Country houses for sale

How a bit of gardening could £23,000 to what your house is worth — and even tidying up could make you £13k

From sprucing up your front door, to tackling the weeds in your garden, here’s how you can prevent thousands being knocked off the value of your home.

If you’re hoisting a ‘For sale’ sign on your home this spring, don’t let ‘simple’ things get in the way of securing a good price for it.

A messy and overgrown garden tops Yopa’s round-up of buyer turn-offs. Yes, it’s bad news for those who aren’t blessed with green fingers. An unloved garden can shave between 8.2% and 20% off the value of a home. A best-case scenario of 8.2% is equivalent to £23,188 based on the current average house price. Yikes. Best get those gardening gloves on.

In a similar vein, a messy home can strike £13,290 (4.7%) off your house price. It may seem glaringly obvious, but tidying your home ‘is the easiest and most basic thing you can do’ to boost your chances of a good offer, the estate agent says.

You may love your dog, Luna, but buyers are less likely to. Evidence of pets in your home could slash your house price by £11,311 (4%).

Avocado bathroom suites are also out (in case you were in any doubt). Outdated and scrappy decor ‘is difficult to see beyond’ and could result in your house price dropping by £9,897 (3.5%), says Yopa.

Recommended videos for you

What else should sellers be wary of?

  • Grubby kitchen and bathroom: potential value lost: £9,049 (3.2%)
  • Poor lighting: potential value lost: £8,766 (3.1%)
  • Damaged or scrappy windows: potential value lost: £8,483 (3%)
  • Unwelcoming front door: potential value lost: £4,524 (1.6%)

First-time buyers with dependants doubles since 2009

One in five first-time buyers has at least one ‘dependant’, suggesting that more buyers are starting families before getting onto the housing ladder.

According to Santander, the share of first-time buyers with dependants jumped from 10% in 2009 to 20% in 2023.

One factor for this change could be the increasing age of first-time buyers, with one in five now aged over 40, Santander reveals.

Graham Sellar, Head of Business Development, Mortgages at Santander, says: ‘With the average age of first-time buyers increasing in the past two decades, it seems more buyers are reaching other key moments, such as having children, before getting their foot onto the property ladder.’

What you could snap up for the average house price

Ah the nuances of the great British housing market! Savills has crunched the data to reveal how much space the average house price (£340,837 if you want to know) could buy you across different regions.

To get the most bang for your buck, head to the north east of England. Here you could buy 1,955 sq ft, which is a typical medium-sized five-bedroom house. That’s more than 3.5 times the amount of space you could get in London.

Yes, at the other end of the spectrum, the average price tag could buy you a medium-sized one-bedroom flat (551 sq ft) in the capital.

Dip in housing market confidence

Confidence in the housing market is starting to ebb despite a ‘markedly improving’ outlook over the last few months, according to Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

There was a small drop in buyer demand in May, marking the lowest reading since last November. Appetite was weakest in the south east and south west of England.

And there was a fall in the number of sales agreed last month, though volumes are expected to rise ‘modestly’ over the summer.

The survey also suggested that national house prices fell slightly in May. But regionally, Scotland and Northern Ireland bucked the trend.

It comes as the UK gears up for a general election, with Labour and Conservative parties both launching their manifestos this week.

Royal residences see ‘£1bn drop in value’

One of the more unusual pieces of research to land this week comes from Benham & Reeves, which suggests that the combined value of 10 royal palaces and residences has fallen by an estimated £1bn in the past year.

One major factor behind the decline is that many royal residences are located in London, a property market that has ‘struggled more than most over the past year’, says the estate agency.

Benham & Reeves says it analysed the change in estimated market value based on market trends in each of the royal property’s respective local authority districts and royal palace information from a variety of sources.