Paving for profit

Paving for profit

Premium gardens can lead to better profits. Ben Warren, managing director of Landscape Products, Marshalls explains why bespoke and templated garden designs offer the key to extra revenue.

With the pace of housebuilding in the UK slowing and the closure of the help-to-buy scheme planned for March, housebuilders are understandably keen to explore how they can make homes more desirable and secure all important sales.

Earlier this year, we undertook research which showed the answer could lie in what’s outside a property, rather than within it. The findings show that builders and developers could not only attract more buyers if they offer premium garden options, but they could also increase their profitability and speed up the time it takes to secure a sale.

According to the research, which questioned 2,001 adults in the UK, over half (51%) would be more likely to consider buying a new build home if it had a landscaped back garden. More importantly, nearly a quarter of people (23%) said they’d be willing to pay more for a new build if they got to choose from a choice of templated gardens and the work was done before they moved in. A further 16% said they’d be willing to pay more for a new build if they were able to opt for a bespoke garden and the work was done before they moved in.

For those who would like to choose from a range of templated garden designs and have the work done before they moved in, three out of five (60%) would be willing to pay up to 20% more of the overall property price. For those who would like a bespoke garden, 58% would be willing to pay up to 20% more.

Exploring that more closely, even just a 6% increase in property value could equate to between £12,000 and £32,000 in additional revenue, depending on the property’s location – purely for offering the buyer the opportunity to have their garden of choice created before they move in. It’s long been common practice for housebuilders and property developers to offer their customers a choice of other features like kitchens, bathrooms and flooring. Why has the same approach never been applied to the outdoor space?

Doing so would certainly speed up sales, it seems – with our findings showing nearly two-thirds (60%) of people make their minds up about whether they want to live in a property within one minute of seeing the outside.

Biodiversity brings buyers
Looking at the features that appeal to prospective buyers, those supporting biodiversity top the bill. Planters, hanging baskets and real grass areas (21%), as well as trees (20%), wildlife gardens (17%), raised bedding areas (15%) and bird baths (14%) were the top responses, followed by new driveways (14%), bin storage (13%) and privacy screening (12%).

In an age when social media and image drives so many buying decisions, it’s perhaps unsurprising to find that kerb appeal is playing a role in property sales. too. More than two-fifths (43%) said they care more about the appearance of the front of their home now – including their garden, driveway and features like the front door – than two years ago. Why? Reasons vary, from people simply wanting to improve their home’s appearance from the outside (44%) or increase its value (29%), to wanting to keep up with neighbours (10%).

While the top sources for inspiration for a home’s exterior design are family and friends (20%), social media (15%) and magazines and TV shows (15%), savvy housebuilders could improve their sales even further by tapping into this demand and using designs to show just how to achieve that perfect exterior finish.

A proof point of these findings is the experience of Castlethorpe Homes, which has seen a strong connection between buyers’ reaction to the exterior of their developments’ properties and subsequent buying decisions.

Chris Warner, Castlethorpe MD, says: “The exterior of our properties and the wider development are undeniably important in the buying journey. That’s because the quality of how they look on the outside puts faith in the quality of the interior. People often see the outside before they see the inside, so when we set the bar high with the external aesthetics, they feel reassured that they are buying a quality home. From our experience, if you don’t do that, you’re less likely to get the sale. “The feedback from our customers is that they’ve bought a home because the specification from the landscaping and externals to the internal finish and look, are all as one.”

When the commercial opportunities are so abundantly clear, housebuilders and developers should begin rethinking their approach to new builds today and provide buyers with the opportunity to be garden-proud from the minute they receive their keys.

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