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In today's competitive property market, a well-designed outdoor space can be the make-or-break selling point for potential home buyers. Gardens are no longer just an afterthought – when planned well, they can serve as an extension of the living area.

As summer approaches, now is the perfect time to give your outdoor space a fresh makeover to maximise its beauty, functionality and appeal. So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to make the most of your outdoor retreat. With some strategic landscaping and maintenance on your home, your reimagined garden could become the true pride and joy of your property.

Clean up Gardening Tools

Now is a great time to prepare your gardening tools ahead of the gardening spree in spring and summer. Over the winter, your spades, shovels and gardening forks have likely been gathering dust and are probably still covered in mud and dirt from last year’s gardening activities. To prevent them from rusting and preserve them for years to come, give them a clean with hot water and a strong detergent. Make sure they’re fully dry before storing away and apply some oil or WD40 to any blades or hinges to keep them lubricated.

Create Entertaining Spaces

A crucial part of designing an appealing outdoor space is designating specific zones for different activities like dining, lounging and cooking. Thoughtfully mapping out these areas enables you to create a cohesive and functional layout that facilitates memorable entertaining. Start by assessing the natural flow and sightlines of your garden, then use hardscaping features like patios, decking or paved areas to define the different zones. Installing an outdoor kitchen or grill station for al fresco cooking can also be a fun addition to your garden that’s perfect for having people round for dinner and drinks.

Position a dining table and chairs nearby, or create a lounge zone with comfortable seating like sofas, plush armchairs and coffee tables under the shade of a pergola. And don't forget about lighting. With the right combination of lanterns, string lights and uplighting, you can easily extend the use of your space into the night-time hours.

Implement Water Conservation

In the early months of the year, we witness seasonal rainfall, sometimes even more excessive. So why not maximise that resource and use it for watering your garden throughout the rest of the year? Installing a water butt is an affordable and easy way to capture the water from spring showers, making your garden much more environmentally friendly. Rainwater is actually the best type of water for your plants, so your garden will flourish as a result of your eco-friendly activities. When installing your water butt, ensure you position it beneath a downpipe from your property or even a shed or garage to maximise the water collected.

Enhance Privacy

Having a peaceful, secluded outdoor retreat is a priority for many homeowners and as the weather warms up, you’ll want to spend more time relaxing outdoors. While picket fences may work for some, there are other creative ways to add privacy and seclusion to your garden space.

For a natural privacy screen, consider planting tall hedges, trees or bamboo borders. Evergreens like arborvitae, cedars and hollies can also be used to create dense green walls when planted closely together. Alternatively, opt for deciduous options like hornbeams or green arborvitae for year-round foliage. If you want an immediate sense of enclosure, install traditional fencing panels – you can soften the look by growing vines up the fence or attaching lattice panels where climbers can scramble over.

Refresh Paint and Stains

Spring is the perfect time to repair any chipped paint or faded stains on gates and fences in preparation for the warmer months. You should always wait for a dry day to paint, and ideally a day when the temperatures are likely to stay mild, to prevent your new paint from becoming damaged from mildew and moisture.

Freshening up fences, doors and sheds with a coat of paint or protective stain will not only liven up your garden for spring but will protect the wood or metal and keep it from becoming damaged by rot. While you’re undoing the impact of winter rain and snow, now’s also a great time to wipe down garden furniture like tables and chairs.

Get Planting for Summer Colour

Early spring is the perfect time to plan out the flowers and shrubs you’d like to plant in your garden for colour and vibrancy later in the year. Planting seeds early on ensures that by the time summer rolls around, your garden will be in full bloom and looking beautiful. Daffodils, alliums and tulips are all great options for a colourful garden later in the year, or you might prefer lower maintenance container plants that can be moved around the space to accommodate different layouts.

Over the winter, weeds will have taken the opportunity to settle in so take this time to go through the garden and remove any weeds you find. Weedkiller can be helpful here but you can also just remove them by hand. Rake the soil over once you’re done and consider adding a layer of topsoil to refresh the earth ready for planting flowers or fruits and veggies when the weather warms up.


