Everyday we experience things that trigger our senses and make us aware of what is around us. There is no doubt the smell of fresh bread when you pass a bakery will make you think twice about taking a detour. Our five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) impact our buying decisions on many things, including buying a home. At Deakin-White, we know that understanding the role our senses play in our home-buying choices will help you to make the right decision when buying a home.

Sight seduction

First impression are so important. It is very easy when viewing a home to be seduced by what we see. You want a house that gives you those butterflies, one that offers you the space and style that you seek. But are your eyes playing tricks, seducing you by the fixtures and furnishings rather than you actually taking notice of what the house offers? You need to learn to edit what you see, to, of course, enjoy each space, but try to visualise it without all those beautiful things – will it still give you the same feelings?

Just as beautiful things can win you over, clutter and dated décor can also turn you off, and, again, you need to see the space as it could be and not how it is. There is no doubt this can be a tricky thing to do, but instead of rushing through the chaos spend time to take the room in. Focus on things you can’t change: how much natural light is pouring in, are there any features, and does it offer you the space you need?  Colours have feelings and emotions attached to them, and this can also affect your mood when you enter a room; just remember colours can always be changed.

Naughty noses

There is nothing like a particular scent to evoke a memory and a bit of nostalgia, another powerful emotional buying influencer. Although pleasant smells can bring a smile, a strong or bad odour can give you a really negative response to the home you are viewing. Not all sellers will think about the impact all smells can have on a buyer, which is why you need to decide if it is something you can ignore. Some smells could require further investigation and highlight bigger issues with the property, such as damp and drains, whereas strong artificial scents such as plugins, or even the aroma of food, are temporary and can easily be eliminated.

Serene sounds

When it comes to your home, as you relax at the end of a busy day, you will be seeking a bit of peace and calm. As buyers, we know that you will be turned off by lots of noise and rowdy neighbours. Research has found that loud noise can impair our creativity, thoughts and perceptions, which is why we know excessive sound is something you can’t ignore. It could be worth a visit to the property at different times of the day to experience how the environment sounds as it could vary; also, is there a change in noise between the front and back of the property?

Tantalising touch

Just like a child who cannot resist touching everything they see, when you enter a property you are hoping to buy, of course you are going to want to reach out and touch things. Don’t be afraid to get intimate with the home, look behind doors, check out the space in cupboards and feel the texture of the walls. Reaching out beyond what you can initially see may bring you some unexpected surprises within the property which could influence your decision.

Testing taste

What taste does the property leave you with? You will know in your gut whether this home is a contender.  Your buying decisions will be influenced by your senses, but, as we have suggested, there may be times you take note and times where you may wish to ignore. When buying a property, you want to make the right choice rather than being left with a bitter taste. If you would like more advice on buying a home, contact our team.

Summer is quickly approaching, and we long for those fine days where we can enjoy spending time outdoors and enjoying our gardens again. Gardens have a huge role to play when selling your home. The space you have at the front of your home is responsible for that all important first impression. Your main garden is basically another room in your home: it is a place where you can relax, entertain and have fun. It, too, like many rooms in your house, has the potential to make or break a sale and can even add value. Therefore, as we start to spend more time in our outdoor spaces, how can your garden add value and help sell your home?

Adding value

Your garden should be considered as one of your home’s biggest assets and, therefore, needs to be loved and cared for, just like your kitchen or bathroom. In fact, a good garden can increase the value of your home by up to 77% according to research by The Greenhouse People. You don’t need a designer budget or luxurious finishes – there are a number of cost-effective changes you can make that will always benefit the sale of your home, and make buyers extremely happy.

Often it is the small changes that can have the biggest impact. Mowing the lawn so it is looking neat and tidy is a great place to start, unless you are taking part in No Mow May. Launched by the nature charity Plantlife, No Mow May seeks to keep gardens wild, allowing wild plants to thrive and helping to provide nectar for insects. If the rest of your garden is looking pristine, it can be easy to explain why your lawn may be looking more unkept without it deflecting from what your garden has to offer.

When you are looking to decorate a room, you may have thoughtfully considered colours, textures, and zoning of furniture. The same principles should be used when you are looking to design your garden: have distinct areas, use different materials to add texture, and think about your planting for adding colour. Don’t forget those finishing touches such as cushions, lanterns and throws to bring your outside ‘room’ to life.

