode’ (e.g. a foreign spouse). Time-limited rent rights are permissible as long as you conduct further checks. But don’t worry, a service like ours will take care of this for you.

Functioning fire alarms

There should be a smoke detector on every floor of the house or flat, including hallways and stairwells. Alongside them, a fire extinguisher is mandatory for HMOs (Homes with Multiple Occupants). It’s also important to ensure that entrances/exits aren’t blocked, so people can escape if a fire breaks out. Finally, every piece of furniture – except mattresses and bed bases – must be fire-safe: you can find the label on any reputable product.

A legionella assessment

Ever heard of Legionnaire’s Disease? It’s similar to pneumonia, caused by a water system that’s hit a 20C-45C range, which encourages bacteria to spread and multiply. People can ingest these organisms in their drinking water, or inhale them through re-circulated moisture droplets. Hire an accredited body for a legionella assessment to ensure you don’t have any stagnant water in your system.

Deposit protection

Lastly, it’s vital to register your tenant’s deposit with a recognised scheme. Should a dispute occur, there has to be a third party involved, refereeing what damage claims are applicable. Full details of the DPS should be sent to the tenant – both in written and email form – as soon as they pay you the holding sum. Again, we can take this burden off your shoulders.

There’s a lot to think about when renting out a property, but with a property management service like Summermere, you can ensure you’re staying compliant. Our lettings agents, property managers and associated contractors are always just a phone call away. See our FAQs for more information, and call us on 0161 798 6633 for a chat about your portfolio.