This year, don't settle for an ordinary outdoor space – with some strategic planning and the right upgrades, you can completely transform your garden into an oasis that elevates both the function and appeal of your home. Focus on creating designated entertaining zones, incorporating low-maintenance landscaping and enhancing privacy and seclusion to really enjoy your garden to the fullest this year. Even small spaces can be reworked with raised beds, thoughtful plant choices and decorative screening. The possibilities are endless when you approach landscaping with both beauty and smart design in mind.


This month is a traditionally a busy time for the property market, and enhancing your garden’s appeal might be part of your strategy if you’re planning to move this year. For additional expert advice on getting ahead of the property rush and ensuring your home stands out, feel free to contact me, Katie Griffin, either by email or by phone 01364 652652.


The True Cost of Selling your House in 2024: Everything You Need to Know - Make the sale of your house as smooth as possible


Selling a house isn’t as simple as just putting it on the market, someone buying it, and being done with the whole ordeal. There are a lot of details in between that need to be ironed out, considered and put in place before you even put your house up for sale.

If you are thinking about selling your house, you need to know that there is a lot of legal work and fees attached to the process. Simply put, in order to make the sale, you need to spend some money beforehand.


In this article, we highlight some of the costs you need to know about when you are selling your house.


Some of the costs attached to selling a house

As the seller of the house, the duty falls to you to make sure that your house is in order before the sale. To do this, you need to hire the proper providers to get the job done. These are some of the services you will need.  Once you pick your estate agent, they will help you either get in contact with other providers or they will acquire the services on your behalf.


Estate Agents: These are the people who will help you with the sale process. They deal with people who want to buy and sell homes. They will put your house on the market for you, and get potential buyers to visit your house while trying to sell it to them.


Cost: Estate agents earn a percentage of the sale of the house.


Solicitors/Conveyancers: This process will deal with all the legal work needed to sell your house. You will need the help of a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer to get these documents in order.


Cost: They will either charge you a flat rate or a percentage of how much the house costs.


Removers: This is a hiring service that you may need to move your possessions out of your old house, transport it to another location, and move it into a new property or a storage facility.


Cost: Depending on how much things need to be moved, they will charge you a fee that corresponds with the size of the vehicle they have to use and the distance they have to travel.


EPC: The energy performance certificate shows the energy efficiency of the house. This needs to be acquired by the seller and handed over to the new owners. Your estate agent can often assist you with this.

Cost: The price of getting your EPC varies per provider.


Survey Fees: This is a person who will be surveying your entire property and providing a detailed report about it to the conveyancer. They will also do research into the history of your property for the report.

Cost: Based on the size and price of the property.


Extra costs: Some of the following costs are not guaranteed to crop up when selling your house, but it is important to be aware of them, so you aren't caught by surprise. Some extra costs include Preparation costs, mortgage fees, cleaning costs, Capital Gain Tax, and Inheritance Tax, if applicable.


The next steps

With all the cost-related things known, your next step is to be prepared for the house to go on the market.


Choosing an agent: As you will get the help of many different professionals for selling your house, it would be best to shop around for the best options to save costs.


Be prepared: You will also have a lot of foot traffic in your home prior to it going on the market, and once it is on the market. If you are a private person, you need to be accustomed to people walking through your home for periods of time.


Tidying Up: Due to the amount of people that will be in your home, you would want to put your best foot forward. Make sure that your house is clean and presentable to make a good impression on the potential buyers. You can hire professional cleaners to help you achieve your goals.


Lease: Check how much time is left on your leasehold. If the remaining time is low, then you can apply for a lease renewal. 


Inventory: As you are packing up your stuff, take stock of what you have, and when you unpack in your new space, you will be able to have a good idea of whether or not everything is in order.



Selling your house is unfortunately not a simple process - to make the sale, then you need to put some money into the process so that it goes smoothly. Once you choose an estate agent, they will help you make sure that everything is on the right path to make the transition to the new owner as easy as possible. 



While a property’s location is one of the most important features that buyers (and renters) consider, it’s worth noting that exploring the merits of the street and the wider neighbourhood go a lot further than a popular postcode.


For buyers searching for their next move in an unfamiliar place or sellers about to market a property, being well-informed about the finer details of the locality might come down to securing a sale quickly or losing out. In addition to knowing whether a house is situated in a catchment area for great schools or has a well-kept street, today’s house hunters remain interested in the closest supermarkets (once dubbed ‘The Waitrose Effect’), what’s on in the community and whether there are natural beauty spots nearby. These factors go beyond the word ‘location’ and can mean as much as the overall feel of a place.