Like all rooms, you need to have some kind of storage, whether you add a shed in a tucked-away part of the garden, or you use a garage or some other outbuilding. You want somewhere you can place all your gardening tools as well as things like BBQ, summer furniture, bikes, outdoor cushions and other bits and pieces.

Another priority for your garden, and something which is often high on the list of priorities for buyers, is privacy as well as security. There are always things you can do to minimise your garden being overlooked, whether that is through clever planting, bamboo screens or trellis with climbers. Security is also a concern; therefore ensure your fencing and gates are in great condition, and you have lights where needed too.

Be careful you don’t devalue

No matter how much you care for your garden, there could be an enemy within that will not only cause damage but could risk devaluing your home by around 15% according to surveyor experts at Stokemont.com. The most common ‘damaging’ plants to your home’s value include Japanese knotweed. This invasive plant is known for its devasting ability to cause damage wherever it spreads. Did you know its roots can even reach 20 metres underground, making it extraordinarily difficult to get rid of. This is why Japanese knotweed is listed as a defect to the property by RICS Homebuyer Reports. 

Other invasive and damaging plants include giant hogweed and English ivy, due to their fast-growing root systems which can spread out to 40 metres, popular trees such as willow and oak can be dangerous if grown close to property.

Make your garden work for you

There is no doubt, summer buyers will have a strong focus on the outside space your home provides, so don’t miss the opportunity to make your garden work for you. It provides an extra room to your house, as well as having the potential to add value. If you are curious how much your garden upgrades have added value to your home, contact our team at Deakin-White.

Key info

  • Having a complete understanding of the ecology of your land as you create your rewilding plan is the key to your success.
  • The UK government has no specific legislation on rewilding. However, you’ll want to research legislation on the specific actions you plan on taking on your project. For example, checking the Wildlife and Country Act 1981 if you plan on repopulating a species.
  • Rewilding is a game of patience and empathy with your land. Good practice of rewilding maintains an open ended perspective on the outcome of the project.

Whether you’re looking to fight the Climate Emergency, or create a natural utopia for your loved ones to admire, rewilding is a crucial part of conservation biology and essential to managing human influence over the planet.

In this guide, we’ll help you to understand the key principles for rewilding effectively.

What do I need to begin rewilding?

The great part about the practice of rewilding is that the only thing you need to get started is... land! The land is designed to do the natural regeneration "heavy-lifting" whilst your job is to manage the land with as little human intervention as possible, in order to restore lost ecological processes and biodiversity to the area.

Most land is eligible for rewilding. What’s more important is having a deep understanding of the land you’re working on and a vision of how it would’ve looked before human intervention.  This may mean letting the land sit unmanaged for a season to understand its dynamic behaviour. Depending on your project, some factors of interest to you may be your land’s soil type, flood potential, and its geological/hydrological features.

Attitudes towards rewilding vary on the initial plot choice. You may prefer choosing a more degraded landscape so that you're maximising the ecological restoration of your project. On the other hand, well stewarded land may allow you to monitor the natural regeneration of your land and therefore help you achieve your aims of rewilding.

When choosing your land, make sure to be wary of protected areas and SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), as the legislation in these areas may limit the freedom you have with your rewilding project. 

Deakin-White can produce a Land Report which will allow you to check if your land is protected or a SSSI, as well as research many more of your land's intricate features to empower your decision-making.

Legal considerations for rewilding

Whilst rewilding itself has no specific UK policy, there are many relating policies that you’ll need to be aware of in order to manage your land within UK law.

The main policies to consider are the Environmental Land Management schemes, rewarding local landscape and nature recovery. From there, the policies you’ll need to consider will depend on the type of rewilding you’re doing. The government body DEFRA deal with most legal issues in the UK regarding land and rural development, and are worth contacting if you’re unsure on the regulations regarding the type of rewilding you’re doing.

If you’re planning on having your rewilding project feature any animals or rare plants then there’s a few factors to consider. You may need a license if you plan on keeping wild animals in captivity. In addition, if you plan on repopulating your land with a rare species, they may be protected under the Wildlife and Country Act 1981 and so you’ll be responsible for maintaining their protection.   

You may want to think about the legal hidden costs your land may have as you start the rewilding process. For example, woodland at the border of your land may grow over public property such as roads, and therefore will have to be managed.

It’s also worth considering the legal implications on your rewilding project when initially buying the land.