Our latest blog explores the benefits in promoting the wider appeal of your home’s address to attract interest from buyers, to increase the number of potential viewings and to possibly increase your home's worth.

Make first impressions count

If you have decided to put your home on the market, its presentation can make all the difference when it comes to creating that critical first impression. Whether a prospective buyer has walked past or looked online, how a house looks is so important and reports state that 68% of buyers value kerb appeal more than other features. Once they have fallen for the property’s location, people might make their minds up about whether they like a property in minutes. You want to ensure that interested parties can imagine living there so it’s a good time to make the most of your property’s external aesthetics.


To maximise its kerb appeal try to focus on the immediate outside area, including your driveway, front door, roof, paintwork, fences, hedges, and gardens to make sure they are all presentable, tidy and well maintained. You can help by mowing the lawn before any photos are taken, tidy away bins and even ensure that your street’s pavement has been weeded and there’s no rubbish lying around.

Portray a winning location

Once your home has been valued and marketed, its location will stand out with exceptional photos, a virtual tour and videos. In a digital age, a property’s online presence is crucial and prospective buyers will quickly decide to arrange a viewing or pursue a sale if they like what they see. Professional street photography is perfect if your property is in the prettiest part of a town or a vibrant area. If you have the budget and a large or rural house that will benefit from the overview capabilities of drone footage, an aerial video can capture a home’s gardens, pinpoint its scenery and help viewers to see its impressive surroundings. 


You can also promote the unique location of your property using bright, fabulous photos of any parts of Dartmoor, maybe a great view, famous landmarks nearby or anything special about the location. If a house has a breathtaking backdrop or overlooks something incredible, people who are viewing online need to know these location highlights especially if they are exceptional parts of a village, seaside town or historic part of the country.

Showcase a desirable address

Your home's address is so much more than the features inside the walls. If you are currently looking for a new home, or are about to list a property to sell, you’ll be aware of the value and importance in marketing your home to attract potential buyers’ interest and achieve your asking price. 


When marketing and valuing a property, your estate agent already realises the value in advertising the unique selling points of your particular location. They place exceptional importance on advertising all the marketable features to help sell your property. 


Once your house is on the market, an online search should reveal what is great about its location at the top of its listed description. Typically, it might emphasise how quiet a street is, if it’s tucked away in a cul-de-sac, well-positioned near a pretty church or set back from any busy, noisy roads. This search phase will relay its prized proximity to supermarkets, local amenities like leisure centres, gyms, parks, schools, bus routes and stations. In addition, the location description will be boosted with Map and Google Street Views. They pinpoint the exact address, the entire surrounding area and invite viewers to take an eye-opening virtual stroll to get to know the location in greater depth. 

Mention the finer details 

While descriptions speak volumes about a location and give buyers an idea of what to expect, people will always appreciate knowing the smaller details that are not obvious from online searches. A house that offers buyers a healthy and happy lifestyle appeals, so point out if your garden is south facing and if it only takes a few minutes to reach that lovely park.


With people more attracted to sustainable living, they will want to know a property’s ‘walkability score’ and the ease with which they can reach actual destinations. This might be in relation to schools and shops, access to public transport and local amenities. It also refers to the access of people physically (if they have mobility issues) and in practical terms if they don’t want to pay for parking, or want to live a greener life and not drive everywhere. With sustainability an important part of people’s lives, you might want to mention distinctive features like bike paths, community gardens and any nearby EV charging units in the street.


Likewise, naming a property can be beneficial as it can convey prestige about a house and its location. This could potentially add more value to your property (for a minimal investment), as well as attract more interest. However, it’s important to assign a name that appeals and reflects its distinct character like ‘Day Dawn’ or ‘Holly Tree Cottage’.

Listen to local insights 

Talk openly to people living locally about what they think as their insights cost nothing but can be invaluable in the decision-making process. While you might be impressed by how near the children’s playground is, will they be safe for children and pets? Ask neighbours, shop owners and parents at local schools about why they love living there and any other insights about the neighbourhood. 


Don’t forget to ask about local shops, healthcare provisions and restaurants. If you don't own a car, you’ll want to know how reliable the public transport is and if you have teenagers, a good bus route or nearby station is likely to make everyone’s lives easier. Likewise, if you work from home, you’ll want to check how good the local broadband speed is.

When you’re planning to buy a property, finding out as much as you can about the surrounding area is incredibly valuable. Ask your local estate agent for advice and read any ‘About Your Area’ pages. Experienced estate agents develop relationships with lots of local residents and are active in their local neighbourhood and business communities which is a great way to gain insider perspectives on properties and the locality.

For many the first point in a house move journey is to understand the value of their current home. Whether you want a quick, instant online valuation indication or a more robust specific and individual valuation, we would be delighted to help - click here to get your online valuation.



As we settle into 2024, and the transition from winter to spring, we often have more time within our own four walls to contemplate new beginnings and reflect on changes and aspirations we have for our lives. Many individuals and families may find themselves assessing their current residences and wondering just whether relocating may align with those new aspirations. 

Determining the optimal timing for such a move requires weighing up a variety of evolving factors. Economic outlooks, housing market projections, quality of life expectations, career  and personal readiness can all impact this key decision point.

Will 2024 Be A Good Year For Moving Home?

Signs suggest that the 2024 UK housing scene will be a balanced playing field for both buyers and sellers alike. So, if you're thinking of selling and moving, this year may be ideal timing.

A projected cooling in the market emphasizes the importance of strategic pricing from the outset, and it will be key for sellers looking to remain competitive. With more houses sitting longer and price drops becoming common, setting the right asking price from the get-go, based on similar local sales, will be critical. Being better able to match what buyers in your area can actually pay versus going in too high, will streamline the selling process and prevent needing to reduce a price just to increase a property’s appeal.

Understanding local sales data as well as trends can help to set a motivated yet fair price from day one, and sellers can maximise their home’s visibility among neighbourhood buyers. This taps into initial interest before prospective buyers get distracted by lower or reduced listings. It shortens the sales journey, allowing deals to close while market heat, though cooling, still persists. Starting with realistic, data-driven prices also allows sellers to maximise exposure when hitting the market. This also enables deals to transact before tailwinds like low mortgage rates recede. 

Meanwhile, certain regional market trends will continue to influence people’s house-moving and investment decisions. Lifestyle factors are another key driver among remote workers searching for affordability without sacrificing job opportunities or career development. Moving provides a fresh start, the chance to plant roots in a new community and unlock access to fulfilling experiences that result in a better work/life balance.

This year is clearly shaping up to offer a relatively promising landscape for property transactions. The expected balance between price growth and mortgage affordability makes 2024 an especially good time to consider entering or moving within the UK property ladder.

Reasons To Consider Moving in 2024

So, with this year showing promising signs of being a prime time to make a move, forecasts from the experts call for a period of cautious optimism. Mortgage rates may still be higher than historically low levels, but the market is certainly calmer and there are rumours that rates are expected to fall in 2024. Buyers who paused their moving plans last year could now be able to make more concrete plans based on greater affordability. Within this backdrop lie compelling motivations for using this optimism as a catalyst to relocate.

Seeking an improved lifestyle stands out as a leading reason to move for many people. As priorities evolve across life stages, from expanding families to shifting retirement dreams, finding a home that enables your ideal daily experience becomes essential. Whether larger spaces, connectivity to certain amenities, more walkable communities or simply a change of scenery, a new year kick start offers an opportune time to embrace a move that facilitates the lifestyle you aspire towards.

Smart financial planning also plays a role for some evaluating a move. Tapping into home equity can help consolidate debt, fund further education or expand investment horizons to enrich retirement savings. Consulting experts to map out the pros and cons of relocation tied to your larger financial picture deserves consideration.

Of course, personal factors related to health, family, and unique needs should anchor any moving decision. But from lifestyle alignment to strategic financial planning to simply embracing positive change, the UK housing market forecast for 2024 does offer a generally supportive environment for making a move.

Challenges To Consider When Moving In 2024

While the market outlook should attract many prospective buyers and sellers, significant challenges still remain that could disrupt your moving plans. For instance, rising inflation and interest rate hikes could dampen affordability and purchasing power for some prospective buyers. Even sellers could find softened demand that curbs the number of attractive offers. Fortunately, a cooling market this year could offer short-term bargains.