How to start your rewilding project

Human intervention has caused many ecological interactions to simply disappear. For example, the mass extinction of large herbivores and predators has significantly reduced grazing and predation, affecting the rate at which many other animal species are able to feed and reproduce. In order to excel at rewilding, and reverse biodiversity loss effectively, it's best to audit the natural processes that would’ve occurred before human intervention and construct a plan from there. If you’re unsure about your land’s natural processes, a trained ecologist will be able to help you.

It’s important to consider your neighbours when forging your plan. Land aims to connect itself, and so something as simple as blocking a ditch could have a negative impact on the neighbouring plot. In addition, neighbours may be able to help your project. For example, you may be able to mimic the behaviour of lost keystone species for free by allowing farmers’ animals to graze on your land.

Once you have an idea of the ecological processes you want to bring back to your landscape, you’re ready to begin restoring them. Patience is key here, as there may be seasonal requirements for certain species, and natural processes can take much longer than artificial systems. However, slowly restoring the crucial ecological processes to your landscape will naturally lead to the return of some animal and plant species. Some you may not have even expected! The longer you work on your land, the more you will be able to learn and understand about it.

The main concept of rewilding is allowing the land to restore itself, and so “listening” to the land and having an open mind about the outcome of your rewilding project is crucial. Some processes that may seem damaging at first can lead to the recovery of rich ecosystems. For example, whilst landowners normally aim to clean up and remove dead and uprooted trees from the land, this could have unintended consequences for the recovery of ecosystems specific to your land. Under those trees could form whole new insect cultures, cascading into the recovery of entire food chains as certain insect-feeding animal species are able to repopulate.

This highlights the importance of scale in rewilding, as having more land allows for a greater level of ecological connectivity. However, don’t fret if your land isn’t going to be one of the next National Parks. It will form its own unique ecosystem over time, and your understanding and vision can only become clearer as you get to know your land better.

One venture you may wish to take in your rewilding journey is the repopulation of key species to your land. 

To maximise the effect of your repopulation effort, it's worth getting to understand trophic rewilding. This is the concept of restoring the food chain top-down, leading to a positive cascading effect as complex ecosystems begin to form over time. Ecosystem restoration can often rely on these megafauna to dictate the landscape on a macroscopic level, and so when choosing an animal to repopulate, consider the effect they will have on large-scale ecological processes such as grazing and predation. Again, be careful of scale here, as certain species need a large amount of space to hunt and survive. You may experience significant overgrazing/overhunting issues if the species you decide to reintroduce doesn’t have enough land to feed off.

Once you’ve completed the initial hard work, you’ll be able to relax and admire your land as your very own cluster of nature begins to take care of itself within its own unique ecosystem, not only acting as a key conservation effort but also helping to fight the climate crisis.

Deakin-White makes it easy to find, research, buy or sell land. 

 

 

You have so many emotions wrapped up in changing address: there could be feelings of sadness saying goodbye, combined with the excitement of your new home. Moving home is full of highs and lows and just when you think you are coming to the end, you have one of the most of the stressful stages to come, the big move!  There are ways that you can minimise the mayhem, add some calm and take some of the aghhh out of moving day.  Here is our advice on how to cope with the stressful stages of moving home.

Pre-sale stage

Most home movers don’t think about packing until they have an offer accepted and they are well within the sales process.  It is normal to think you have all the time in the world, but what tends to happen is that as time starts ticking by, the more procrastinating we do. It is that overwhelming feeling of looking at ‘all that stuff’ in your home and wondering where and how to start that adds stress onto an already stressful situation.

This is why we would always advise that you think about starting your preparation for moving home before you sell your house. 

Yes, that early! 

Whilst you are starting to declutter and organise your home to present it for sale, there is nothing to stop you from starting to pack a few bits and pieces along the way.  There will be plenty of things that you won’t need before you move, so instead of them taking up space in your home, why not pack them away. This will give help to make your home feel more spacious due to being less packed with things, but it also gives you a head start.

Panic packing

Completion date is on the horizon and that moment of panic that can hit where you look around your home and scream , ‘Where do I start?’ One thing we always say at this stage is purge – you need to get rid of those non-essential items. Not only will this feel cathartic but may even reduce the cost of your move.

You also should measure pieces of furniture you are planning to take before your move, to make sure they will fit in your new home. There is no point taking things that are not going to fit; can you imagine how frustrating that will feel to arrive and find your sofa won’t even fit through the door?  Moving day will be stressful enough without adding the drama of furniture not fitting as well.

Labelling is also essential. This is another major stress when moving, not being able to find things because you’ve not put them in the right box or the box isn’t labelled.  If you are using a removal company, it is also important to talk to them before you start packing, they may have a system they may wish you to use as well as certain sizes of boxes.

Day of reckoning

It is the night before the big day and we know there will be so many things rushing through your mind.  In all the haste to pack everything for your home, have you managed to pack a bag for yourself?   Make sure you have important paperwork and ID, such as your passport – you just never know what you may need. Chargers for all those important electronics, essential medicine, your daily toiletries and also a change of clothes.  Remember there can be delays and so bear in mind that if you have everything labelled and organised, no matter what you need you will be able to find it.

And breathe

The day has arrived and things will no doubt take a lot longer than you envisaged. To lower your stress levels, giving your children and pets a day off is the best way to start. Do not put extra pressure on yourself, there is no rule book to say you have to unpack everything in a day; in fact, who cares if it takes you weeks or even if you have boxes in the garage months later!

If you have everything labelled, you will know what to unpack first and which boxes you can place to one side until another day. Being in a new home and trying to fit your old house into it can be disorienting, it will take time for you to fuse the old and new together to create the home you have been dreaming of.

If you would like more advice on moving home, contact our team at Deakin-White.

Home staging is a powerful tool when it comes to selling your home; the right staging can work miracles in most cases. Simply put, home staging is the term which describes preparing your home or ‘setting the stage’ for a potential buyer. This involves decluttering, organising, redecorating, cleaning, rearranging furniture and other strategies to make your home as appealing as possible.  Staging is not designed to hide issues with your home, instead you should resolve these before you place your home on the market. With this in mind, here are some problems that home staging can’t solve when selling your home.

 

The big two

Adding some carefully positioned plants and flowers can not hide the obvious when it comes to outdated or tired kitchens and bathrooms. These are two rooms that can make or break a sale and, therefore, you need to ensure that you have done what is required to bring them up to standard. Broken doors or shelves withing kitchen cabinets are not only a turn-off but can ring alarms about the condition of the rest of the property. New grouting and a fresh lick of paint can make a huge difference, and should your kitchen doors need some love, could painting or re-spraying be a solution?  One thing is for sure, you need to work harder in these rooms to make other areas of your home shine.

Outdated and odd features

All homes, especially older ones, can charm buyers with their character and quirkiness, but should this uniqueness be odd or outdated it will have the opposite affect.  Home staging won’t distract buyers from the weird and wonderful, in fact it will focus their attention completely and away from the property as a whole and could also impact the potential value of your home as well. Therefore, if you have neglected to update or remove such features we would certainly recommend that you consider undertaking the work before you take the step of inviting estate agents round to value your home.

 

Rushed makeover

You may have been working hard to get your home ready for sale but decided that you don’t need to decorate. Adding the most stylish and exquisite pieces to a room won’t disguise a tired paint job, and buyers will notice. But in the haste to get your property on the market your paint job may not be to a professional standard, and this will stand out a mile. If you are not up to the task then investing in a decorator will take away the stress and also leave your home looking like Britain’s Next Top Show Home.

Damaged flooring

Rugs are often used in home staging to define spaces within a room; what they are not designed for is to hide damage or other floor issues. Some flooring problems can be felt underfoot when walking across the area, and hiding them with a rug will look deceitful, which is the last thing that you want when selling your home. Take a look at your carpets as well – have they seen better days? If so, it could be worthwhile replacing them or at least having them steam cleaned so they are looking the best they can be for potential buyers.

 

No hiding smells

Your home could look immaculate, be beautifully staged and be the dream that buyers are seeking, but if there are unwanted odours, the image that you have created will be shattered into pieces. If you are a smoker or have pets, having rugs, carpets and furniture cleaned will help to remove those lingering smells which potential buyers will notice immediately. Also, be wary of using plug-ins, air fresheners or scented candles – these can have very strong and dominant fragrances which can overpower a room. Using such strong scents can also start buyers wondering if you are trying to hide other smells which are lurking underneath.

Do the work

If you wish to get the best price for your property, you need to put in the work before you look to place your house on the market. Home staging is there to enhance your home’s natural beauty, not to be used as a tool to hide its issues. It is important that you look at your home through critical eyes, only then can you see its flaws just as a potential buyer will do on a viewing.

 

If you would like advice on how best to approach getting your home ready for sale, call our sales team.

 

 

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