Surging costs for relocation-related services also warrant caution. Comparing multiple moving companies, and being flexible on timing can yield you savings but you may find bargains few and far between with the rising cost of living having pushed prices up. Though not always easy, avoiding peak summer moving season may also provide relief.

While challenges persist, proactively developing mitigation strategies, contingencies and emotional support systems can effectively counterbalance 2024’s promising upside for prospective movers. Market indicators may encourage a move, but personal readiness and resilience will ultimately determine success.

Top Tips For An Optimised Move

Given the constructive outlook for the housing market, 2024 may be the ideal time for a well executed move. By adhering to best practices in preparation, logistics and emotional support, you can effectively navigate challenges and ease the transition process.

Start early by outlining a comprehensive checklist covering all details from property selection to address changes. Building in a buffer of 4-6 weeks enables you to tackle items methodically without last-minute stresses escalating costs. It’s also wise to strategically purge and pack belongings in advance, so you’re only moving essentials to your new home. This reduces loading fees and frees you from clutter assuming lifestyle changes. Properly labelled, sturdy boxes also protect valuables while keeping movers efficient.

Though it is an added expense, professional movers remove heavy logistics off your shoulders while protecting your cherished items from harm, so it can be a worthwhile investment. Compare costs for multiple services for the best value mix of affordability and reliability. Looking ahead, contact utility companies early to seamlessly transition power, water and internet without disruptions as you move. Confirming timeline alignments sets up a smooth landing and means you’re not waiting weeks for the essentials.


We are now 10% of the way through 2024 and the housing market appears poised to deliver balanced opportunities for buyers and sellers looking to make a move. While broader economic uncertainties persist, indicators point towards continued housing price appreciation paired with competitive mortgage rates, potentially enhancing affordability for prospective buyers and sellers alike.

If you are seeking expert advice and eager to get a head start and launch your home to the market before the Spring rush then just get in touch with me, Katie Griffin by email - or 01364 652652.


We are always looking to speed up and smooth out the property buying and selling process and having looked at the current system, we needed an improvement. 

Our goal has to be to reduce the time it takes to move and provide more information upfront to a potential buyer, resulting in fewer sales falling through.

Preparing information before a sale is agreed shaves many weeks off the sale time. A potential buyer reading all the information about the property means nothing is hidden that could put them off at a later date. Transparency is much smarter for all and meets the current recommended guidelines by Trading Standards for upfront information.

We have partnered with Gazeal to offer a superb solution for our sellers and buyers.



GETTING SALE READY - What is a 'Buyer Information Pack'

Usually, after a sale is agreed, it's panic stations. A seller and buyer are asked to source a solicitor and instruct them. Then there’s a lot of paperwork and ID checks to go through before things could officially get moving on the property sale/purchase. Waiting on these necessary forms and documents hold up a sale and add weeks on to the process.

Instead of waiting until an offer has been agreed, we offer a unique service to help our sellers go through all the necessary paperwork right at the beginning, before we start to market their property. The documents we help prepare include:

  • Property information form (TA6)
  • Leasehold information form (TA7) if applicable
  • Fixtures and fittings form (TA10)

The Government and National Trading Standards require that more material information needs to be provided to potential buyers upfront.  Getting this ‘buyer information pack’ ready right at the start means that we are ready to digitally share it with our seller’s solicitor and reduce any potential delays.

We still recommend a seller instructs their solicitor early to open up the file and do the ID checks. The solicitor won't need to obtain Title TA6, TA7, or TA10 as we can email them the link which will also contain other documents relating to the property. This pack is available to the seller, the buyer and their respective solicitors.

What does a 'Buyer Information Pack' contain?


Our (Law Society Approved) Buyer Information Pack is packed with information on the property that will help secure a serious and committed buyer. 

This process speeds up transaction times by multiple weeks.

Who can see the Buyer Information Pack?

Some of this information is publicly available on our website on each property, some of it we can email a potential buyer as it could be more private information. Security is paramount for us.

The pack is also available by invitation to potential buyers and their solicitors before they offer. An educated buyer is more secure knowing all the ins and outs of a property before any offer is accepted.

How much does a Buyer Information Pack cost?

There is no charge for Sawdye & Harris to organise the pack and securely store it electronically for our clients.

If you have any questions about our Buyer Information Packs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Want to reduce the risk of a fall through even further? Contact us about our Reservation Agreements.

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